Samantha Jaeke's career high-tying 16 kills were not enough in the first match of the day as the UW-Oshkosh women's volleyball team suffered a pair of losses to close out play at the Colorado College Classic on Saturday (Aug. 31) in Colorado Springs, Colo.
UW-Oshkosh (2-2), which began the tournament with two 3-0 victories Friday (Aug. 30), fell to Clarkson University (N.Y.) in straight sets by scores of 25-23, 25-21, 25-23 before host Colorado College defeated the Titans in scores of 20-25, 26-24, 27-25, 25-14. Colorado College (3-1), ranked seventh in the NCAA Division III by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), has now won 68 of its last 69 home matches against Division III opponents.
Jaeke and Rachel Gardner represented UW-Oshkosh on the eight-member All-Tournament Team. Jaeke produced 53.5 points, 47 kills and 12 blocks in the Titans' four matches at the Colorado College Classic while Gardner had 57 digs and three service aces.
During its setback to Clarkson University (4-0), UW-Oshkosh owned leads in each set until the Golden Knights clinched the Colorado College Classic title behind a match-best 18.5 points from Kristin Werdine, who produced 17 kills and 14 digs.
Clarkson University outhit the Titans, .215 to .173, and held narrow advantages of 43-41 in kills, 43-37 in assists and 3-2 in service aces. UW-Oshkosh owned edges of 65-60 in digs and 6-5 in blocks during a match that included 28 ties and 10 lead changes.
Jaeke, who was named to the eight-member All-Tournament Team, hit .481 on the way to matching her career high of 16 kills last established in 2016.
Taylor Allen added eight kills on 14 attempts for the Titans, who also received a team-leading 15 digs from Gardner and 23 assists from Emma Kiekhofer. Rebecca Doughty chipped in 13 assists while co-piloting the UW-Oshkosh offense.
Rachel Reusch had 11 kills for Clarkson University while Gillian Kurtic recorded nine on just 14 attempts. The Golden Knights' Kate Isaksen, the lone libero on last year's AVCA Division III All-America First Team, led all players with 19 digs, and Isabelle Crow dished out a match-high 41 assists.
The first set was tied 14 times, including at 18, 20 and 22 before UW-Oshkosh reclaimed its final lead of the frame at 23-22 following an Allen kill. However, Clarkson University scored the last three points on three consecutive kills, including two by Kurtic.
The Golden Knights raced out to a 10-5 lead in the second set, but the Titans cut their deficit to 14-13 after back-to-back kills from Jaeke and Shelby Coron. However, Clarkson University upped its cushion to 22-16 and led by at least three points for the remainder of the set.
The final set featured 11 ties and five lead changes as neither team created a lead of more than three points the entire frame. The Titans built a 20-17 advantage after a kill by Jaeke, but Clarkson University rallied to tie the score at 21 and never trailed after recording a kill on the ensuing point. Jaeke kills knotted the score at 22 and again at 23. Then a pair of kills by Werdine on the next two points secured the Golden Knights victory during the first ever meeting between the teams.
In the loss to Colorado College, the second and third sets were both tied at 24 before the Tigers pulled out narrow victories during a match that included 39 ties and 16 lead changes.
Jaeke once again paced the Titans with 15.5 points, 13 kills and five blocks. Allen added 10 kills on 20 attempts to go along with three blocks while Gardner led all players with 20 digs. UW-Oshkosh setters Kiekhofer and Doughty registered 21 and 16 assists, respectively.
Colorado College's Allie Freeburg had a match-high 22 kills to lead five Tigers in double figures as Georgia Mullins had 13 kills, Haley Harris and Emma Hewlin had 11 apiece, and Isabella Vasquez had 10.
Isabelle Aragon-Menzel compiled 53 assists for the Tigers, who also received a team-high 15 digs from Anna Gurolnick.
Colorado College, which had its last two seasons end with losses to the eventual national champion, finished the match with advantages in hitting percentage (.253 to .236), kills (69-43), digs (67-50) and service aces (9-3). UW-Oshkosh had an 8.5 to 3.0 edge in blocks.
The Titans took control of the opening set with a 7-2 scoring run for a 12-7 lead. The Tigers pulled within 23-20, but a service error and a Doughty service ace on the next two points provided UW-Oshkosh the victory.
The second set was tied for the 10th time at 22 until Colorado College claimed two points in a row on kills by Hewlin and Vasquez to reach set-point. A Tigers service error and a kill by Jaeke knotted the score at 24, but the Tigers responded with a Hewlin kill and a service ace by Freeburg to tie the match.
Neither team built a lead of more than two points in the entire third set that featured 23 ties and 11 lead changes. Allen recorded a kill to knot the score at 24, and Carissa Sundholm notched a kill to stave off another set-point for the Titans at 25. However, back-to-back kills from Freeburg and Hewlin gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead with their team's first run of consecutive points since the score was 9-8.
Colorado College jumped out to leads of 10-4 and 20-8 in the fourth set en route to securing the match win. The Tigers hit .565 with 15 kills during the final frame.
UW-Oshkosh conducts its home-opening weekend at the seven-team Pizza Hut Classic on Sept. 6-7 in Kolf Sports Center. The Titans host State University of New York at Oswego on Sept. 6 and both Wisconsin Lutheran and Martin Luther (Minn.) colleges Sept. 7.
Photo courtesy of Charlie Lengal