Wittenberg Volleyball finds themselves again as number-one as they enter into the NCAA Elite Eight.
The Tigers won three straight matches over the weekend, taking down Penn. St.-Behrend, 3-0, Juniata, 3-1, and Ohio Northern, 3-0.
The win-streak takes Coach Paco Labrador and team to the quarterfinals against Swarthmore on Thursday in Grand Rapids, Mich. at Calvin College.
Lone senior Maddie Fischer delivered the final blow against Ohio Northern with a service ace to end the match.
“I think it came down to, once again similar to last night, a couple of moments where our servers were hot enough to give us a cushion,” Labrador said in a post-game interview. “When you get a six- or seven-point cushion, it really does free everyone up a little bit and everyone plays a bit more loose in that scenario.”
Aubrey Cox, sophomore, led the charge against the Polar Bears during the regional championship match, tallying 10 kills over the three sets. Fischer followed close behind with nine kills and then Taylor Brown, junior, with eight.
Freshman Haley Horner recorded an outstanding match defensively with five total blocks, three solo and two assists.
Despite it being the regional championship match, the Tigers took an easy 3-0 win, sweeping the Polar Bears for the second time this season, 27-25, 25-14 and 25-10.
After entering the NCAA tournament for the 22nd consecutive year, women’s volleyball claimed their eighth regional title in program history with their win over Ohio Northern.
“[Ohio Northern is] a team that really understands that you have to play together and you have to bring a lot of energy to the floor,” Labrador said.
Brown was a key attacker through the weekend, lending the Tigers 25 total kills over three matches on 67 attempts. Fischer pulled slightly ahead, also tallying 25 kills on the weekend over 64 total attempts.
Karen Wildemann contributed 94 assists for Wittenberg, setting up for all three wins. Brown also led the Tigers with seven service aces on the weekend. Junior Kennedy Schmidt was the lead blocker overall, recording two solo blocks and seven block assists on three matches.
Juniata posed a threat for the Tigers championship run the day before, after taking the second set, 13-25. The red and white rallied to stay on top of one of their tougher regional opponents to date with 25-23 and 25-21 wins for the final two sets to win 3-1.
Wittenberg opened the tournament against Penn. St.-Behrend on Friday, shutting them out quickly 3-0.
Tiger volleyball looks ahead to the quarterfinal road trip at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. First match for Wittenberg will be against Swarthmore at 5:30 p.m.