Blugold Volleyball Loses in WIAC Quarterfinal Nail-Biter

Blugold Volleyball Loses in WIAC Quarterfinal Nail-Biter

By: Jake Krier, UWEC Sports Information

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (blugolds.com) - The quarterfinals of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Championship (presented by Culver's) took place Tuesday night from the McPhee Center as the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire volleyball team hosted UW-Stevens Point.

The fourth-seeded Blugolds swept the No. 5-seeded Pointers nearly a month ago in a match that saw Eau Claire win only by a combined seven points amongst the three sets.

Tuesday's match would need the full five sets to determine who would advance to the conference semi-finals. In heartbreaking fashion, the Blugolds fell short, dropping the fifth set 16-14.

Stevens Point pulled away late in a back-and-forth opening set, taking it 25-20. Eau Claire responded by dominating most of the second set on way to a 25-19 win.

Then came the wild set three that looked as though the Blugolds could ride the momentum to victory. Despite the Pointers' 7-1 run in the set and their three set points, the Blugolds were able to fight back and secure a 30-28 set win.

Stevens Point killed any momentum, starting off the fourth set up 6-0 en route to forcing the fifth set and winning 25-21. Though the Blugolds had match point, the No. 17-ranked squad rallied for three straight to secure their berth in Thursday's semifinals.

Three Blugolds ended in double figures for kills: Heather Sawchuk (Jr.-Roseville, MN/Cretin-Derham Hall) with 22, Katrina Raskie (Sr.-Weston, WI/D.C. Everest) with 17, and Mackenzee Pierog (Jr.-Eau Claire, WI/North) with 15. Madison Surprise (So.-Appleton, WI/Kimberly) ended with 54 assists, and Kasey Schumacher (Jr.-Channahon, IL/Minooka Community) led with 31 digs.

With the loss and elimination from the WIAC tournament, the Blugolds will now await their fate to see if they receive an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament.

Follow the action for all sports this season on Blugold Game Day.

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