Pointers down defending national champs to earn programs first regional championship

After losing in three sets to St. Thomas (30-3) earlier this season, the Pointers (34-4) knocked off the Tommies on their home floor. St. Thomas had won 40 of its last 41 home matches. The win extends the deepest NCAA Tournament run in UW-Stevens Point program history.

UW-Stevens Point was led by Allison Davis (Rochelle, IL/Rochelle Township), who had 15 kills and hit .400. The senior also was a part of nine of the Pointers 14 blocks in the match. Krista Loos (Sterling, IL/Sterling) (13) and Sarah Wildish (Menomonee Falls, WI/Menomonee Falls) (11) were each in double figures for kills. Hannah Picel (West Bend, WI/West Bend West) (23), Marie Krengel (Eagan, MN/Eastview) (17), Bri Piepenbrok (Merrill, WI/Merrill) (13) and Wildish all tallied double-digit digs, while Alexis Hartman (Lake Zurich, IL/Lake Zurich) handed out 46 assists.

The Pointers lost the first set, recovered quickly to win the second convincingly and went on to take the match in four. In the first set, St. Thomas hit a blistering .415 and three straight kills by Jill Greenfield keyed a run of five straight points late in the set to give the Tommies a one-set advantage.

In the second, UW-Stevens Point limited St. Thomas to nine kills and nine errors and got off to a quick 13-6 start. Four errors by the Tommies, including blocks by Davis and Emma Brunkhorst (Germantown, WI/Germantown), were part of a series of six consecutive points for the Pointers. UWSP used the strong start to run away with the set 25-14.

The start of the third set was tightly contested until UW-Stevens Point gradually established an advantage. Leading 13-11, the Pointers four of the next five points to take a 17-12 lead and never looked back, despite a late run by St. Thomas, taking the third 25-21.

In the fourth, the Pointers jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and led 16-9 at the midway point. The Tommies pulled to within three, 20-17, before Brunkhorst and Hartman tallied back-to-back kills to extend the UWSP lead and a block by Davis and Hartman on the game's final point gave the Pointers the victory.

UW-Stevens Point will play host Hope College in the opening round of the national quarterfinal on Thursday, Nov. 21. Game time is to be determined.

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