Nov. 12, 2009

Courtesy of St. Thomas (Minn.)

In a battle of nationally-ranked teams, No. 14-ranked St. Thomas roared to a 3-0 win over No. 7-rated UW-Whitewater in Thursday's first-round NCAA Division III volleyball playoff match in Oshkosh, Wis. St. Thomas (25-7) won 25-19, 25-23, 25-17.

Coach Thanh Pham's Tommies advance to Friday's semifinal round and will play the Luther-St. Ben's winner. Whitewater, in its 22nd NCAA playoff appearance, was eliminated in the first round for the first time since 2004.

The sixth-seed Tommies broke to a 6-0 lead in the first set and only trailed the third-seed Warhawks once all match, at 4-3 in the third set.

The Tommies posted a rare victory over a 30-win team and avenged losses to the Warhawks in the 2006 and 2007 NCAA regional playoffs. They also secured their fifth consecutive 25-win season.

Whitewater had won 15 of its last 16 matches.