Carly Lemke had a match-high 12 kills on .550 hitting during the first match of the day as the UW-Oshkosh women's volleyball team split two contests to conclude play at its home opening Pizza Hut Classic on Saturday (Sept. 8) in Kolf Sports Center.
UW-Oshkosh (5-5) secured a straight-set victory over Martin Luther College (Minn.) in set scores of 25-16, 25-17, 25-22 before falling, 3-1, to unbeaten University of Chicago (Ill.) in scores of 13-25, 21-25, 27-25, 15-25. University of Chicago (8-0) has appeared in seven of the past eight NCAA Division III Championships.
Lemke led all players with 13.5 points in the sweep over Martin Luther College. She committed just one attack error in 20 attempts on the way to her best hitting performance of the season.
Renee Rush had double-digit kill totals in both matches for the Titans on Saturday, collecting 10 terminations against Martin Luther College and a match-best 14 against University of Chicago.
Rachel Gardner once again paced the Titans in digs during both contests Saturday, collecting nine in the opener and 18 against the Maroons. She has been the team leader in digs all 10 matches this season and the past 12 overall dating back to last year.
In the sweep of Martin Luther College, UW-Oshkosh owned considerable advantages in kills (46-27), hitting percentage (.246 to .147) and assists (40-22). The Titans established new season highs in hitting percentage and with their 15.3 kills per set.
Kendall Enyart recorded a season-high nine kills for the Titans, who also received seven kills from Shelby Coron and a pair of service aces from Gardner. Rebecca Doughty led UW-Oshkosh with 14 assists while Emma Kiekhofer and McKenna Micech added 11 and 10 assists, respectively.
UW-Oshkosh jumped out to an 11-4 lead in the first set following a string of nine consecutive points, which included two kills apiece from Lemke and Rush, and a service ace by Katie Hodges. A kill and a service ace from Lemke provided the Titans a 24-16 advantage before a Knights' attack error capped the frame.
The Titans gained control of the second set with a 9-2 run that extended their cushion to 22-14. The decisive run was highlighted by kills from Lemke, Rush and Taylor Allen. An Enyart kill provided set-point at 24-16, and Ellie Wanous' first career termination gave the Titans a 2-0 lead in the match two points later.
The third set was tied for the sixth and final time 8 before UW-Oshkosh reclaimed the lead for good at 9-8 on a kill by Allen. The Titans scored seven points in a row, including five on kills and one on a service ace, to increase their lead to 18-10. Martin Luther College responded with seven straight points of its own to pull within 18-17, but back-to-back kills from Lemke and Rush gave UW-Oshkosh a three-point advantage. Enyart later concluded the contest with a kill on the Titans' second match-point.
Kati Aguilar and Ruth Buchholz had seven kills apiece for Martin Luther College (0-9), which has lost each of its five all-time meetings with the Titans.
In the setback to University of Chicago, the Maroons produced 46 kills and hit .156 while UW-Oshkosh had 40 terminations with a .082 hitting percentage.
Audrey Scrafford had a team-high 11 kills for the Maroons, and Sarah Muisenga added 10 kills and 15 digs. University of Chicago's Emma Griffith dished out a match-best 37 assists to go along with 10 digs and three service aces. Katherine Wilson led all player with 21 digs for the Maroons.
Coron and Allen contributed nine and seven kills, respectively for the Titans as Allen hit a match-leading .462 on 13 attempts.
Kiekhofer notched her first double-double as a Titan with a team-high 17 assists, a season-best 15 digs and three service aces. Hodges also recorded a season-high 15 digs for UW-Oshkosh.
University of Chicago trailed for only one point over the first two sets en route to taking a 2-0 lead. The Maroons closed out the opening frame with 13 of the final 16 points and held a 15-9 advantage in the second set.
UW-Oshkosh mounted a furious comeback in the third set after falling behind, 21-12. University of Chicago had match-point at 24-19, but three straight Maroon attack errors, including one on a combination block by Lemke and Rush, allowed the Titans to pull within 24-22. Consecutive kills from Coron, Rush and Lemke put UW-Oshkosh ahead, 25-24, and back-to-back terminations by Rush gave the Titans a thrilling 27-25 set win.
University of Chicago scored 11 of the first 12 points of the fourth set and went on to clinch its fifth straight win over UW-Oshkosh since 2010.
Gardner and Lemke were named to the 12-member Pizza Hut Classic All-Tournament Team. Gardner and Lemke were also selected to the All-Tournament Team at the season-opening Puget Sound Premiere last Saturday (Sept. 1).
At the Pizza Hut Classic, Gardner amassed 76 digs and 16 assists while Lemke produced 34 kills, 14 digs, nine blocks and six service aces.
UW-Oshkosh travels to De Pere to play Lawrence University and St. Norbert College on Wednesday (Sept. 12).