Eau Claire Blocks Win for La Crosse’s Men’s Club Volleyball

Karley Betzler, Sports Reporter

UW-Eau Claire and UW-L Men’s Club Volleyball brought their rivalry to the REC on Friday, March 3. The Eagle’s kept it close each match but fate would have the Blugold’s victorious in the end.

Crowds of about 20 fans for each team occupied the fan section of the REC to keep the energy high. Both teams enthusiastically cheered on their teammates despite the outcome of the play.

The first game ended with a final score of 20-25 followed by 22-25 for the second game and the third game brought in 21-25.

These evenly matched teams were neck and neck for every game. The majority of each game consisted of one team earning a point followed by the other team, keeping the score tied for most of their time playing.

“In history, the teams have always been pretty evenly matched. And there’s been a lot of big matches between us. Even at Nationals, they’re a really big opponent for us,” explained Adam Baltz, UW-L Men’s Club Volleyball President.

Despite the rivalry between the UW System schools, there is a great deal of respect and even admiration between the teams.

“We also have a lot of friends on that team. We’ve had brothers on both teams in the past, too. I mean, we’re all really good friends with each other, so it’s just a lot of fun,” commented Baltz.

“[The rivalry] has been going on ever since I’ve been here, and even longer than that,” stated Jacob Boehm, the club’s Co-President, “We’ve been really good friends with a lot of these guys because we play them so often. It makes the games a lot more fun and a lot more competitive, I think we make each other better, so it’s a lot of fun playing with them.”

The UW-L Men’s Club Volleyball Team competes against teams across the Midwest. They are almost entirely self-funded and need to pay for travel costs, uniforms and membership dues.

Despite the drawbacks of being a club sports, the team expects high quality play “Everyone takes it upon themselves to get better, improve themselves and improve the team. We don’t have a coach, so we all kind of coach ourselves and we coach each other.”

Baltz added that the team worked well together because they were friends on and off the court. “We get together a lot on weekends and stuff. We all love the game and we just want to get better for each other.”

UW-L’s Eric Heyrman was chosen as the MVP of the game.

“We’ll be looking for Adam [Baltz] for most of our hits because he’s one of our better hitters.”

Boehm later said, “There’s definitely areas where I think we could improve, definitely going forward for Nationals. So, we’re looking to keep getting better until that point.”

Baltz commented that he was happy with the way UW-L played.

UW-L’s Men’s Club volleyball will continue their path to Nationals after Spring Break.