UWL wins women’s club volleyball tournament

Photo+by+Julia+Van+Fleet.

Photo by Julia Van Fleet.

Julia Van Fleet, Sports Reporter

On Feb. 29 the Recreational Eagle Center (REC) at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse hosted a women’s club volleyball tournament. This tournament consisted of teams from UW-Green Bay, South Dakota State University, UW-Eau Claire, UW-Whitewater, UW-Stout, UW-River Falls, and UWL. The UWL women’s varsity team is currently ranked sixth in the nation for division two teams, after moving down from the number two slot after suffering from two losses to UW-Whitewater the weekend before.

While the national rankings are a nice validation for the team, it’s not as important to the team as one would think.

“These rankings change all the time, I’m not worried about where we are. Honestly, I’d rather fly under the radar,” said Rachel Barthel, senior outside hitter on the UWL team.

The Eagles were able to finish a perfect 3-0 in pool play, defeating UW-Stout, UW-Eau Claire junior varsity, and UW-Whitewater junior varsity. Upon entering bracket play, the Eagles played UW-Eau Claire’s varsity team, defeating them in two sets before advancing to the finals. In the finals, the Eagles played UW-Whitewater.

The Eagles beat UW-Whitewater in two sets, capturing the tournament title.

“I think all season long it’s going to be us and Whitewater going back in forth who beats who,” said Barthel.

The team attributes their success on the court to a strong group of women who have been on the team for multiple seasons.

“We have seven returners and five newbies on the team, so we have a strong core,” said Barthel.

According to other teams that often play the Eagles, the UWL team is a tough opponent to compete against.

“They’re scrappy all around and they really know how to put a ball down when they need to. They also have very strong passing at the right times,” said Anna Bach, junior libero at UW-Whitewater.

“Their energy is really good, really strong, and that helps them a lot,” said Tori Miller, opposite hitter at UW-Whitewater.

The goal for the Eagles is simple for the remainder of the season; they want to continue to play consistently and hit their stride at the right time.

“Of course we want to be the best we can be. We want to play really well at state and then have that carry into nationals,” said Barthel.

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