#16 Washington 3, Bluffton 0
November 11, 2016
By: Samantha Granger, sports information assistant
WHITEWATER, Wis. - The Bluffton University volleyball team saw its magical ride come to an end in the NCAA Regional semifinals when #16 Washington (Mo.) used a blistering .402 hitting percentage in the three-set sweep on Friday, Nov. 11. Bluffton wrapped up its season with a 24-9 mark while the Bears (24-10) await the Elmhurst-Whitewater winner for an 8 p.m. Saturday showdown with a trip to NCAA National Tournament on the line.
The Beavers were cruising in the first set, up 19-11 with Washington out of timeouts when the Bears turned it around. The home team on the scoreboard pulled within 23-20 before Lauren Weisgarber's (Bolivar/Tuscarawas Valley) putdown had the Beavers one point away from a 1-0 advantage. Three Ifeoma Ufondu kills helped Washington finish the lidlifter with a 6-0 spurt for the 26-24 come-from-behind victory.
Bluffton bounced back for a quick 7-1 lead in the second set forcing a Bear timeout and that stoppage paid immediate dividends as Washington scored the next four points. The Beavers were still up midway through the game, 15-14, but 11 straight counters by the Bears made it 2-0 with the 25-15 win.
A 10-1 jag in the third set was too much for the Beavers to overcome as #16 Washington capped their straight set victory with a 25-15 win the clincher.
Erin Weisgarber (Bolivar/Tuscarawas) and sister Lauren paced the Bluffton attackers with seven kills apiece. Erin hit .462 with 17 assists and 10 pickups. Sydney Mohler (Lima/Central/Catholic) also came up with 10 digs, while fellow junior Becca Tourney (Columbia City, Ind.) fired a team-high three aces. Jessie Gibson (Warsaw/River View) and MacKenzie McFarlin (Ashland) were in on five and three blocks, respectively.
McFarlin finished her career #2 on the all-time kills list with 1,367 putdowns and fellow senior Lauren Weisgarber knocked down 945 kills (17th all-time). The decorated seniors went 9-0 in the Heartland Conference tournament before leading the Beavers to their first-ever NCAA Regional victory! What a four years they have treated Bluffton University and the Sommer Center to!