By RICK PETERSON
WAYNE, Neb. – The No. 15 nationally-ranked and No. 6-seeded Washburn volleyball team won the opening set of the NCAA Central Region quarterfinal match, but was unable to stop a strong offensive attack by No. 6 Minnesota Duluth and lost in four sets on Friday afternoon.
The Ichabods finished the season with a record of 24-8 and as MIAA Tournament champions.
Washburn lost by the set scores of 25-21, 21-25, 19-25, and 19-25.
The Bulldogs improved their record to 26-4 and move on to the regional semifinal against No. 3 Concordia-St. Paul on Saturday.
In the opening set, Jalyn Stevenson broke an early 4-all tie with a kill that started a 5-1 run to give the Ichabods an 8-4 lead.
During that run, the sophomore outside had three kills and an ace. Washburn held a 16-11 advantage when Minnesota Duluth rallied with six-consecutive points to jump in front by one for its first lead of the game.
Stevenson came through with her fifth kill of the set to level the score at 17 and followed that up with another service ace to put Washburn up, 18-17.
The Bulldogs with tie the set at 18 and pull within one at 22-21, but the Ichabods closed out the first set win on a 3-0 mini run. Austin Broadie also had five kills in the opening set.
It was back-and-forth scoring to begin the second set until the Ichabods used a 7-2 run to go ahead, 12-9.
The Bulldogs responded by scoring six of the next eight points to jockey in front, 15-14.
A big block from Kassidy Pfeiffer and Kealy Kiviniemi stopped UMD's momentum and started a 7-3 run for the Ichabods as they benefited from four Bulldog errors.
Minnesota Duluth trailed 21-18 when it was the Bulldogs' turn to capitalize on errors, completing the comeback with seven unanswered points and six Washburn miscues.
Minnesota Duluth won the first point of the third set and never trailed.
The Bulldogs went on a 7-0 burst to go up, 11-3. The Ichabods trimmed the deficit to three, 15-12, and spoiled set point three times, but Minnesota Duluth finished off the victory with its 17th kill of the set.
Washburn started the fourth set with back-to-back points, but the Bulldogs put together a 5-0 run and held the lead for the rest of the set. The Ichabods stayed close and continued to fight back, chipping the lead down to one at 9-8, but two 4-0 runs by Minnesota Duluth gave it the cushion it needed. The Bulldogs hit .425 in the final set and 23 of their 25 points were by way of kills.
Minnesota Duluth out hit Washburn .304 to .190 for the match. The Bulldogs had the advantage in kills (67-46) and digs (68-54) while the Ichabods had twice as many blocks (12-6) and one more ace (4-3).
Stevenson led the Ichabod attack with 15 kills and was one dig shy of a double-double with nine digs.
Broadie hit .400 for the match and contributed 12 kills. The setter duo of Corinna McMullen and Sydney Conner notched 18 and 17 assists, respectively.
Defensively, libero Sydney Pullen led Washburn with 15 digs. Kiviniemi was a part of five blocks and Pfeiffer made four block assists and one solo stop.
For UMD, Sydney Lanoue hit a scorching .529 and landed a match-high 22 kills and added 17 digs. Samantha Paulsen hit .444 and had 15 kills.