Tina Elstner and Carly Lemke had 10 kills apiece to lead UW-Oshkosh to a 3-0 victory over UW-Stevens Point during the opening round of the WIAC Women's Volleyball Championship on Tuesday (Oct. 31) in Stevens Point.
UW-Oshkosh (20-14), seeded fifth in the six-team league tournament, defeated fourth-seeded UW-Stevens Point (24-10) in set scores of 26-24, 27-25, 26-24. The Titans earned their first sweep over the Pointers since Sept. 30, 2009.
The Titans overcame deficits of 23-22 in both of the first two sets.
UW-Oshkosh advances to play Thursday (Nov. 2) at top-seeded UW-La Crosse (19-6). The other WIAC Championship semifinal will feature third-seeded UW-Whitewater (21-7) at second-seeded UW-Eau Claire (17-10). UW-Whitewater advanced to the semifinals with a 3-0 win over sixth-seeded UW-Stout (9-20) on Tuesday.
The semifinal winners will meet in the league tournament final on Saturday (Nov. 4).
Elstner added 13 digs during Tuesday's victory for her 10th double-double of the season while Lemke hit a match-high .409 on 22 attempts.
UW-Oshkosh's Samantha Jaeke contributed seven kills, a team-best 22 assists, nine digs and three blocks. Renee Rush chipped in seven kills for the Titans, who also received a match-high 22 digs from Rachel Gardner, and five kills and a match-leading five blocks from Shelby Coron.
The Titans held advantages of 10-5 in blocks and 5-2 in service aces while outhitting the Pointers, .173 to .141. UW-Stevens Point owned a 44-42 edge in kills. Both teams registered 41 assists and 60 digs. UW-Oshkosh now ranks second in the NCAA Division III with 265.5 blocks on the year.
UW-Stevens Point's April Gehl led all players with 17 kills to go along with 14 digs.
Kelly Magliano added nine kills and a team-high four blocks for the Pointers. Kendra Kundinger and Abby Majercik led UW-Stevens Point with 18 digs and 38 assists, respectively.
UW-Stevens Point jumped out to an 8-4 lead in the first set before UW-Oshkosh rallied to claim an 11-10 advantage following back-to-back service aces by Katie Hodges. The Titans extended their lead to 19-15 on a combination block from Lemke and Brianna Witter, but three consecutive UW-Oshkosh errors allowed UW-Stevens Point a 21-20 edge. Trailing 23-21, Coron recorded a kill, and Coron and Jaeke combined for a block to pull the Titans even at 23. The teams exchanged kills to create another tie at 24 before a kill from Coron gave the Titans their second set-point, and a Pointer attack error concluded the frame.
The second set was tied 12 times as UW-Stevens Point erased a pair of four-point deficits. The Pointers held a 13-12 lead, but the Titans tallied eight of the next 11 points for a 20-16 advantage. UW-Stevens Point responded with a 6-1 scoring run to regain a 22-21 lead and reached set-point at 24-23 following a kill by Gehl. The Pointers had another chance to even the match by taking a 25-24 lead, but UW-Oshkosh answered with the final three points of the frame on consecutive kills from Elstner and Lemke, and a UW-Stevens Point attack error.
The Pointers owned a 17-14 lead in the third set following a service ace that capped a three-point run. However, the Titans scored seven straight points to take a 21-17 advantage. The Titans' seven-point surge featured a service ace from Rebecca Doughty and kills from Jaeke and Rush. Two straight UW-Oshkosh errors allowed the Pointers to knot the score at 23, and the teams exchanged two more errors to create a tie at 24. Another UW-Stevens Point error provided the Titans with match-point at 25-24, and Rush registered a kill on the ensuing point to secure the UW-Oshkosh triumph.
UW-Oshkosh, which advances to the WIAC Championship semifinals for the fourth straight season, improved its league postseason record to 36-33 in 30 appearances. The Titans also extended their season-best winning streak to seven matches.