EAU CLAIRE, Wis. -- The UW-Stevens Point volleyball team (18-16) saw its season come to a close as No. 15 UW-Eau Claire (28-3) took a four-set match in the semifinal round of the WIAC Championship (presented by Culver's) on Thursday.
Junior April Gehl (Hilbert, Wis./Hilbert) capped her second all-conference season with 17 kills to lead the Pointers. Fellow junior Rachel Hein (Muskego, Wis./Muskego) added 11. Tara Emme (St. Nazianz, Wis./Valders) and Maddie Lawson (West Allis, Wis./Nathan Hale) had nine kills each for UWSP.
Freshman Ciara Gilbertson (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Menomonee Falls) had 24 assists with sophomore Ellie Adams (Racine, Wis./William Horlick) contributing 22. Fellow freshman Emma Peterson (Bloomington, Minn./Thomas Jefferson) led all players with 21 digs.
Emme opened the match with a kill and Gehl served up an ace as UWSP took a 2-0 lead. Consecutive kills by Gehl capped a 5-1 run as the Pointers pulled ahead 10-9. Emma Peterson (Bloomington, Minn./Thomas Jefferson) served up an ace as a 6-2 run put UWSP up 18-14. Back-to-back kills by Emme put the UWSP advantage at 23-18, but UWEC scored eight of the next nine points to take the first set, 26-24.
Gehl, Lawson, Emme and Hein each had a kill as UWSP opened a 7-2 lead to begin the second set. Gehl had two kills and an ace in a six-point surge to put the Pointers up 18-10. Lawson served up consecutive aces to give UWSP a 21-11 advantage. Hein and Hailey Jarr (Bloomer, Wis./Bloomer) combined for two kills and block to cap the set win, 25-14.
Gehl's first kill of the third set gave UWSP an 8-4 edge. Gehl added three more kills as UWSP battled from behind to tie the set at 18-18. The teams traded points down the stretch with Jarr and Lawson adding three kills apiece, but the Blugolds to the third set, 29-27.
After falling behind 6-2, Gehl sparked a 5-0 run to give UWSP a brief 7-6 lead. The Blugolds put together a 12-4 run for an 18-11 lead and pulled away for the set and match win.
Gehl ends the season with 582 kills, a school record by 78 kills, and the most in the country this season. Adams recorded 1,076 assists on the year, the second-most in the league.