UW-Oshkosh opens the 30th edition of the WIAC Women's Volleyball Championship with a first-round contest at UW-Stevens Point on Tuesday (Oct. 31). The first serve is set for 7 p.m. in Berg Gymnasium.
UW-Oshkosh (19-14), seeded fifth in the six-team conference tournament, is seeking to avenge a 3-1 loss at fourth-seeded UW-Stevens Point (24-9) on Oct. 11.
The other WIAC Championship first-round contest on Tuesday features third-seeded UW-Whitewater (20-7) hosting six-seeded UW-Stout (9-19). UW-Whitewater is the two-time defending league tournament champion.
WIAC regular season champion UW-La Crosse (19-6) and league runner-up UW-Eau Claire (17-10) earned first-round byes and will host semifinal matches on Thursday (Nov. 2).
The highest remaining seed will host the final of the WIAC Championship on Saturday (Nov. 4). The winner of the WIAC's postseason tournament clinches the league's automatic berth to the 64-team NCAA Division III Championship that commences Nov. 9.
UW-La Crosse won all seven of its WIAC matches during the regular season to capture the 12th league championship in program history. UW-Eau Claire finished second to the Eagles with a 6-1 conference record while UW-Whitewater placed third at 5-2, UW-Stevens Point fourth at 4-3, UW-Oshkosh fifth at 3-4, UW-Stout sixth at 2-5, UW-Platteville seventh at 1-6 and UW-River Falls eighth at 0-7.
UW-Oshkosh enters Tuesday's contest with a WIAC-leading and season-long six-match winning streak. The Titans are one of two programs to qualify for each WIAC Championship since the event debuted in 1988. UW-Oshkosh, which owns a 35-33 record during the league postseason, claimed conference tournament titles in 1990, 1991, 1994 and 2008.
UW-Stevens Point, which has a 5-2 home record this season, has won three of its last five meetings with the Titans, including a 3-2 decision during the semifinal round of the 2015 WIAC Championship. The Pointers, who sport an 18-28 record in 26 WIAC Championship appearances, won back-to-back league tournament titles in 2013 and 2014.
The Titans lead the WIAC with 2.11 blocks per set while the Pointers have a league-leading 18.39 digs per set.
Tina Elstner paces UW-Oshkosh with 371 kills and leads the conference with 47 service aces. She has also produced 267 digs and 55 blocks. Elstner has recorded nine double-doubles this season and lists fourth in the conference with 3.09 kills per set.
UW-Oshkosh's Samantha Jaeke has a team-best 507 assists while Rachel Gardner and Shelby Coron have a team-leading 532 digs and 99 blocks, respectively. The Titans' Carly Lemke ranks second in the conference with a .295 hitting percentage while listing third on the squad with 205 kills and second with 96 blocks.
Jaeke has produced four triple-doubles and 10 double-doubles this year. She ranks second on the team with 259 kills and third with 80 blocks.
Elstner and Jaeke were both All-WIAC First Team performers in 2016.
UW-Stevens Point's April Gehl leads the WIAC with 478 kills and 3.98 kills per set while Kendra Kundinger has a league-leading 672 digs.
Morgan Wirkus has added 306 kills and 44 service aces for the Pointers, who have also received a team-leading 562 assists from Abby Majercik and 102 blocks from Kelly Magliano.
UW-La Crosse has limited opponents to a league-best .132 hitting percentage while UW-Eau Claire leads the WIAC in kills (13.01) and assists (12.18) per set. UW-Whitewater boasts a conference-high .217 hitting percentage, and UW-Stout lists fourth in the WIAC with 16.15 digs per set.
UW-Oshkosh is aiming to become the second fifth-seeded team to win the WIAC's postseason tournament. UW-Platteville accomplished the feat in 2005.
UW-Whitewater has won 16 of the 29 WIAC Championship titles. UW-Eau Claire, UW-La Crosse and UW-Stout are each seeking their second league tournament crowns. UW-Eau Claire won its lone championship in 2012 while UW-La Crosse claimed the tournament title in 2003 and UW-Stout in 2004.