Volleyball season ends with 3-2 loss in NCAAs

Volleyball season ends with 3-2 loss in NCAAs

No. 22-ranked St. Thomas Volleyball closed its season with Thursday afternoon's 3-2 loss to Wartburg (Iowa) in the quarterfinals of the NCAA playoffs hosted by Northwestern-St. Paul in Roseville. The Knights raced to a 10-0 lead in the deciding fifth set and won 15-3 after taking the first and third sets.

Aryn Jones hit .342 with 19 kills and seven blocks for Wartburg (25-5), which hit an excellent .262 on the match to the Toms' .204. The Knights will play the Gustavus-La Crosse winner in Friday's semifinals.

St. Thomas (25-7), playing in the NCAA regional for the 11th time in 12 seasons, dropped its second five-set decision in six days. 

Coach Thanh Pham graduates five seniors, all on the front row -- Whitney Lloyd, Ellie Etzell, Brooke Reichart, Grace Duffy and Emma Teal.

St. Thomas led the fourth set 24-20 when junior middle Julia Spacek was knocked out with an ankle injury. The Toms won 25-23 to force a fifth set but never got into sync thereafter without Spacek, who hit .300 and had 13 kills and four blocks through four sets.

It was the second costly injury for St. Thomas, which lost All-MIAC libero Ellie Meyer to a season-ending break in late October.

UST's Lloyd had seven kills and surpassed 900 on her career. She added seven blocks. Meghan Mazzola had 24 digs. Madie Kroheler had three aces and 11 digs. Katharine Mallak chipped in 28 assists and nine digs. Audrey Erickson had 12 kills and hit .407. Ellie Etzell had 10 kills and three blocks.