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Volleyball Ends Season In NCAA Playoff Loss To Tommies
Posted: Thursday, November 8, 2007
ST. PAUL, Minn. - After splitting the season series against No. 12 St. Thomas (MN), the UW-Eau Claire volleyball team fell 3-1 to the host school in round one of the NCAA Division III National Championships.
The match went 25-30, 30-23, 26-30, and 15-30. The Blugolds had to make it as an at-large bid after taking fourth in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) tourney. The Tommies won the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) title to earn an automatic spot and host the regional.
The Blugolds topped out in hitting percentage during the first game at .279, but St. Thomas won despite hitting .224. Eau Claire's win in game two saw the Tommies with a .000 percentage and the Blugolds at .217. In another tight one, the Tommies outhit the Blugolds .244-to-.095 during the third game. Eau Claire hit .000 in the final game of the season while St. Thomas put up a .316 percentage.
First Team All-WIAC member Abby Freiborg (Jr.-Sacred Heart, MN/Renville County West) led the team in kills at 14. Lissa Martinez (Sr.-Vadnais Heights, MN/White Bear Lake) and Nikki Peterson (Sr.-North St. Paul, MN/North), also a first team selection, were behind her with 12 and 11 kills, respectively. Just as she's done all season, All-WIAC Honorable Mention Emily Haese (Jr.-Mishicot) set up the charge on 50 assists. Eau Claire hit .155 for the match.
WIAC All-Defensive Team member Heather Harnell (Sr.-Minnetonka, MN) provided the most digs at 18. Freiborg and Cary Rasmussen (So.-Sparta) both had 10. The Blugold defense outperformed St. Thomas in blocks (12.5-to-5.0), but the Tommies had the edge in digs (77-to-68). They also posted a better hitting percentage at .196.
Though Eau Claire's season is done, the Tommies continue with a match versus 17th-ranked Central College (IA) in round two. Another one of the five WIAC schools selected to the NCAA Championships is also in this regional in No. 8 UW-Whitewater.
Eau Claire finishes the season with a 22-11 overall record in the first year with Kim Wudi as head coach. It was the ninth straight winning season for Blugold volleyball and the third straight NCAA appearance.
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