Teams enter matchup a combined 20-2
The area has become a hotbed for collegiate volleyball and, tonight, Viterbo vs. the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse becomes a must-see.
This hasn't always been the case. It may have never been the case. It certainly hasn't been the case recently, as Viterbo has seemingly always dominated this matchup.
At 7 p.m. at Mitchell Hall, however, things could be different. Tonight, UW-L comes in undefeated and looking for the upset. Or are they the favorite?
"Roles are a little reversed record-wise, but I think our confidence is just as high," Viterbo outside hitter Sara Biermaier said.
The Eagles are 9-0 - their best start since going 11-0 in 2007 - and just cracked the Division 3 Top 25 at No. 18.
Viterbo isn't exactly slipping, ranked No. 5 in the NAIA, but Biermaier talked like the 11-2 record was disappointing. That's just the expectations of Viterbo, apparently.
Regardless, the two teams are off to incredible starts, but they're not alone.
Across the Mississippi River, Winona State University is 9-0 and just cracked the Top 10 in Division 2 for the first time in school history at No. 9, while Saint Mary's is off to a 7-1 start.
Back in La Crosse, this intra-city rivalry lately has been about Viterbo's dominance - a perennial powerhouse that's been to the Final Four each of the last two seasons.
The two teams play for the Coulee Cup - a giant gold cup and symbol of bragging rights in town. They hold it up after victory and do whatever it is they do with it that night - Biermaier wouldn't say.
"We've had the Coulee Cup for eight years, which is nuts," Biermaier said. "So, for all my three years, we've had it and definitely, my senior year, I'm not ready to give that up."
La Crosse senior Ida Steingas, however, has other ideas.
"I do feel like, this year, there's this little extra fire in us, not only to become 10-0, but to get the Coulee Cup would be icing on the cake," she said.
While Viterbo has had this cup, this matchup, the last eight seasons, it's UW-L that holds the all-time record at 27-11.
Princeton Review ranks UW top party school
It took a decade, but the Wisconsin Badgers are back on top. For partying that is.
The Princeton Review recently released it's survey of best party schools and the University of Wisconsin-Madison was No. 1, followed by West Virginia University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Illinois took the top spot last year.
Not everyone is celebrating like the UW student body.
"Our big thing is you don't have to always drink," Christie Davis from the La Crosse County Health Dept. said. "We can have community celebrations. We can have fun events that take place that don't ... need to be the focal point for why we get together for celebrations."
UW also placed first in the "lots of beer" category and fifth in "lots of hard liquor." Luckily, the Badgers were also first in "health services" in the Review's 2017 edition of The Best of 381 Colleges.
Davis says drinking behaviors in college shouldn't be overlooked, especially when you begin making excuses like, "So and so doesn't have a drinking problem. They just like to go out on weekends. They like to have a good time," Davis said.
"Binge drinking on a regular basis is not a normal thing, is not a healthy thing," she continued.
School administration has largely ignored the ranking.
Miller's No. 28 will be on Lancer sidelines
Mario Miller would be heading into his senior year of football tonight for the La Crescent High School.
But No. 28 won't be running onto the field. Miller passed away July 20, after battling cryptogenic organizing pneumonia for nine months.
It was a condition that forced him onto the transplant list for both his lungs and his heart. Doctors never did find Miller a donor.
At first Miller thought he had a common cold. When it didn't get better, doctors throught it was maybe Asthma.
Then he collapsed during a football game early last year. Days later his lung collapsed and doctors finally figured out what was wrong. Days after that, the other lung collapsed as coach Brad Groth explains.
"It was the next week, then, that he was air lifted to Rochester," Groth said. "Then it all started sinking in like, 'Holy crap, what's going on here?'
"He had to be air lifted. Then, a week and a half later, we're going to Plainview and his brother is getting texts on the bus about emergency surgery and he's going on life support. It was just a crazy ride. Luckily, we were playing in Plainvew and we could get his brother off the bus and onto the school van so he could get to Rochester."
La Crescent will rest Miller's No. 28 jersey on the bench during all its games this year, along with, again, wearing a sticker on their helmets with Miller's name and number.
The high school did its best to keep Miller involved and up to speed, while he was in the hosptial, last year.
Groth isn't sure if his passing will be harder on the team this year, now that he's gone, as compared to last.
"There was such hope that he would have gotten his heart and lung transplant," Groth said. "Then in May, he had gotten taken off the list. And, after he was taken off the list, everyone kind of knew. So, I think everyone kind of prepared themselves that way."
La Crescent has its work cut out for it tonight, hosting the defending state champions, Caledonia.
In going unbeaten last season, Caledonia outscored its opponents 497-0 in the first half of all its games. The Warriors won state 40-0 over Pipestone.
You can listen to Caledonia at La Crescent here on Classic Hits 94.7 FM.
Video streaming on AM 580 WKTY will be Central (1-1) at West Salem (2-0).
Onalaska (2-0) at Holmen (1-1)
Logan (1-1) at Tomah (1-1)
Sparta (2-0) vs. Aquinas (1-1) at UW-La Crosse
River Valley at Arcadia
Onalaska Luther at Dodgeville
Richland Center at G-E-T
Black River Falls at Lancaster
Westby at Platteville
Prairie du Chien at Viroqua
Melrose-Mindoro at Augusta
Lincoln at Blair-Taylor
Independence/Gilmanton at Eleva-Strum
Cochrane-Fountain City at Whitehall
Cotter at Plainview-Elgin-Millville
Houston at Randolph
Lanesboro at Grand Meadow
Lyle/Pacelli at Spring Grove
LeRoy-Ostrander at Mabel-Canton
Blooming Prairie at Rushford-Peterson
Medford at Lewiston-Altura
Winona at Rochester Century