Volleyball ends season in second round


Dylan Piccolo, Staff Writer

The No. 18 women’s volleyball team rolled into Grand Rapids, Michigan for their 26th NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 27 seasons, but fell short to regional host and No. 1 Calvin College (Mich.) in the second round, 3-1.

The loss ended the Warhawks’ season, finishing with a 25-8 overall record and taking second in both the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular season and tournament.

It was smooth sailing in the first round when the Warhawks emerged victorious against No. 20 Ohio Northern University 3-0 in the matchup between the fourth and fifth seeds in the regional.

Early in the game, it was a matchup the Warhawks could take advantage of after they went on an 11-3 run to close out the first set 25-17. Ohio Northern made it competitive in the second and third sets but fell in both to send the Warhawks onto the second round against Calvin College.

The attack was spread around with senior middle hitter Kelley Berk and junior middle hitter Ashton Doll combining for 22 kills up the middle, while freshman outside hitter Erin McNeil and  junior right side Rachel Butterfield combined for 20 kills on the outside.

Senior libero Brittany Robinson, who finished with a team-high 33 digs, mentioned how Whitewater’s attack from the middle allowed the team to win their first-round matchup.

“Against Ohio Northern, we were able to utilize our fast offense more, and were able to get a lot of kill out of the middle and throw their defense off,” said Robinson.

Calvin jumped out quick in all four sets during the second round match forcing UW-W to play from behind. The unfamiliar territory for the ladies couldn’t allow them to overcome Calvin’s attack.

“Our offense was definitely slowed down a lot by Calvin,” said Amanda Spera. “Using a quicker offense could have changed the outcome of the game.”

Berk led UW-W in kills in the final game of her career with 14 kills, while Robinson capped off her career with 40 digs adding onto her career total as UW-Whitewater’s all-time leader in digs. Robinson’s record stands at 2,666. 

The senior class of Berk, Robinson, Spera and Niestrom achieved one WIAC regular season championship, two conference tournament victories, and three appearances in the NCAA Tournament throughout their careers at UW-Whitewater.

Robinson noted her gratefulness to have competed on an established volleyball program.

“I will always remember the goofiness of our team, our team travel trips, and all of the incredible people I’ve been able to meet and become friends with,” said Robinson.