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Titans End Washington Trip With Sweep of Blue Jays, Big Blue

Katie Hodges collected five service aces against Elizabethtown College.
Katie Hodges collected five service aces against Elizabethtown College.

The UW-Oshkosh volleyball team picked up a pair of victories, including a four-set upset triumph over nationally ranked Millikin University (Ill.), to conclude its trip to Washington on Saturday (Sept. 1) in Tacoma.

UW-Oshkosh (3-1) began the day by coming back to defeat Elizabethtown College (Pa.) in five sets by set scores of 251-6, 22-25, 17-25, 25-20, 15-9. The Titans then capped their trek to The Evergreen State with a 22-25, 25-15, 25-22, 27-25 decision over the Millikin University. The Big Blue are ranked 16th in the NCAA Division III by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.

The Titans slipped past Elizabethtown College (0-3) by scoring six of the last seven points of the fifth set. UW-Oshkosh owned a 23-19 advantage in the fourth set against Millikin University (2-2) before rallying from a 25-24 deficit during the decisive frame.

Carly Lemke paced led the Titans in kills during both matches Saturday, tallied 13 against Elizabethtown College and 10 against Millikin University. Rachel Gardner, who has topped UW-Oshkosh in digs all four matches this year, recorded 28 against Elizabethtown College and 23 against Millikin University.

UW-Oshkosh had five players reach double-digits in kills on the day, including Kendall Enyart with 16, Taylor Allen and Renee Rush with 15 apiece, and Shelby Coron with 13.

Emma Kiekhofer accumulated 64 assists while directing the UW-Oshkosh offense. Becky Brezen had eight service aces and Katie Hodges added five for the Titans.

In the upset over the Big Blue, UW-Oshkosh bounced back from 10 attack errors in the opening set to commit just nine more the rest of the way.

The Titans outhit the Big Blue, .150 to .108, and held edges of 12-11 in service aces and 10-6 in blocks. Millikin University had advantages of 45-40 in kills, 43-37 in assists and 70-66 in digs.

Enyart and Lemke piled up a team-leading 11 points apiece for UW-Oshkosh while Allen added 10.5. Allen contributed nine kills and three blocks, Enyart chipped in eight kills and four blocks, and Lemke had a pair of blocks.

Brezen had six service aces for the Titans, including one on the final point of the match.

Kiekhofer amassed 32 assists, eight digs and a pair of blocks.

Tied at 20 in the first set, the Big Blue took the lead for good at 22-20 following a kill and a service ace. Millikin University later secured the frame on two straight Titan attack errors.

UW-Oshkosh seized control of the second set with a nine-point run that resulted in a 19-12 lead. The surge included three straight service aces by Brezen and blocks from Allen and Enyart.

In the third set, the Titans turned a 10-9 deficit into a 16-12 advantage on the strength of a pair of kills from Lemke, one termination by Allen and four Big Blue errors. Millikin University erased three set-points before a service error gave UW-Oshkosh the frame.

UW-Oshkosh jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the fourth set, but the Big Blue rallied to take a 9-8 advantage. A kill from Kiekhofer and three consecutive Millikin University attack errors increased the UW-Oshkosh lead to 23-19. The Big Blue rattled off five consecutive points to earn set-point at 24-23, but a kill from Coron knotted the score at 24. The teams exchanged service errors until Enyart notched a kill, and Brezen ended the match with an ace.

In the win over Elizabethtown College, Lemke accounted for 15.5 points for the Titans, and Rush had 11.5 points on 11 kills and one block. Enyart and Shelby Coron added eight kills apiece.

Kiekhofer dished out 34 assists while piloting the Titan offense. Gardner led all players with 28 digs.

The Titans owned advantages in kills (54-44), hitting percentage (.149 to .113), assists (50-41), service aces (10-6) and digs (73-69).

UW-Oshkosh cruised to a first-set win after scoring 13 of 17 points for a 15-9 advantage. The elongated scoring run was highlighted by a pair of Lemke kills and one termination each from Allen, Coron and Enyart.

Elizabethtown College never trailed in the second set despite notching just nine kills to UW-Oshkosh's 12. The Titans knotted the score at 20 on a block by Allen, but a Blue Jays service ace extended their lead to 23-20. UW-Oshkosh pulled within 23-22 after a Brezen service ace, but a Blue Jay kill and a block tied the match at one set apiece.

The Blue Jays pulled away in the third set, leading 14-7 and 21-11 before two kills from Mackenzie Garner concluded the frame.

UW-Oshkosh scored the first five points of Set 4, including three on kills and one on an ace by Brezen. The Titans upped their lead to 21-12 on back-to-back service aces from Hodges, and a block by Allen wrapped up the set 12 points later.

The Titans owned an 8-4 lead at the Set 5 changeover. Holding a 9-8 edge, UW-Oshkosh scored five straight points, including two on kills by Allen and Coron. The Blue Jays staved off one match-point, but a kill from Coron wrapped up the Titan victory.

Garner had a match-high 14 kills for the Blue Jays, who received a double-double of 36 assists and 10 digs from Rileigh Hudock.

Coron, Gardner and Lemke were named to the 12-member All-Puget Sound Premiere Team. Lemke had a team-leading 38 kills and 16 blocks during the four matches over the weekend. Coron was second on the squad with 27 kills and 10 blocks while Gardner recorded 81 digs to increase her three-year career total to 1,033.

Marissa McElroy had a match-high 13 kills for Millikin University while Gabrielle Coulthard and Emily Seegmiller added 11 apiece.

Rose Syversen and Alyssa Vignos led all players with 38 assists and 31 digs, respectively, for the Big Blue.

UW-Oshkosh heads to Wheaton, Ill., on Tuesday (Sept. 4) to face host Wheaton and Edgewood colleges.