Rachel Aasby, Samantha Jaeke and Carissa Sundholm each set new career highs in kills on the day as the UW-Oshkosh women's volleyball team outlasted nationally ranked University of St. Thomas (Minn.) among its pair of five-set victories Friday (Sept. 20) at the Pointers Invitational in Stevens Point.
UW-Oshkosh (9-3) defeated University of St. Thomas (11-3) in set scores of 25-23, 26-24, 13-25, 21-25, 15-8 before holding off Milwaukee School of Engineering (5-8) by scores of 25-22, 25-18, 25-27, 22-25, 17-17. University of St. Thomas, the 2012 NCAA Division III champion, is ranked 18th in the country by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.
The Titans' five-set triumph over the Tommies marked their first win over a ranked opponent since a 3-1 decision against Millikin University (Ill.) on Sept. 1, 2018. UW-Oshkosh, which has seven victories by 3-0 scores this season, is now 27-10 in five-set matches over the last six years.
The Titans, who sport a 12-6 record against University of St. Thomas since 1995, have won each of their four meetings with Milwaukee School of Engineering. UW-Oshkosh, which entered the day ranked 16th nationally with a .258 hitting percentage, hit a combined .209 in its two matches Friday.
During the upset win over University of St. Thomas, Jaeke paced the Titans with 19.5 points on 17 kills and four blocks. Aasby added 13 kills and a pair of blocks, and Sundholm had 10 kills. Jaeke's surpassed her previous career high of 16 kills while Aasby and Sundholm both reached double digits in kills for the first time during their freshman campaigns.
UW-Oshkosh's Rachel Gardner finished one dig shy of her career high with a match-leading 32. Emma Kiekhofer had 27 assists for the Titans, who also received 20 assists and a match-best four service aces from Rebecca Doughty, seven kills by Kendall Enyart, and five kills and a match-high five blocks from Shelby Coron.
The Titans took control of the fifth set early, claiming a 6-3 lead behind a pair of Doughty service aces, an Aasby kill and a combination block from Aasby and Coron on consecutive points that precipitated a Tommie timeout. UW-Oshkosh extended its cushion to 10-4 following a Coron kill and to 13-6 after a pair of University of St. Thomas errors. Jaeke's 17th kill set up match-point at 14-8, and a Tommie attack error concluded the match as University of St. Thomas hit -.059 during the final set.
Both teams finished the contest with 55 kills, nine blocks and hit .157. UW-Oshkosh had a 7-6 advantage in service aces. University of St. Thomas held edges of 53-52 in assists and 75-68 in digs.
UW-Oshkosh stormed back to win the first set by scoring the final seven points. Facing a 23-18 deficit, the Titans began their comeback with a point on a Tommie service error followed by a double-block from Coron and Jaeke. An Aasby kill and two University of St. Thomas attack errors knotted the score at 23 before a bad set and another Tommie attack error provided the Titans the win.
The Titans then raced out to a 10-4 lead and never trailed during the second set until the Tommies capped a 10-3 run with a kill from Kate Achenbach for a 23-22 edge. UW-Oshkosh reclaimed a 24-23 lead on a combination block by Aasby and Kate Nottoli and secured the set three points later following back-to-back Tommie hitting errors.
University of St. Thomas hit .345 on the way to a comfortable win in third set and .303 with 15 kills during the fourth frame in which the Tommies did not trail after scoring four straight points for an 11-9 lead.
Selena Levendoski led the Tommies with 13 kills while Hannah Braun and Achenbach added 11 and 10, respectively, and Fran Egan and Madie Kroehler both had nine. Braun and Levendoski both had a team-leading four blocks. Kroehler recorded three service aces.
University of St. Thomas' Grace Anetipa led all players with 45 assists. Ellie Meyer collected a team-high 19 digs for the Tommies.
In the Titans' narrow win over Milwaukee School of Engineering, Sundholm had a career- and match-high 20.5 points and 19 kills while Jaeke added 16 terminations as UW-Oshkosh finally clinched the win on its third match-point. Sundholm's 19 kills are the most by a Titan since Tina Elstner had 26 during a five-set win over UW-River Falls on Oct. 13, 2017.
Tied at 12 in the final set, Milwaukee School of Engineering took a one-point lead on a kill by Italia Fields. The Titans answered with a Coron kill before a Raiders ballhandling error provided match-point at 14-13. However, a Titan service error knotted the score at 14 ahead of Coron's kill for a 15-14 UW-Oshkosh advantage. Another Titan service error tied the set at 15, but Coron once again notched a kill to set up match-point at 16-15. A solo block from Taylor Allen on the ensuing point ended the contest.
UW-Oshkosh outhit Milwaukee School of Engineering, .268 to .168, and owned advantages of 65-53 in kills, 59-47 in assists, 65-51 in digs and 9-5 in blocks. The Raiders had an 8-3 advantage in service aces.
Kiekhofer and Doughty established new season highs with 28 and 21 assists, respectively, for the Titans. Gardner had a team-leading 14 digs while Morgan Dunn added a season-best 12.
Coron finished the match with seven kills on 11 attempts in three sets played. Aasby also chipped in seven kills while Nottoli had six and Enyart had five.
The Titans pulled away to win the first set by tallying the final three points on a Raiders service error and attack error ahead of a Nottoli service ace. UW-Oshkosh then hit .500 on 26 errorless attempts during the second frame.
Milwaukee School of Engineering bounced back in the third set, thwarting match-point at 25-24 with three points in a row that featured back-to-back kills from Fields and Quinn Borchert before a Titan attack error prolonged the match.
Tied at 22 in Set 4, the Raiders evened the match by once again scoring the last three points – all on UW-Oshkosh errors.
Borchert led three Raiders in double figures with 16 kills. Fields had 15 terminations for Milwaukee School of Engineering and Megan Brock added 12.
Amanda Yackley dished out a match-best 42 assists for the Raiders, who also received a team-high 18 digs from Bekah Smith.
UW-Oshkosh's Jaeke was one of nine players named to the Pointers Invitational All-Tournament Team.
UW-Oshkosh heads to Madison to play host both Wheaton (Ill.) College and host Edgewood College on Saturday (Sept. 21). The Titans defeated Edgewood College, 3-0, on opening day (Aug. 30) in Colorado.