Tina Elstner had 13 kills in the second contest of the day as the nationally ranked UW-Oshkosh women's volleyball team split a pair of matches at the Trinity University National Invitational on Saturday (Sept. 2) in San Antonio, Texas.
UW-Oshkosh (1-3), ranked 23rd in the NCAA Division III by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, concluded its season-opening trip by losing a 3-1 decision to 14th-ranked Trinity University before downing Whitman College (Wash.), 3-0.
Trinity University (2-1) defeated the Titans by scores of 25-20, 17-25, 25-15, 25-20. UW-Oshkosh then swept Whitman College (0-4), 26-24, 25-16, 25-17 to provide interim head coach Jon Ellmann his first win.
In the victory over Whitman College, UW-Oshkosh stormed back from large deficits in the opening set and cruised to the three-set win. The Titans held significant advantages in hitting percentage (.202 to -.021), kills (41-18), assists (38-18), digs (41-25) and blocks (10-6).
Whitman College jumped out to an 11-3 lead in the first set, but the Titans closed to within 21-19 on an error by the Blues. Back-to-back kills gave Whitman College set-point at 24-20 before the Titans rattled off six consecutive points to steal Set 1.
The comeback began with a Whitman College attack error, continued with kills from Elstner, Carly Lemke and Alyssa Wolslegel, and concluded with a service ace by Morgan Windau and a combination block by Elstner and Lemke.
UW-Oshkosh carried over the momentum by scoring the first eight points of the second set. The Blues cut their deficit to 18-14, but a double-block by Shelby Coron and Brianna Witter preceded a pair of Whitman College ball-handling errors that upped UW-Oshkosh's advantage to 21-14.
The Titans gained their first lead of the third set at 14-13 as part of a string of seven straight points. Trailing 13-8, Elstner sparked the run with a kill before Samantha Jaeke notched consecutive kills to pull UW-Oshkosh within 13-11. An error by the Blues reduced their lead to one point, and a pair of combination blocks by Lemke and Wolslegel gave the Titans the lead for good at 14-13. Wolslegel then capped the 7-0 run with a kill.
UW-Oshkosh closed out the contest with a five-point run, including two straight kills from Witter that provided match-point at 24-17. A Whitman College attack error – its 20th of the contest – then ended the match.
The Blues were held to a .068 hitting percentage in the first set, -.143 in the second frame and -.043 in the third. Whitman College recorded just seven kills over the final two sets while the Titans tallied 28.
Jaeke had 11 kills while Wolslegel added seven kills on 11 attempts.
UW-Oshkosh's Windau led all players with 25 assists while Rachel Gardner had a match-high 17 digs and Lemke six blocks.
Megan Henry and Sierra Myers paced Whitman College with five kills apiece. Elyse Benavides and Myers were the only Blues with positive hitting percentages as Benavides hit .500 on two attempts and Myers .364 on 11 swings.
Against Trinity University, the host Tigers overcame 41 errors by hitting .355 in the first set, .391 in the third and .406 in the fourth. UW-Oshkosh outhit Trinity University, .478 to -.100 in the second frame.
The Tigers' Kirby Smith had a double-double with 13 kills and 10 digs while Maggi Linker added 11 kills and Madeline McKay 10. Trinity University's Amelia Roden recorded a match-best 24 assists and libero Sarah Mullens 15 digs.
UW-Oshkosh scored the first six points of the match before Trinity University claimed a 12-11 edge on a kill from McKay. UW-Oshkosh answered with four consecutive points to retake a 15-12 advantage, but Trinity University received a kill from Smith for a 19-18 lead that the Tigers wouldn't relinquish.
Trailing 9-8 in the second set, UW-Oshkosh strung together seven straight points to take control. The decisive spurt featured three straight blocks by Elstner, Renee Rush and Witter and culminated on consecutive kills from Elstner and Rush for a 15-9 lead. A service ace by Rebecca Doughty increased UW-Oshkosh's advantage to 23-16, and Trinity University's ninth attack error of the set ended the frame three points later.
The Titans owned an 8-5 lead in the third set, but a six-point run by the Tigers that included three UW-Oshkosh errors gave Trinity University an 11-8 edge. Another six-point surge increased the Tigers' cushion to 17-10, and they led by at least six points for the remainder of the set.
Set 4 was tied for the 12th and final time at 15 following a kill by UW-Oshkosh's Coron. Smith answered with a kill for Trinity University on the next point, and the Tigers closed out the victory by scoring five of the last six points, including three on UW-Oshkosh errors.
UW-Oshkosh was led by Jaeke's 12 kills, Windau's 16 assists, Elstner's 11 digs, and four blocks apiece from Rush and Witter.
Gardner and Jaeke were named to the 10-member all-tournament team. Gardner registered 51 digs in the four matches while Jaeke led the Titans with 39 kills while adding 13 digs and eight blocks.
Joining the UW-Oshkosh duo on the all-tournament team were Anna Kamp and Jenna Lodewyk from Calvin College (Mich.), Molly Holloway and Amanda Roberts from California Lutheran University, McKay and Mullens from Trinity University, and Henry and Lara Temel from Whitman College. Kamp was named the tournament's most valuable player.
Each of the Titans' three losses at the Trinity University National Invitational were to higher-ranked teams. On Friday (Sept. 1), UW-Oshkosh suffered a 3-1 setback to top-ranked Calvin College and a 3-0 loss to sixth-ranked California Lutheran University.
UW-Oshkosh conducts its home opener on Wednesday (Sept. 6) against Edgewood and Wheaton (Ill.) colleges.
Photo courtesy of Justin Parker, Trinity University Sports Information