By Tommy McGowan, UWEC Sports Information
SAINT PAUL, Minn. (blugolds.com) - The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire volleyball team dropped their NCAA Regional match against Saint Benedict (Minn.) on Thursday afternoon, 3-1.
After falling behind in the first set, the Blugolds would climb back to win it, 27-25. Arianna Barrett (So.-Lakeville, MN/North) opened the scoring for Eau Claire with a kill, while a service ace finished the game.
However, Eau Claire was unable to keep the momentum going over the next few sets. They fell behind 4-0 early in the second and were unable to recover, with CSB taking it 25-13. The third also saw the Blugolds start slow, before a courageous comeback attempt. A kill from Kendra Baierl (Jr.-Marshfield, WI/Columbus Catholic) made it a one-point game, before Saint Benedict was able to take the set 25-23.
The fourth and final set was again closely contested. Eau Claire took a quick lead off a service ace but once again had to make a comeback attempt after falling behind. Baierl had five kills to keep things tight, but CSB found a way to close it out, 25-22.
Baierl would finish the afternoon with 20 kills, which led all players, while Barrett supplied 18. Taylor Scalia (Jr.-Lake Elmo, MN/Stillwater) and Abbey Pederson (So.-Canby, MN) were also important for the Blugolds, combining for 31 digs.
Eau Claire will finish the 2019 campaign 20-11 overall and 5-2 in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. It marks the fourth time in five seasons they've won 20 or more matches, and second straight season with an NCAA berth.