EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – While the UW-Eau Claire volleyball team dropped the first set in the first round of the 2012 WIAC Championship against UW-Stout, the Blugolds came back and won the next three to defeat the Blue Devils 3-1 in the McPhee Physical Education Center tonight.
Eau Claire led a large portion of the first set but late in the set Stout took an 18-17 lead and never looked back. The Blugolds managed to score only three more points after that as they fell 25-20.
The second set was closely contested and the Blue Devils found their way to a 13-10 lead before Eau Claire scored four straight to get up 14-13. The teams then went back and forth for a couple points, but Eau Claire used a 5-0 run to build a 22-16 lead and went on to win 25-21.
The Blugolds led the entire third set, getting up by as many as eight points twice. Eau Claire led at one point 16-8 and finished the set with a 25-17 victory.
In the fourth and final set, the Blugolds got up 6-2 but Stout steadily worked its way back into the set, being down by just two (15-13) midway through the set. But the Blugolds were able to outscore the Blue Devils 10-7 the rest of the way to win 25-20 and take the match 3-1.
Three Blugolds reached double figures in kills, led by Amy Bomgren (Sr.-Woodbury, Minn.) with 16. As a team, the Blugolds recorded 52 kills to 33 for Stout and outhit the Blue Devils .174-.056.
Lauren Sutherland (Jr.-Dayton, Minn./Meadow Creek Christian) had a match-high 30 digs, tied for third most in her career, while two other Blugolds reached double digits.
Emily Neave (Sr.-Salem, Wis./Westosha Central) secured a match-best 44 set assists.
The Blugolds improve to 23-11 on the season while Stout ends its 2012 campaign with a mark of 15-14.
Eau Claire will now face 18th-ranked UW-Whitewater on Friday at 5 p.m. in the semifinals of the WIAC Championship in Stevens Point. Both teams will play again Saturday, the loser in a third-place match at noon and the winner in the title match at 2:30 p.m. The winner of the championship will automatically qualify for the 2012 NCAA Division III Championship.