MOORHEAD, Minn. (Blugolds.com) – Facing a tough University of St. Thomas (Minn.) team, ranked 11th nationally, the UW-Eau Claire volleyball fell in three sets in the first round of the NCAA Championship at Memorial Auditorium today.
While the Tommies controlled the first two sets, the Blugolds showed a spark in the third but couldn't keep it going and ultimately fell 3-0.
St. Thomas, which now has a record of 30-4, opened the first set with a 25-18 win. The Blugolds started off slow and the Tommies were able to build a 20-9 lead before the Blugolds closed in a little. Eau Claire used an 8-3 run to get to within six but St. Thomas held on for the 25-18 win.
In the second set, the Tommies once again came out strong and built a lead the Blugolds couldn't overcome. This time, St. Thomas found its way to an 18-9 lead before the Blugolds used a 7-4 run to again get within six but the Tommies once again held on to win 25-17.
The third set was contested closely. The teams kept the score almost even for the opening minutes but the Blugolds were able to build a slight lead a couple of times during the match. While the Blugolds led 18-16 at one point, the Tommies came from behind and scored five in a row to take a 21-18 lead. Over the final minutes, St. Thomas outscored the Blugolds 7-3 to take the 25-21 win.
Kelly Schuh (So.-Appleton, Wis./Hortonville) led the Blugolds and tied for a match-high 11 kills. She also finished with a .348 hitting percentage. Schuh also reached double-digits in digs with 10 while Lauren Sutherland (So.-Dayton, Minn./Meadow Creek Christian) led the Blugolds with 13. Emily Neave (Jr.-Salem, Wis./Westosha Central) paced the Blugolds with 25 set assists.
This was the seventh straight appearance the Blugolds have made in the NCAA Championships and 14th overall appearance. St. Thomas ended the Blugolds' season for the second straight year, as last year the Tommies defeated the Blugolds in the second round.
Eau Claire, which won 13 of its final 15 matches of the season, finished the year with a mark of 22-13.