UWRF Women’s Volleyball returns home 17-7
November 1, 2023
Head coach Dipen Patel leads his second year with the UWRF women’s volleyball program after being hired in early 2022. The Falcons are currently 17-7 and 2-2 in conference matchups. Four games remain in the regular season, posing critical opportunities for Patel’s Falcons.
In Patel’s first season, he led the Falcons to 22-11 in the regular season. UWRF would squeak in the WIAC tournament as the #6 seed with a 2-5 conference record. The Falcons fell to UW-Stevens Point in the first round 3-1. Though a frustrating exit, the season represented a rebound from a 2021 season without a WIAC tournament birth.
The Falcons grabbed their first conference win this season against a resistant UW-Stout team. Considering that in-conference wins determine tournament seeding, it’s not surprising that Patel considers these wins important. “With how competitive our conference is, I think winning the right games is really important. If you’re not in a position to outright win the conference tournament, can you compete well enough in the conference to where you're regionally ranked?” Patel acknowledges the WIAC's overall strength this season, calling it “The Big Ten of Division Three,” and for good reason. Currently, the WIAC has zero teams below .500 overall, and three teams ranked top 25 in the AVCA/TARAFLEX Division III WVB Poll.
The Falcons saw some success against ranked teams this season, beating both Cornell College and Gustavus Adolphus. Head coach Dipen Patel acknowledges these victories but prefers to keep his team moving forward. After defeating #16 ranked Gustavus Adolphus, Patel said, “I think we’re still game-to-game right now. But beating them is just awesome for the program. There’s nothing stopping us from being a competitive team.”
UWRF will return to Don Page Arena on October 20, beginning a three-game home stretch. The Falcons will face UW-Oshkosh first, who are currently 26-0 and the #1 seed in the WIAC. Second is UW-Eau Claire, who are currently the #6 seed and 1-3 in the conference. Lastly, Hamline University, whom the Falcons defeated 3-0 last season. UWRF will travel to UW-Whitewater for the final game of the regular season, to face the currently 19-2 Warhawks.
Nearing the end of the regular season, the Falcons are looking to lock up more favorable tournament seeding. They currently hold the #5 seed in the WIAC and will likely be on the road throughout the conference tournament. These final four games will play a pivotal role in tournament seeding but also in playoff momentum.