UW-Whitewater stormed back to claim the last three sets as the nationally ranked Warhawks defeated the UW-Oshkosh women's volleyball team, 3-1, on Wednesday (Sept. 27) in Kolf Sports Center.
UW-Whitewater (11-3, 2-0 WIAC), ranked seventh in the NCAA Division III by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, won the contest in set scores of 17-25, 25-19, 25-20, 25-19.
Two-time defending WIAC champion UW-Oshkosh (8-10, 0-2 WIAC) never trailed during the first set, but UW-Whitewater rebounded to claim its first victory in Oshkosh since a 3-2 decision in 2011. Seven of the Titans' losses this season have been to teams ranked in the national top 19.
UW-Whitewater owned slim advantages in kills (41-37), hitting percentage (.103 to .072), assists (38-37) and service aces (6-3) as the teams combined to commit 53 attack errors, including 27 by UW-Oshkosh. UW-Whitewater entered the match leading the WIAC with a .241 hitting percentage.
The Titans held decisive advantages in digs (67-47) and blocks (10-6), but the Warhawks closed out Set 2 with a 10-3 scoring run and Set 4 with an 8-1 surge.
Sydney Racky paced the Warhawks with 12 kills to go along with nine digs. UW-Whitewater's Courtney Wagner added eight kills while Rachel Butterfield and Amanda Spera chipped in with seven kills apiece.
Elizabeth Niestrom recorded 33 assists while directing the UW-Whitewater offense, and Brittany Robinson had a team-leading 20 digs and two service aces.
UW-Oshkosh's Tina Elstner led all players with 15 kills.
Samantha Jaeke compiled six kills, 28 assists, 10 digs and five blocks for the Titans, who also received six kills and a match-best seven blocks from Carly Lemke. Jaeke, who has a pair of triple-doubles this season, has now recorded double-doubles in each of UW-Oshkosh's past three matches.
Elstner had six of UW-Oshkosh's 10 kills in the first set as the Titans scored the first five points of the match. UW-Whitewater closed to within 11-9, but the Titans answered with the next four points for a 15-9 advantage and led by at least four points for the remainder of the frame. Leading 21-17, the Titans tallied the final four points on a kill from Jaeke, a service aces from Katie Hodges and combination blocks from Jaeke and Lemke, and Elstner and Jaeke.
Set 2 was tied for the eighth and final time at 16 following a UW-Oshkosh attack error. A pair of UW-Oshkosh ball-handling errors and a service ace by the Warhawks provided UW-Whitewater a 19-16 lead. The Titans cut their deficit to 20-19 on a UW-Whitewater ball-handling error before the Warhawks claimed the final five points on three UW-Oshkosh errors, a service ace and a kill.
UW-Whitewater took the lead for good in the third set at 4-3. The Warhawks extended their advantage to 19-13 and led by at least four points for the rest of the set.
The Warhawks jumped out to a 5-0 lead in Set 4. The Titans forged a tie at 15 on a service ace from Micech and again at 17 on a double-block by Elstner and Lemke before taking an 18-17 lead on a UW-Whitewater attack error. However, the Warhawks responded with eight of the last nine points, including five on kills.
UW-Oshkosh continues conference play at UW-Eau Claire on Saturday (Sept. 30).