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Titans Dominate Conference Leader

Carly Lemke tied her career high with 12 kills on .478 hitting against UW-Eau Claire.
Carly Lemke tied her career high with 12 kills on .478 hitting against UW-Eau Claire.

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.

Lemke hit .478 and added three blocks while Samantha Jaeke had 11 kills for the Titans, who also received nine kills and a career-high 21 digs from Tina Elstner and nine kills from Shannon Herman.

UW-Oshkosh's Lexi Thiel recorded 36 assists while Rachel Gardner chipped in a season-best 18 digs and Nerissa Vogt a match-best four blocks.

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).