No. 17-ranked St. Thomas had a six-match win streak halted with Saturday night's 3-2 loss to St. Ben's in the MIAC Volleyball Playoff championship at Schoenecker Arena. The Blazers won 18-25, 28-26, 23-25, 27-25, 15-10 and claimed their first conferenmce playoff title since 2009.
The Toms (25-6) led 25-24 in the fourth set, needing one point to take the match, but were unable to close it out. They also led 8-6 in the fifth set.
The Blazers (19-8) have won seven in a row and are 4-0 in five-set matches this season. They claimed the conference's automatic berth into the NCAA playoffs.
St. Thomas is expected to receive an at-large berth when the Division III national pairings are announced Monday. St. Thomas has advanced into the NCAA postseason playoffs 11 of the last 12 seasons.
Whitney Lloyd had 18 kills and four blocks; Audrey Erickson had 18 kills and 18 digs; Katharine Mallak had 38 assists and nine digs; Madie Kroehler had 31 digs and three aces; Julia Spacek had 12 kills and four blocks; Hannah Schwartx had 17 digs and 19 assists; Ellie Etzell had 10 kills and five blocks; and Brooke Reichart chipped in 10 kills.