ST. PETER, Minn. (Blugolds.com) – The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire volleyball team is headed to the NCAA Elite 8 after the Blugolds defeated the College of Saint Benedict 3-1 in Sunday's Regional Championship.
After dropping the first set 25-20, the Blugolds and Blazers had a back and forth battle in set two, but Eau Claire would prevail for the 25-22 win to even the match at 1 set apiece.
The third set started with the two teams trading points but the Blugolds would go on a run to take a 16-11 lead and force a Saint Ben's timeout. It would not stop the Blugolds who would maintain their lead and Arianna Barrett (Fr. – Lakeville, MN/North) would tally three kills down the stretch while Kendra Baierl's (So. – Marshfield, WI/Columbus Catholic) kill gave Eau Claire the 25-18 win.
The Blugolds would take set four in commanding fashion, defeating CSB 25-14 to win the regional title and punch their ticket to the national tournament.
The Blugolds hit an impressive .429 in set three and .368 in set four to finish the game at .267 while the Blazers finished with a hitting percentage of .196.
Madelyn Pashibin (Sr. – Minneapolis, MN/Southwest) led the Blugolds with 19 kills and only one attack error to hit .409 for the match. Barrett also tallied 18 kills (.312) and added three block assists. Baierl finished the day with 12 kills (.423) while Makenzie Bachmann (So. – Chaska, MN) led the defense with 21 digs. Madison Surprise (Sr. – Appleton, WI/Kimberly) dished out 53 assists to go with 13 digs and four aces.
For their efforts, Surprise, Pashibin and Barrett were named to the All-Tournament Team and Barrett was also named Tournament MVP.
The Blugolds (32-3) now wait for the seedings for the national tournament which will take place Nov. 15-17 in Pittsburgh, PA. Follow the action on Blugold Game Day or on the 'UWEC Blugolds' app on your mobile device.