Tina Elstner had a team-high 21 kills on the day and Taylor Allen added 16 kills on .467 hitting as the UW-Oshkosh women's volleyball team earned a pair of 3-0 victories over Minnesota opponents Saturday (Oct. 13) in St. Paul, Minn.
UW-Oshkosh (13-12) swept Saint Mary's University in set scores of 25-20, 25-23, 25-20 before dispatching host University of Northwestern-St. Paul in scores of 25-23, 25-18, 25-23.
The Titans, who beat Saint Mary's University in three sets for the first time since 2007, picked up their first sweep over University of Northwestern in program history. University of Northwestern, which has made eight consecutive appearances in the NCAA Division III Championship and reached the 2016 national semifinals, was ranked as high as 14th in the country earlier this season by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.
Elstner collected a match-high 12 kills to go along with eight digs, a season-high tying seven blocks and two service aces in the opener against Saint Mary's University. She then produced a team-leading nine kills in addition to three service aces against University of Northwestern.
Allen had nine kills on 17 attempts and six blocks during the first match of the day before collecting seven kills on 13 errorless swings in the second contest.
UW-Oshkosh's Carly Lemke and Renee Rush both chipped in 11 total kills Saturday while Samantha Jaeke had 10 kills and 11 digs. Lemke paced the team with six service aces, including a career-high tying four against University of Northwestern.
Rachel Gardner led the Titans in digs both matches, leading all players with 18 in the opener and adding 11 against University of Northwestern.
Rebecca Doughty had 43 assists and 11 digs in the two matches while splitting UW-Oshkosh setting duties with Emma Kiekhofer, who registered 20 assists and 10 digs. Doughty had a team-high 23 assists against Saint Mary's University and 20 more against the host Eagles.
In the sweep over Saint Mary's University, the Titans owned advantages in kills (43-33), hitting percentage (.184 to .092), assists (38-30), service aces (4-3), digs (53-52) and blocks (11.5-1).
The Titans raced out to a 7-2 lead and led each point of the first set. The match-opening scoring run featured two kills from Allen and one termination each from Elstner, Jaeke and Rush. Leading 13-9, UW-Oshkosh went on another 7-2 run for a 20-11 cushion. The latter scoring run was highlighted by a pair of Jaeke kills, a service ace from Lemke and a termination by Shelby Coron. The Titans reached set-point at 24-18 following a service ace from Elstner, and Rush ended the frame three points later with a kill.
UW-Oshkosh extended its lead to 14-10 in the second set after consecutive kills from Allen and Rush, but the Cardinals rallied to knot the score at 20. The set was tied for the seventh and final time at 23 following a Coron kill, and UW-Oshkosh went on to record the final two points on a solo block and a kill – both by Rush.
Saint Mary's University (11-10) turned a 13-11 deficit into a 16-13 lead behind kills from Gloria Kitange and Linnaea Walls, and three Titan errors. However, UW-Oshkosh roared back with six unanswered points and maintained a lead the rest of the way. Allen sparked the six-point run with a kill and a double-block alongside Elstner. A kill by Jaeke tied the score at 16, back-to-back terminations from Elstner gave the Titans the lead for good, and a Cardinal error increased the UW-Oshkosh advantage to 19-16. Saint Mary's University pulled within 20-19, but a Cardinal error and a Coron kill pushed the Titan lead back to three. An Elstner service ace concluded the match four points later.
Brandi Blattner had a team-leading nine kills and 14 digs for the Cardinals, who also received eight terminations from Kitange and seven kills from Rachel Kedl.
The Cardinals' Lillian Braun had a match-best 26 assists.
During the three-set win over University of Northwestern, the Titans outhit the Eagles, .243 to .127, and held slim advantages in kills (36-35), service aces (8-7) and blocks (8-5). The Eagles had a 48-46 edge in digs. UW-Oshkosh, which compiled a better hitting percentage than University of Northwestern in each set, committed a season-low 11 attack errors while the Eagles had seven in every frame.
UW-Oshkosh's hitting percentage against the Eagles was its third-best of the season, trailing only a .250 rate during a 3-1 win at Aurora University (Ill.) and a .246 attack percentage during a 3-0 home win over Martin Luther College (Minn.).
University of Northwestern (19-6) scored six of the first nine points of the match before UW-Oshkosh responded with six points in a row to and did not trail again until the third set. The Titans' six-point run included two kills by Elstner, one termination from Allen, back-to-back service aces by Lemke, and a combination block from Allen and Jaeke. Tied at 12, the Eagles committed a pair of attack errors, and Elstner notched a service ace as the Titans regained control with a 15-12 lead. A service ace from Doughty provided UW-Oshkosh a 20-14 advantage, and consecutive kills by Jaeke and Elstner pushed the lead back to 23-19. The Eagles trimmed their deficit to 24-23, but Elstner concluded the frame with a kill on the next point.
The Titans jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the second set and finished the frame outhitting University of Northwestern, .393 to .062. Rush began the set with three straight kills, and two service aces in a row from Elstner gave the Titans a 16-10 advantage. Elstner, Jaeke and Lemke recorded kills on consecutive points to push the UW-Oshkosh lead to 24-17, and a ballhandling error on the Eagles – their 12th total error of the frame – provided the Titans a two-set lead two points later.
University of Northwestern reclaimed a 6-5 lead in the third set and did not trail again until UW-Oshkosh took a 23-22 advantage on a kill by Kiekhofer. The final set was tied on nine occasions, including the final time at 23 following a kill from the Eagles' Jackie Timm. An attack error by University of Northwestern's Mariah Halvorsen set up match-point at 24-23, and Lemke recorded a service ace to complete the sweep.
Halvorsen compiled a match-high 13 kills for the Eagles, who also received eight terminations and a pair of blocks from Jenay Fuglestad.
University of Northwestern's Sydney Schwitters had a double-double with a match-leading 32 assists and 12 digs. Freya Hanson led all players with 16 digs for the Eagles.
UW-Oshkosh heads to Mequon for the Concordia University Wisconsin Invitational next weekend (Oct. 19-20). The Titans open the event against Concordia University Wisconsin on Friday.