Blugolds volleyball takes down defending national champs, advance to Regional Championship

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ST. PETER, Minn. (Blugolds.com) – Round two of the Division III Women's Volleyball Championship had the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Blugolds (30-3) taking on the defending national champions, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS). The two teams met up last year on Sept. 2 at the Pacific Coast Classic where CMS got the 3-0 win. When it came to today's match, UW-Eau Claire redeemed themselves, defeating Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 3-1 (25-23, 23-25, 25-20, 25-17).

Box Score |Post-game press conference | Tournament Website

Set one had the Blugolds up 9-6 early on. However, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps was able to catch up and gain the lead. Madison Surprise (Sr. – Appleton, WI/Kimberly) served two aces in a row to eventually tie things back up at 11. CMS regained the lead and Head Coach Kim Wudi called a timeout. A couple of big kills by Madelyn Pashibin (Sr. – Minneapolis, MN/Southwest) gave the Blugolds momentum as they regained the lead, 21-20. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps was able to make the game close but another attack by Pashibin made it set point for the Blugolds and eventually led to the set one win.

Set two resulted in a loss for the Blugolds after a couple of CMS aces to start the set. The Blugolds were able to chip away at the CMS lead and tie the score back up multiple times throughout the set. Ultimately, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps got the best of the Blugolds and tied the match up at one.

Set three started with Claremont-Mudd-Scripps up early. An ace by Krista Meyer (So. – Germantown, WI) tied the set back up and it was all Blugolds after. Amber Karn (Sr. – Middleton, WI) had a service ace. This was followed by three kills in a row for Arianna Barrett (Fr. – Lakeville, MN/North). Barrett finished the day with only one hitting error and 20 kills. Madelyn Pashibin followed Barrett's three kills with three kills in a row of her own to make the score 21-20. The set ended on a block by Surprise and Meyer to give the Blugolds the set three win.

Set four was back-and-forth from the start. Some aggressive play and a couple of big plays from Makenzie Bachmann (So. – Chaska, MN) put the Blugolds up 15-12 and forced CMS to call a timeout. Meyer came out of the timeout and served an ace to extend the Blugold lead. UW-Eau Claire dominated on both offense and defense after that. The match ended on an ace from Karn and the Blugolds got the set and match win.

Surprise ended the match with an outstanding 53 assists. Pashibin recorded 14 kills and Bachmann had ten. The Blugolds obtained a solid 12 aces on the day. On defense, Taylor Scalia (So. – Lake Elmo, MN/Stillwater) had 23 digs and Bachmann had 13. UW-Eau Claire had an impressive .400 hitting percentage in the final set.

The Blugolds (31-3) will face the College of Saint Benedict Sunday at 2:00 p.m. for the regional championship.