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Blugolds secure NCAA tournament bid for second straight season

Eau Claire (WQOW) — Entering the day Monday, UW-Eau Claire found themselves squarely on the bubble for a spot in the NCAA tournament . But after securing one of the 21 at-large bids, the Blugolds are back for the second straight season.

The excitement was shown on the team’s Twitter page, after seeing their names in the bracket. The Blugolds will be in the St. Thomas regional starting Thursday, and head coach Kim Wudi was excited for her team to keep playing.

“I had a good feeling this morning. I think our resume looked good against the teams that were also at-large contenders, says Wudi. “But really watching results all weekend, and hoping that they’re were very few upsets. Which fortunately for us, they’re weren’t very much upsets across the country. So that really helped our chances. So I felt really good this morning, but until you see your name on the board you never really know.”

This team has been red-hot since the middle of October, including a ten match winning streak heading into the WIAC tournament. But UW-Eau Claire made an emphasis on their strength of schedule for 2019, and it not only helped secure their bid but also test them early on.

Now the Blugolds will take on a familiar foe Thursday afternoon in the opener, Saint Benedict. They won a match-up back in September in four sets, but Eau Claire is a different team and ready for round two.

“One of the big things with Saint Benedict and actually every team in that regional, is we all know each other pretty well. Our coaches are all friends, and certainly we’re going to try and beat each other,” Wudi says. “But that’s the fun part of it. You throw out the seeding. You throw everything out, because you do know each other so well. It makes it actually a little easier to play against teams that you know more about, versus a team that you’ve never seen before.”

UW-Eau Claire and Saint Benedict will tip-off Thursday at 12:30 p.m. at St. Thomas.

Collin Talbert

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