Eau Claire (WQOW) -- The third state tournament of the winter sports season kicks off on Thursday at Veteran's Memorial Coliseum in Madison with the boys and girls state hockey tournaments.
Eau Claire Memorial is making its 3th trip to state, and its fourth straight. But in the last three trips, the Old Abes season has ended before the state championship game. The teams says they'll need a good week of practice to reach their goal.
"It drives us a lot," says senior forward Brady Bollinger. "We expect a lot out of this program. Obviously four consecutive trips to state, we want to go all the way this year and we're going to do everything that we can."
"We're extremely excited. Anytime you get an opportunity to go, it's a great feeling. When you get down there it is always a different dynamic and we need to spend some time this week and get them back to doing what we do best."
The Old Abes are excited to be heading back to Madison, especially after Memorial started this past regular season with an 0-2-1 record.
"We struggled, as everybody saw," said Old Abes head coach Mike Schwengler, "and everybody thought that this was the year that the Old Abes were going to go down, and the kids made a conscious effort to commit. We had some kids that were playing forward that have never played forward, we have kids playing defense that have never played defense, they all said we'll do whatever it takes for the good of the team, and we've been able to do that."
Memorial faces the Whitefish Bay Co-op in a state quarterfinal game, Thursday at 6:00 p.m. You can watch the boys and girls state title games, Saturday, on WQOW-New 18.
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