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Defending Champion Eagles Sweep Titans In WIAC Opener

Renee Rush had seven kills, eight digs and two blocks against the Eagles.
Renee Rush had seven kills, eight digs and two blocks against the Eagles.

Marisa Johnson had 13 kills and 13 digs to lead UW-La Crosse to a 3-0 win over UW-Oshkosh in the WIAC women's volleyball opener Wednesday (Sept. 19) in La Crosse.

UW-La Crosse (8-4, 1-0 WIAC), the three-time defending league champion, swept the Titans in set scores of 25-23, 25-20, 25-15.

Emma Lawrence and Rhiana Pochman added 10 kills apiece for UW-La Crosse, which owned advantages in kills (45-25), hitting percentage (.198 to .061), assists (42-27), service aces (4-3) and digs (66-47). UW-Oshkosh held a 7.5-4.5 edge in blocks. The Eagles went into the contest leading the WIAC with 18.96 digs and 2.26 service aces per set.

UW-La Crosse's Abbey Fox distributed 37 assists while Julia Van Fleet led all players with 21 digs.

Taylor Allen and Renee Rush paced UW-Oshkosh (7-6, 0-1 WIAC) with seven kills apiece. Allen also had a match-high four blocks.

Rebecca Doughty dished out 15 assists for the Titans, who also received a team-best 10 digs from Katie Hodges.

The first set was tied for the 11th and final time at 23 after a triple-block by UW-Oshkosh's Allen, Rush and Ellie Wanous. A kill from Liz Lansink provided the Eagles with set-point at 24-23, and a combination block by Kathryn Maas and Pochman ended the frame on the ensuing point.

The Titans jumped out to an 11-8 lead in the second set following an Allen kill. Trailing 17-13, UW-La Crosse scored 10 of the next 12 points to reclaim a 23-19 advantage. The Eagles' decisive run included three kills and a service ace. A kill by Rush pulled the Titans within 23-20, but the Eagles scored the final two points on kills from Fox and Johnson.

UW-La Crosse trailed for just one point in the third set, turning an 8-7 deficit into a 20-12 lead as the Eagles hit a match-high .258 in the final frame.

UW-Oshkosh heads to Aurora, Ill., for three matches this weekend, beginning with Ripon College on Friday (Sept. 21).

Photo courtesy of Jim Lund