Eau Claire, Wis. - The Viterbo University volleyball team continued their best season in over 20 years on Saturday as they defeated two nationally ranked opponents at the UW-Eau Claire triangular. In the first match, the V-Hawks defeated #14 St. Thomas University 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-22) and then beat # 16 UW-Eau Claire 3-2 (25-20, 21-25, 25-17, 20-25, 15-13).
In the win over St. Thomas, it was Viterbo's defense that really gave the Tommies no chance to get into an offensive flow. The V-Hawks held the Tommies to a hitting percentage of just .161 for the match. Sophomore libero Jordan Blaken (Melrose, Wis.) was the leader of the Viterbo defense as she finished with 21 digs while teammate Katie Flock (So. - Sparta, Wis.) added 11 digs. The V-Hawk offense was not much better than the Tommies as they were limited to a hitting percentage of .194. Flock recorded her second double-double of the season to lead the V-Hawks as she finished with a game high 17 kills (11 digs). Junior Amy Braaksma (Randolph, Wis.) was also in double figures with 10 kills.
Against UW-Eau Claire, Viterbo came out firing from the start as their offense got on track right away. Offensively, the V-Hawks had four players in double figures in kills led again by Flock who finished with 20 kills while Jenna Lau (Sr. - Eau Claire, Wis.) added 17 kills. Also in double figures was Hannah Ripp (So. - Merrilan, Wis.) and Braaksma with 13 and 11 kills, respectively. Defensively, Blaken led the way again with 23 digs while Flock and Amanda Bernett (Sr. - Sparta, Wis.) each had 13 digs. As a team, the V-Hawks hit an impressive .327 led by Ripp (.550) and Lau (.484).
The wins cap off a very exciting week for the V-Hawks as they went 3-0 on the week. Earlier in the week, the V-Hawks defeated Grand View University who came into the match tied with Viterbo atop the Midwest Collegiate Conference at 4-0 and were receiving votes in the NAIA top 25 polls. The team success also helped Braaksma achieve some individual success as she became just the sixth player in school history to surpass the 1,000 kill mark. Braaksma now has 1,015 kills in her three year career. Teammate Jenna Lau also is putting her name in the record books as she moved into second place on the all-time kills list. She has 1,351 kills and is just 62 kills away from first place on the list.
The wins on Saturday helped Viterbo improve to 33-4 on the season as they have now won 30 of their last 31 games. The 33 wins are the most wins in a single season for the V-Hawks since they won 40 games back in 1990. Viterbo will look to remain atop the MCC standings when they host William Penn University on Wednesday night at 7:00 pm. It is the final regular season home game for the V-Hawks and they will honor the careers of seniors Lau, Bernett and Amber Dunn (Hancock, Wis.).