Volleyball’s Season Ends With Loss to UW-Eau Claire in NCAA Regional Semifinal

Posted on November 13th, 2021 by

Box Score

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. – The Gustavus volleyball team’s season came to an end Friday night at the NCAA regional semifinals, dropping a four-set match to the number one seed UW-Eau Claire by scores of 16-25, 16-25, 25-16, 16-25. The Gusties end their season 27-6 overall.

“It was a hard fought match,” said Head Coach Rachelle Sherden. “I was really proud of the team, especially after two tough sets in the beginning to come back in the third. We kind of did some mix up with the line up and people really stepped in and did a really nice job for us and we just couldn’t carry it through all the way in the fourth. But I’m really proud of the effort that they gave.”

The Blugolds set the tone with a 16-8 lead, and despite regaining their offensive strides followed by back-to-back Sydney Olson (Jr., Willmar) kills, Eau Claire rattled off four straight to hand the Gusties a 25-16 opening set.

Eau Claire stayed hot with their home court advantage posting a 4-0 early lead. An 8-10 Gustavus run and a pair of service aces were enough to put the pressure on, but the Gusties would settle for an additional 25-16 set loss.

Gustavus came back roaring in the third set, going point for point for the first six before a Kate Holtan (Sr., Rochester) kill and Hailey Embacher (Sr., Mankato) service ace were enough to tilt the set in their favor. Olson put up a pair of kills to keep the ball rolling while Sarah Elliott (Jr., Lombard Ill.) added four in the set to make it a 2-1 match.

The Gusties kept things tied in set four at 8-8 but Eau-Claire put up a seven point run that Gustavus could not respond to as their season ended in the 3-1 loss.

Holtan ends her career as the all-time kills leader with 1,711 after registering 16 in her final match, while Embacher dished out three final assists, three service aces, and 12 digs.

“Everyone in our team has a different role in leadership, but obviously with those veterans being there four and five years, they had a huge impact on our team and our underclassmen. They left an amazing example for all of the team and what it looks like to be a supportive leader and making it about the whole group. They’ll never be replaced and it’ll be difficult not to have them in our gym with their fiery personalities. They definitely left their mark on me and the rest of the team and we love them.”


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