Carly Lemke matched her career high with 12 kills as the UW-Oshkosh women's volleyball team handed UW-Eau Claire its first conference loss with a 3-0 triumph on Friday (Oct. 7) in Kolf Sports Center.
UW-Oshkosh (17-4, 2-2 WIAC), ranked 21st in the NCAA Division III by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, defeated 22nd-ranked UW-Eau Claire in set scores of 25-13, 25-23, 25-16. The Titans, winners of three straight matches against UW-Eau Claire, swept the Blugolds for the first time since 2007.
UW-Eau Claire (18-4, 3-1 WIAC) remains in first place by one-half game in the eight-team WIAC standings while UW-Oshkosh moved up one spot to fifth with three league matches remaining.
UW-Oshkosh held advantages in kills (46-28), hitting percentage (.274 to .092), digs (70-49) and blocks (7-5). The Titans entered the match with a nation-leading 187 blocks.
The Titans tallied 18 kills on .390 hitting in the opening set, 16 kills with a .173 rate in the second frame and 12 kills at a .290 clip in the final set. UW-Oshkosh never trailed in the first set and just once in the final frame.
In the opening set, UW-Oshkosh scored six straight points to take 9-3 lead. The Titan run included kills by Herman, Lemke and Thiel as well as a combination block by Herman and Lemke. UW-Oshkosh extended its lead to 22-8 following a kill by Herman and closed out the set with kills from Herman, Jaeke and Thiel.
UW-Oshkosh raced out to a 7-3 lead in the second set, but the Blugolds rallied to knot the score at 8 on a Titan service error. Tied at 14, UW-Eau Claire scored six of the next eight points to reclaim a 20-16 advantage. The Titans rebounded to tie the score at 21 on a combination block by Elstner and Vogt, and took the lead for good at 23-22 on a kill by Jaeke. An attack error by UW-Eau Claire gave the Titans set-point at 24-22, but a kill by the Blugolds on the ensuing point made the score 24-23. However, UW-Eau Claire was called for a double-contact on the second set-point to give the Titans the victory.
The Titans took a 3-2 lead in the third frame and never relinquished the advantage. UW-Oshkosh extended its lead to 10-4 on a kill from Lemke and owned a cushion of at least four points for the remainder of the match.
UW-Eau Claire was led by seven kills from Mackenzee Pierog and Heather Sawchuk, 21 assists and 15 digs from Madison Surprise, and three blocks from Keagan Kinsella.
UW-Oshkosh plays four teams from Minnesota at next weekend's Sandy Schumacher Memorial Tournament in Eau Claire. The Titans will play Gustavus Adolphus College and the University of Northwestern-St. Paul on Friday (Oct. 14) and the University of Minnesota Morris and Martin Luther College on Saturday (Oct. 15).