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The UW-Eau Claire volleyball team earned a bid into the NCAA championship tournament on Monday. The team will travel to St. Thomas (Minn.) to compete in an eight-team regional tournament.

Other Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference teams that earned at-large bids into the tournament including UW-Whitewater, a team the Blugolds defeated in the WIAC championship tournament, and UW-La Crosse, a team the Blugolds beat earlier this season.

Eau Claire will enter the tournament with a 23-11 record overall. The Blugolds will open play against Gustavus Adolphus (Minn.), who, like Eau Claire, lost in their conference tournament’s championship round. Gustavus Adolphus will enter the tournament with a 26-4 overall record.

In the all-time series between the two teams, Eau Claire has won six of the 10 meetings, but the Blugolds lost a meeting between the two last season.

Senior Abby Freiborg, who was named the WIAC player of the year as well as the Judy Kruckman Scholar-Athlete, was named as an All-WIAC First Team selection for the second consecutive year on Tuesday.

Additionally, Freiborg was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District 5 College Division Third Team this year.

Senior Emily Haese was also named to the All-WIAC First Team, one year after earning an honorable mention to the All-WIAC Team. Haese’s 1,192 assists ranks third in the WIAC. Senior Katie Fox, who leads the team with 110 blocks, earned an honorable mention to the All-WIAC team.

Junior Lindsey Smith was named to the All-Defensive team. Smith leads the Blugolds this season with 502 digs, and is second on the team with 52 service aces. Senior Kristen Moore, who was injured in the second match of the season, was named to the All-Sportsmanship team.

Coach Kim Wudi, in her second year with Eau Claire, shared Coach of the Year honors with UW-Oshkosh’s Brian Schaefer. Wudi guided the Blugolds to the regular season conference title and the team’s fourth consecutive NCAA appearance.

-Spectator Staff