The UW-Eau Claire women's volleyball team has high expectations for the upcoming fall season. After coming in second in the conference playoffs last fall, they believe first place is within their reach.
But the top spot won't come without a fight. Head Coach Kim Wudi said that they are facing an exceptionally challenging season.
Many of the teams they will face are ranked within the top 25 in the nation. According to pre-season polls, UW-Eau Claire is ranked 13th in the nation and is expected to end second in the conference behind UW-Oshkosh.
Oshkosh, last year's undefeated conference champions, will be one of their primary rivals, along with Whitewater and Platteville.
In addition to landing in first or second place, Wudi would love to see the team host the regional tournament. However, they must become the number one ranked team in the region to have this honor.
But the rigorous schedule isn't the only challenge: the team will have to recover from losing seven players, almost half of their 16-player team.
Wudi has confidence that upperclassmen like senior Amanda Lessner, a captain and one of the team's two setters, will be able to fill the roles left open by graduating seniors.
If fans could only make it to one home game this season, both Lessner and Wudi agree that the match against UW-Oshkosh is a must. The game is on October 15th and coincides with their breast cancer awareness event called "Dig Pink."
But conference goals aside, Wudi's has goals for the team that extend beyond the rankings. She hopes that her players will continue to set aside personal ambition or arrogance and work as a united team.
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