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Titans Successful On Opening Day Of Own Invitational

Renee Rush had nine kills during UW-Oshkosh's five-set win over Trinity University.
Renee Rush had nine kills during UW-Oshkosh's five-set win over Trinity University.

Samantha Jaeke had 21 kills as the UW-Oshkosh women's volleyball team opened its own invitational with a pair of victories on Friday (Sept. 30) in Kolf Sports Center.

UW-Oshkosh erased a two-set deficit to defeat Trinity University (Texas), 3-2, before downing Alma College (Mich.), 3-0. The Titans slipped past the Tigers in set scores of 19-25, 19-25, 25-20, 25-23, 15-9 and swept the Scots by counts of 25-14, 25-15, 25-17.

The Titans (14-3), ranked 23rd in the NCAA Division III by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, own a 6-0 record in five-set matches this season.

Jaeke collected 10 kills, six digs, four blocks and two service aces against Trinity University and a match-best 11 kills against Alma College.

In the five-set decision over Trinity University, the Titans led for just six points during the first two sets but responded by trailing for a mere eight points over the final three frames to pull off the comeback.

Trinity University (12-4) held advantages in kills (58-54), hitting percentage (.295 to .209) and service aces (8-6) while UW-Oshkosh had edges in digs (63-61) and blocks (16-6).

The Tigers tallied the first three points of the match on two kills and a Titan error. Trinity University built leads of 11-4 and 21-14 on the way to pounding down 17 kills on 39 attempts for a .385 hitting percentage in the opening set.

Trinity University reclaimed a 5-4 advantage in the second set and held a lead for the remainder of the frame as the Tigers outhit the Titans, .348 to .188, to go up two sets.

UW-Oshkosh began its comeback with a solo block by Jaeke that provided the Titans a 6-5 lead that they would not relinquish until the Tigers knotted the score at 17. Tied at 18, the Titans received two kills apiece from Brooke Brinkman and Tina Elstner for a 22-18 lead. A service ace by Lexi Thiel gave UW-Oshkosh set-point at 24-19, and a kill by Brinkman two points later ended the stanza.

The Titans never trailed in the fourth set despite the Tigers owing advantages of 14-12 in kills and .312 to .237 in hitting percentage. UW-Oshkosh scored three straight points on a kill by Elstner, a combination block by Brinkman and Elster, and a Tiger attack error for a 19-16 lead. Trinity University tallied three consecutive points to pull within 23-22 on a Titan attack error, but a kill by UW-Oshkosh's Renee Rush ended the run, and a Tiger attack error ended the set two points later.

UW-Oshkosh capped the comeback with a string of six straight points for a commanding 9-4 lead in the decisive set. The skein began with a kill by Jaeke that tied the score at 4. A Tiger attack was ruled just long on the following point, and the Titans added to the lead with a pair of service aces by Jaeke, a kill by Rush and a combination block by Thiel and Nerissa Vogt. After the Tigers pulled within 13-9 via a UW-Oshkosh attack error, the Titans concluded the match with a kill by Thiel and a Trinity University attack error on the final point.

Elstner paced the Titans with 13 kills while Brinkman added 10 kills on 20 errorless attempts and Rush chipped in nine terminations.

Thiel collected a match-best 42 assists to go along with nine digs, four kills and three blocks while piloting the UW-Oshkosh offense. Vogt contributed eight kills, seven digs and a match-high seven blocks, and Rachel Gardner led the Titan defense with a season-high 11 digs.

Trinity University's Kirby Smith led all players with 17 kills to go along with 10 digs.

Madeline McKay had 12 kills for the Tigers, who also received nine kills on 16 attempts from Maggi Linker and seven kills apiece from Rebecca Hayes and Jade Schoenberger. Hayes contributed three blocks, and Schoenberger had 10 digs and a team-best four blocks.

Katrina Lieberman directed the Trinity University offense with 33 assists over the final four sets while starting setter Erika Edrington registered 14 assists during the first frame. Sarah Mullens highlighted the Tigers back row with a match-leading 22 digs.

In the three-set victory over Alma College (7-8), UW-Oshkosh never trailed in the first or third frames en route to considerable advantages in kills (38-22), hitting percentage (.270 to .060), service aces (5-1) and digs (41-27).

UW-Oshkosh's Shannon Herman tallied 10 kills on 13 swings for a .692 hitting percentage in two sets played while Carly Lemke recorded seven kills on 11 attempts for a .545 rate.

Thiel amassed 31 assists and two service aces, and Gardner and Laura Trochinski registered nine and seven digs, respectively.

UW-Oshkosh scored the first three points of the match on a pair of kills by Jaeke and one by Elstner. The Titans increased their lead to 16-10 on a service ace by Elstner and to 21-12 on a kill by Lemke as the Scots hit -.040 in the opening set.

The Scots held their last lead of the match at 6-5 in the second set before three straight Alma College errors gave the Titans an 8-6 advantage. UW-Oshkosh then scored five consecutive points on a kill by Herman and four Scots errors for a 16-11 lead. The Titan advantage ballooned to 22-14 on Herman's fifth and final kill of the set, which ended on two straight attack errors by Alma College.

The Titans raced out to a 10-4 lead in the third set following a kill by Lemke. UW-Oshkosh went on to build a 10-point advantages at 20-10 and 21-11 before securing the victory on consecutive kills by Vogt.

Alma College was led by eight kills from Sasha Laykova, 10 assists from Maressa Miller, nine digs from Molly Lark and three blocks from Anne MacNeil.

The Titans conclude play at the UW-Oshkosh Invitational against Saint Mary's College (Ind.) and Dominican University (Ill.) on Saturday (Oct. 1) in Kolf Sports Center.

2016 UW-Oshkosh Invitational Website