UW-Whitewater falls in finals
“Out on the court during timeouts and in between games we talked about energy and having composure,” Washington University head coach Rich Luenemann said. “They left every time out with confidence that they could execute.”
Their confidence and composure resulted in Wash U. executing a 30-25, 23-30, 30-22, 28-30, 15-13 win.
For Whitewater, their heavy hitting and stingy defense held tough but eventually was overcome by the Bears.
“I’m really proud of the way they came out and handled different pressure situations,” Whitewater head coach Stacey Boudreau said. “For us to battle back in game four and push it to game five, it just says a lot about this team.”
In game four, Whitewater got out to a hot start by taking an early 9-3 lead getting kills from senior Abby Schultz and Rebekah Nelson on the way.
In game five, Washington senior Ellen Bruegge stepped up with two kills to give her team the lead and with fellow senior and all-tournament pick Haleigh Spencer serving, the Bears never looked back.
The Warhawks were led by all-tournament selections Kate LaZotte, who amassed 57 assists, Kelly Sorenson who smashed 16 kills, and All-American Carly Polk with 14 kills.
When the final point was scored, the Bears’ bench and fan section erupted.
“It feels so amazing,” Bruegge said. “Just the game itself, it was every other point; it took so much intensity and determination. It’s a relief almost; it’s such an amazing feeling. It’s everything we ever worked for.”
After being down 1-0 and then 2-1, the Warhawks made big runs in both game two and four to claw their way back into the match.
Despite coming up short, there was little sign of disappointment.
“It was a great experience,” Polk said. “Top two, that’s pretty great in itself to make it there. Fortunate for us, for our seniors, we’ve been there twice. We can’t complain. We left it all on the court it was great.”