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Titans Lose To Nationally Ranked Foes In Illinois

Rachel Gardner registered match-high dig totals in both matches, including a career-best 33 against Millikin University.
Rachel Gardner registered match-high dig totals in both matches, including a career-best 33 against Millikin University.

UW-Oshkosh suffered a pair of losses to nationally ranked women's volleyball teams to begin play at the Barker Chevrolet Classic II on Friday (Sept. 22) in Bloomington, Ill.

Millikin University (Ill.), ranked eighth in the NCAA Division III by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), defeated UW-Oshkosh, 3-1, before 19th-ranked and tournament host Illinois Wesleyan University ousted the Titans, 3-0.

Millikin University (10-1) earned a 21-25, 25-18, 25-18, 32-30 victory over UW-Oshkosh (8-7) while Illinois Wesleyan University (9-4) bested the Titans in set scores of 25-20, 25-12, 25-15. Six of UW-Oshkosh's seven losses this season have been to nationally ranked programs.

UW-Oshkosh's Rachel Gardner registered match-high dig totals in both matches, compiling a career-best 33 against Millikin University and 14 against Illinois Wesleyan University.

Samantha Jaeke, who led the Titans with 18 kills during the two matches, recorded her second triple-double of the year as she amassed 10 kills, 18 assists and 13 digs against Millikin University. Jaeke narrowly missed another triple-double against Illinois Wesleyan University, registering eight kills, nine assists and nine digs.

Titans Shelby Coron and Tina Elstner chipped in 12 total kills apiece while Carly Lemke added 11. UW-Oshkosh's Rebecca Doughty had 26 assists on the day, including 14 against Millikin University.

Millikin University defeated UW-Oshkosh for the first time since 2012 by hitting .320 or better during each of the final three sets against the Titans.

The Big Blue's Erin Syversen led all players with 16 kills while Alora Goodey had 14 and Marissa McElroy nine. Syversen also contributed 13 digs and three service aces.

Millikin University's Emily Mihalkanin and Rose Syversen collected 28 and 22 assists, respectively, and Meredith Artime had a team-leading 30 digs.

The Big Blue owned advantages in kills (56-48), hitting percentage (.263 to .201), assists (56-35), service aces (9-3) and blocks (7-2) while UW-Oshkosh had an 85-79 edge in digs. Millikin University hit .343 in Set 2, .323 in Set 3 and .320 with 21 kills in Set 4.

Elstner recorded 10 kills, 13 digs and two service aces for her fourth double-double of the season.

UW-Oshkosh also received eight kills on 18 errorless attempts from Coron, seven kills from Alyssa Wolslegel, six kills from Carly Lemke and a season-high 14 digs from Katie Hodges.

Against Illinois Wesleyan University, the homestanding Titans outhit UW-Oshkosh, .368 to .064. Illinois Wesleyan University pounded down 16 kills in both of the first two sets and hit .577 during the second frame.

Illinois Wesleyan University never trailed en route to snapping a 10-match losing streak to UW-Oshkosh.

Illinois Wesleyan University's Tyler Brown, an AVCA All-America first team performer a year ago, had a match-high 10 kills on .444 hitting with 14 digs for her 10th double-double of the season.

Rachel Burkman and Maddie Williams added nine kills apiece for Illinois Wesleyan University while Kira Jackson had 24 assists and three service aces. Williams hit .727 on 11 attempts and led all players with four blocks.

Illinois Wesleyan University raced out to a 7-2 lead in the first set, but UW-Oshkosh rallied to knot the score at 11 on a kill from Jaeke. Tied again at 15, Illinois Wesleyan University scored six consecutive points for a 21-15 advantage. UW-Oshkosh trimmed its deficit to 23-20, but Illinois Wesleyan University tallied the next two points on a UW-Oshkosh attack error and a kill on set-point.

In Set 2, Illinois Wesleyan University built a 16-9 lead on the strength of 11 kills and held an advantage of at least six points for the remainder of the frame.

Leading 14-11 in the third set, Illinois Wesleyan University secured the victory by closing out the match with an 11-4 scoring run.

UW-Oshkosh concludes play at the Barker Chevrolet Classic II on Saturday (Sept. 23), when it plays University of Chicago (Ill.) and Tufts University (Mass.).