The Buena Vista volleyball team took part in the two-day UW-La Crosse Invite on Friday and Saturday, and the Beavers came up short in four matches, falling to UW-Superior (3-1) and UW-La Crosse (3-2) on Friday before dropping a pair of 3-0 decisions to IIAC foes Loras College and Central College, respectively, on Saturday.
In Friday's opener against UW-Superior, BVU jumped out to the early 1-0 lead after capturing a thrilling 28-26 win in set one. Superior then even things at 1-1 with a 25-21 triumph in the second set before slipping by with 26-24 and 28-26 wins in the final two sets.
Senior Lacie Drennan, who's now third on the program's single-season kills list following the weekend with 420, led all players with a match-high 20 kills. She also chipped in with a team-leading 14 digs, defensively, to go along with a pair of block assists. Freshman Kirsten VanZuiden followed with 12 kills, with senior Kacie Woodley just missing double-digits with nine. Freshman Courtney Van Haaften dished out 46 assists, to go along with a pair of ace serves and six digs. Senior Kelsey Essick registered 13 digs, while fellow senior Kirsten Brown registered four blocking assists.
BVU closed the night with a tough five-set setback against the host school, despite having four players finish with at least 10 kills. Drennan, Woodley and VanZuiden all chimed in with 13, while Brown added 10. Van Haaften tallied 52 assists, while also adding 10 digs. Essick turned in a team-high 25 digs, while Deni Peters added a career-best five total blocks. After UW-La Crosse won the opener, 25-21, the two team's traded 25-23 victories in the next two, before the Beavers evened the match with a 25-21 win in the fourth. UW-La Crosse then posted a 15-8 margin to win the match in the fifth set.
The Beavers then squared-off with conference foe Loras College to begin the day on Saturday. The Duhawks took a thrilling 29-27 set to begin the match before extending the lead with a 25-17 victory in set two. BVU tried to force at least one more set but came up just short (28-26).
Drennan again was in double figures to lead the way, posting 13 kills and adding 18 digs. VanZuiden was next with eight kills. Van Haaften chalked up 30 more assists, to go along with 11 digs, as Essick added to her team-leading season total with 12 digs.
BVU then closed the book on the two-day event with a tough three-set loss to the Dutch. VanZuiden posted a team-leading eight kills in the match, running her season total to 340 which is the eighth-highest single-season total in school history and the second-highest by a freshman (377; Katie Vondrak in 2007).
Drennan, who was also named to the All-Tournament Team, sits only five kills shy of moving into second on the single-season list, while trailing Ashley Wilde's single-season record of 462 by only 42 with two matches remaining. She's also only 22 shy of moving into third on the program's all-time career list with 813. Van Haaften pushes her season assist total to 1,133 which is the sixth-highest single-season mark in school history and second-most by a freshman. She heads into the final week of the season, just eight shy of fifth and 15 shy of fourth.
Defensively, Essick becomes only the eighth player in school history since the start of rally scoring in 2001, to surpass 800 career digs. She heads into the final week of her career with 807 and is 21 away from seventh and 25 away from sixth.
Buena Vista is now 9-21 overall on the year and will return home for the final home match of the 2011 season when it hosts league-leading Coe College (27-2, 7-0 IIAC) in a 7:30pm match inside of Siebens Fieldhouse.
Check out photos of our student-athletes in action in the Beaver sports photo galleries.