The Pointers Volleyball team may have lost to The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in the WIAC championship game, but they will still be playing in the NCAA tournament.
The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, with a record of 29-7, will play against Northwestern College, out of Minnesota, which has a record of 26-8. The teams clash this Thursday in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Stevens Point has been playing their best lately, winning 14 of their last 16 matches. “The team has played well,” said head coach Stacey White. “We’ve had our roller-coaster games, but our players work hard every day of the season.”
Although the conference title was the ultimate goal, Coach White said that just getting there is a great feat.
“It was an accomplishment, and it helped us meet the goals our team set at the beginning of the season,” White said.
White attributes a big portion of the team’s success to the upperclassmen. “We have had great leadership from our five seniors,” White said.
Senior setter Cassidy Kohlhagen has taken a lot from her last season and will remember her friends and experiences from this team for the rest of her life.
“I could not have asked for a better team to share my final year with,” Kohlhagen said. “Being able to make it into the tournament and go out with a bang is icing on the cake.”
Even after qualifying for the NCAA tournament, the team knows they have some things they can improve on.
“We need to continue to work on our consistency, and I think that that’s the biggest thing right now,” White said. “If we can figure that out, we’re good.”
“We could improve on our talk and communication on the court,” said sophomore defensive specialist Ally Groth. “We tend to be kind of quiet on the court, but we have gotten much better at that as the season has gone on.”
The Pointers are well represented in the WIAC awards, headed by White, who was named Coach of the Year for the second year in a row.
Senior middle Morgan Bartkowiak and sophomore setter Alexis Hartman were both named to the 2012 All-WIAC Women’s Volleyball Team.
The Pointers qualified as one of the 22 at-large big teams. The team is excited for the opportunity to bring home a national championship but knows the road ahead will be tough.
“Some say that winning a Division III championship is harder than winning a Division I or II championship,” White said.
“Being able to participate in the NCAA tournament for the second year is an honor,” Kohlhagen said. “We are grateful for the chance to show everyone that we deserve to be in the tournament, and we are a force to be reckoned with.”
So how far can the team go?
“The sky’s the limit, says White. “We can go as far as the team wants to go. We have to have the right things happen at the right time.”
“As a team, I believe we could go all the way. When we work together and stay positive, there is no stopping us,” Kohlhagen said.