A marathon fourth set closed the match as the UW-Oshkosh women's volleyball team upset nationally ranked UW-Whitewater, 3-1, before 499 enthusiastic fans on Wednesday (Oct. 16) at Kolf Sports Center.
The Titans lost the first set, 25-23, before posting victories of 25-23, 25-19 and 34-32. UW-Whitewater entered the contest ranked 20th in the NCAA Division III by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.
UW-Whitewater (20-8/3-2 WIAC) led 9-5 early in the first set, which equaled their largest lead of the match. UW-Oshkosh rallied back to take a 14-11 lead as the two teams traded points until a 23-23 tie. UW-Whitewater claimed the final two points to squeak out a first set win.
UW-Oshkosh (15-8/4-2 WIAC) continued to keep up with the Warhawks in the second set. The session was a mirror image of the first set, with the Titans taking an early 9-4 lead before UW-Whitewater came back to go up 15-12. The teams went back and forth to a 23-23 tie. This time around, UW-Oshkosh hammered home the final two points for the win.
The third set was tight until the finish. UW-Oshkosh stole the momentum following a long break due to a UW-Whitewater injury by scoring eight of the set's last 11 points. The 25-19 final score was the largest point differential of the match.
The fourth set was a back and forth classic. The teams exchanged leads with UW-Whitewater jumping ahead by four as late as 23-19. UW-Oshkosh then rattled off five consecutive points to take a 24-23 lead. The Titans had numerous chances to put it away, forcing match point six times. The Warhawks reached match point on three occasions before UW-Oshkosh scored the last two points for the 34-32 victory.
Statistically, the game was almost even. The Warhawks led the attack with 58 kills to the Titans' 57 and posted a narrow 54-50 advantage in assists. UW-Oshkosh out hit UW-Whitewater, .235-.176, while winning the dig count, 71-63.
One area where the Titans stood out was serving. UW-Oshkosh had eight service aces compared to just three for the Warhawks.
Katelyn Malcheski, who had a game-high 17 kills, led the Titans on offense. Jessica Fischer and Jordyn Bratel contributed 14 and 10 kills, respectively.
Alexis Thiel had 30 assists for the Titans while Alison Tomczyk added 18. Mandy Trautmann topped the Titans by scooping 19 digs. Tomczyk, Bratel and Fischer all had 10-plus digs to complete double-doubles as well.
Staci Hasler and Lauren Pfeifer had strong offensive performances for the Warhawks with 16 and 15 kills, respectively. Leading in assists was Kim Frei, who topped all players with 50. Nobilio led the Warhawks with 14 digs.
This weekend, UW-Oshkosh travels to Dubuque, Iowa, for the Loras College Invitational. The Titans will play Clarke University (Iowa) and William Penn University (Iowa) on Friday (Oct. 18) and Loras College (Iowa) and Luther College (Iowa) on Saturday (Oct. 19).
By Ryan Smith, UW-Oshkosh Sports Information