Two-time defending league champion UW-Oshkosh hosts nationally ranked UW-Whitewater in a WIAC women's volleyball contest on Wednesday (Sept. 25) in Kolf Sports Center.
UW-Oshkosh (8-9, 0-1 WIAC), which will be playing its eighth nationally ranked team this season, is seeking to stay in the running for its third consecutive league championship. The Titans shared last year's WIAC title with UW-La Crosse and UW-Whitewater after sharing the 2015 crown with UW-La Crosse.
UW-Whitewater (10-3. 1-0 WIAC), ranked seventh in the NCAA Division III by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), has won three of its previous five meetings with UW-Oshkosh. However, the Warhawks have not defeated the Titans in Oshkosh since a 3-2 decision 2011.
The Titans enter Wednesday's match on a five-match losing streak. UW-Oshkosh opened the conference season with a home loss to UW-La Crosse on Sept. 20 and since suffered four straight defeats, including two to nationally ranked teams, in Illinois on Sept. 22-23. Six of UW-Oshkosh's first seven losses this season were to teams ranked in the AVCA's top 19.
UW-Oshkosh is led by Tina Elstner, Samantha Jaeke, Rachel Gardner and Shelby Coron. Elstner paces the squad with 178 kills and 30 service aces while Jaeke has 137 kills and a team-leading 209 assists. Gardner and Coron have amassed team-high totals of 300 digs and 44 blocks, respectively.
UW-Whitewater leads the WIAC in hitting percentage (.241), opponent hitting percentage (.113) and kills per set (13.3). The Titans are hitting .189 this season while averaging 10.8 kills per set.
The Warhawks have won three straight matches, including a 3-2 triumph over 17th-ranked UW-Stevens Point in their WIAC opener on Sept. 20.
Leading UW-Whitewater are Sydney Racky, Courtney Wagner, Elizabeth Niestrom and Brittany Robinson. Racky has a team-high 139 kills, and Wagner has added 131 kills and a team-best 44 blocks. Niestrom paces the team with 501 assists while Robinson has collected 260 digs.
Last season, UW-Whitewater downed UW-Oshkosh, 3-0, in Whitewater. The Titans have defeated the Warhawks during the past two meetings in Kolf Sports Center, outlasting UW-Whitewater, 3-2, in 2015 and winning, 3-1, in 2013.
UW-Oshkosh and UW-Whitewater have combined to clinch at least a share of 24 of the past 29 WIAC regular season titles. The Warhawks own a league-high 16 overall championships while the Titans are next with 13.
UW-Whitewater, a two-time national champion, won WIAC titles in 1980, 1988, 1989, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2011, 2014 and 2016. The Warhawks earned Division III championships in 2002 and 2005.
UW-Oshkosh claimed its WIAC titles in 1982, 1990, 1991, 1994, 1995, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2015 and 2016.