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Titans Split Matches with Panthers, Tommies

Brooke Brinkman recorded 16 kills and a career-best 11 blocks against Birmingham-Southern College.
Brooke Brinkman recorded 16 kills and a career-best 11 blocks against Birmingham-Southern College.

The nationally ranked UW-Oshkosh women's volleyball team split two matches for the second straight day to conclude play at the Emory University Classic on Saturday (Sept. 3) in Atlanta, Ga.

The Titans (2-2), ranked 25th in the NCAA Division III by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, outlasted Birmingham-Southern College (Ala.), 3-2, and suffered a 3-0 defeat to the University of St. Thomas (Minn.).

UW-Oshkosh defeated Birmingham-Southern College (3-1) by set scores of 20-25, 25-15, 28-30, 25-23, 15-11. The University of St. Thomas (2-2) swept the Titans by scores of 25-18, 25-21, 25-3.

In the victory over Birmingham-Southern College, Tina Elstner paced the Titans with a career-best 21 kills and eight blocks to go along with 15 digs.

Brooke Brinkman and Samantha Jaeke notched their first career double-doubles as Brinkman recorded 16 kills and a career-best 11 blocks while Jaeke had totals of 14 kills, 16 digs and six blocks.

UW-Oshkosh's Laura Trochinski established a new career best with 24 digs, and Lexi Thiel piloted the offense with 59 assists and 21 digs.

UW-Oshkosh compiled 69 kills, 105 digs and 18 blocks – all season-bests.

After the Panthers registered 17 kills during the first set, UW-Oshkosh limited Birmingham-Southern College to just seven in the second frame on -.026 hitting.

Tied at 28 in the third frame, the Panthers took a 2-1 advantage in sets after consecutive hitting errors by the Titans.

UW-Oshkosh scored five straight points for a 13-6 lead in the fourth set, but Birmingham-Southern College knotted the score at 19 and trailed, 24-23, before a ball-handling error sent the match to a fifth set.

In the decisive set, the Panthers tied the score at nine on a service ace by Rachel Lee, but back-to-back kills by Elstner and a combination block by Brinkman and Elstner gave the Titans a 12-9 advantage. Leading 12-11, UW-Oshkosh clinched the comeback victory with kills by Elstner and Brinkman, and a service ace by Lexi Thiel on match-point.

Jeneva Salter pacee the Panthers with 15 kills while hitting just .018. Majorie Ward chipped in 13 kills and 20 digs for Birmingham-Southern College, which also received a match-best 31 digs from Caroline Johnson.

UW-Oshkosh ended the contest with advantages in kills (69-60), hitting percentage (.164 to .120), service aces (3-2), digs (105-92) and blocks (18-12).

In the loss to the University of St. Thomas, the Titans were limited to 25 kills on .047 hitting. The Tommies recorded 46 kills with a .271 hitting rate.

The University of St. Thomas, which led for all but three points during the match, was paced by the 15 kills from Taylor Lewis and 12 by Whitney Lloyd. Lewis added 15 digs and three blocks while Lloyd hit .458 and registered a match-leading four blocks.

Abby Louwagie and Katharine Mallak tallied 17 and 16 assists, respectively, while directing the University of St. Thomas offense. Ellie Meyer of the Tommies led all players with 19 digs and three service aces.

The University of St. Thomas counted 16 kills and never trailed in the first set.

UW-Oshkosh scored the first point of the second set and reclaimed a 12-11 edge on a Tommies attack error. Clinging to a 22-21 lead, the University of St. Thomas secured the frame on consecutive kills by Lloyd and another by Lewis.

The University of St. Thomas rattled off 19 straight points to build a 19-1 lead in the final set on the serve of Meyer. The Tommies had nine kills, three service aces and one block during the skein until a kill by Brianna Witter ended the UW-Oshkosh drought. The Tommies outhit the Titans, .500 to -.167, in the final set.

Elstner led UW-Oshkosh with eight kills and 14 digs. Trochinski also contributed 14 digs, and Thiel had a match-high 22 assists.

Brinkman and Thiel were named to the nine-member all-tournament team. Brinkman compiled four-match totals of 36 kills, 17 blocks and 16 digs while Thiel produced 161 assists and 59 digs.

The Titans opened the Emory University Classic on Friday (Sept. 2) with a 3-2 win over the College of Saint Benedict (Minn.) and a 3-0 loss to fourth-ranked Emory University.

UW-Oshkosh wraps up its season-opening road trip with matches against Edgewood and Wheaton (Ill.) colleges on Tuesday (Sept. 6) in Madison.