Piepenbrok, Pointers go deep in NCAA tournament
Merrill’s Bri Piepenbrok helped make UW Stevens Point women’s volleyball history during her freshman season with the Pointers. UWSP ended its deepest ever NCAA tournament run Friday with a semifinal loss to California Lutheran University.
The Pointers entered the tournament ranked #19 in Division III and knocked off #6 St. Benedict, #4 St. Thomas and #2 Hope College to reach the semifinals. UWSP was on a 24-match winning streak prior to the semifinal loss. The 3-1 win over defending national champs St. Thomas clinched a regional title for the Pointers and advanced them to the Elite 8. Piepenbrok recorded 13 digs against St. Thomas.
UWSP defeated Hope College with a 3-0 sweep to reach the semi-finals. Piepenbrok contributed 12 digs.
Against California Lutheran, the Pointers battled back from an early deficit in the first set before losing 26-24. They were within 20-18 late in the second set before the Regals went on a run. Piepenbrok had 15 digs in the match.
California Lutheran finished runner-up in Division III with a five-set loss to Calvin College Saturday.
At Merrill High School, Piepenbrok led the Jays with 718 total digs her senior year and was named to the second team all-conference and first team all-region. The Bluejays were conference champions her junior and senior years.
During her freshman year at UWSP, Piepenbrok – a defensive specialist/liberio – finished the 2013 season with 328 digs and 25 service aces.
Piepenbrok is an athletic training major at UWSP. She is the daughter of Joleta Wesbrock and Fritz Piepenbrok.