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Volleyball Faces Platteville In WIAC Semifinal
Posted: Thursday, November 1, 2007
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. - After a 3-1 win over UW-Superior in the first round of the conference tournament, the UW-Eau Claire volleyball team will now take on UW-Platteville in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) semifinal on Friday at Whitewater.
This is the third year in a row that the third-seeded Blugolds have made it to the second round after taking games of 30-28, 27-30, 30-26, and 30-28 over sixth-seeded Superior. The seventh-seeded Pioneers upset second-seeded UW-Oshkosh in round one. They pulled off the surprise over the ninth-ranked team in the nation with scores of 23-30, 30-25, 30-26, and 30-25.
Platteville almost faced Eau Claire in last year's championship match, but fell to eventual champion UW-Whitewater in five games during the semifinals. In 2005, the two teams squared off for the WIAC championship, with the Pioneers taking the crown in a 32-30, 30-25, 33-31 sweep. Eau Claire has never won a WIAC tourney.
This year, Eau Claire is 1-1 against Platteville. The Blugolds lost to the Pioneers 3-0 in September during the UW-Platteville Tourney. Scores were 30-18, 30-25, and 30-24 in Platteville's favor. Eau Claire then avenged that loss in conference play with a 3-1 victory during the midst of an 8-1 run to end the regular season. The Blugolds took the match 25-30, 30-26, 34-32, and 30-28.
Eau Claire, which took third in the WIAC compared to sixth for Platteville, is led by Abby Freiborg (Jr.-Sacred Heart, MN/Renville County West). She has 3.54 kills per game and 74 aces, with her 0.75 aces per game tops for the conference. Jenna Weber (Jr.-Antigo) and her 0.51 aces per game are tied for second. In the team's kill standings, Nikki Peterson (Sr.-North St. Paul, MN/North) and Lissa Martinez (Sr.-Vadnais Heights, MN/White Bear Lake) are next at 2.90 and 2.89 kills per game, respectively. Emily Haese (Jr.-Mishicot) averages 12.47 assists per game and had her best match of the season against Superior. She totaled 67 assists, most for any Blugold this season. Freiborg also came up big with a season-high 22 kills.
The offense hits .196, sixth in the conference. However, their 2.50 aces per game are second.
Freiborg teams up with Heather Harnell (Sr.-Minnetonka, MN) on the defensive front to provide the most digs. Harnell has 4.55 digs per game, fourth in the conference, while Freiborg collects 4.04 per game. Katie Fox (Jr.-Chippewa Falls/Chi-Hi) has the most blocks for Eau Claire at 88.0, though the Blugolds are last in the WIAC for blocks per game at 1.73.
The Pioneers had a 23-11 campaign, but finished the regular season going 2-4 in the last six.
The leader of the offense has been Rachel Chapman, who has 3.74 kills per game, third-most in the WIAC. Lisa Bell is behind her with 3.53. Kelly Laschinger's 12.92 assists per game have led to the offensive production and are second in the conference standings.
The Pointers have been on top of the conference in many offensive categories. They have the most kills per game with 15.32 and most assists per game at 14.23. Platteville has hit .213 this year, which is fourth-best in the WIAC.
On defense, Rochelle Ripp leads in digs per game with 4.26. Emily Walker and Chapman are No. 2 and No. 3 at 3.77 and 3.56 digs per game. Lisa Bell has 102 blocks to head the defense.
Eau Claire is 23-13 all-time versus Platteville, but the Pioneers have ended Eau Claire's WIAC run two of the past three years with the 2005 championship and the first round of the 2004 tourney.
Friday's showdown in Whitewater will begin at 5 p.m. The winner will advance to face either No. 7 Whitewater or No. 17 UW-La Crosse in the championship on Saturday.