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Titans Win Brawl Between Nationally Ranked Teams

Carly Lemke recorded six kills against the Pointers.
Carly Lemke recorded six kills against the Pointers.

Tina Elstner had 14 kills to lead UW-Oshkosh to a 3-1 triumph over UW-Stevens Point in a clash of nationally ranked women's volleyball teams on Wednesday (Oct. 19) in Kolf Sports Center.

The Titans defeated the Pointers in set scores of 26-24, 25-18, 22-25, 25-21.

UW-Oshkosh (21-5, 3-2 WIAC), ranked 22nd in the NCAA Division III by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, remains one game behind 13th-ranked UW-La Crosse (18-3, 4-1 WIAC) in the league standings with two conference matches to play while 12th-ranked UW-Stevens Point (21-5, 2-3 WIAC) falls to sixth place among the eight conference teams.

The Titans, who avenged a pair of losses to UW-Stevens Point last year, improved their home record to 11-0 this season. The Pointers have lost two of their three road matches.

UW-Stevens Point held slim advantages in kills (54-45), hitting percentage (.133 to .129), digs (75-71) and blocks (11-10.5), but the Pointers committed 52 of the match's 91 errors, including 33 on the attack and 11 behind the service line.

The Pointers hit .048 in the first set and -.026 in the fourth while the Titans claimed the first set despite hitting .000.

UW-Oshkosh entered the match leading the nation with 2.75 blocks per set while UW-Stevens Point paced the conference in per-set service aces (1.92), assists (12.35) and kills (13.00).

Shannon Herman and Samantha Jaeke contributed seven kills apiece for UW-Oshkosh. Herman added a season-high five blocks while Jaeke sent back four attacks.

Nerissa Vogt chipped in six kills and a match-best six blocks for the Titans, who also received six kills from Carly Lemke, 36 assists from Lexi Thiel, 20 digs from Rachel Gardner and 14 digs from Katie Hodges.

UW-Oshkosh raced out to a 6-2 lead in the opening set on five errors by UW-Stevens Point, but the Titans committed four consecutive attack errors to allow the Pointers to knot the score at 9, and neither team held a lead of more than two points for the remainder of the frame. Trailing 23-21, Lemke notched kills on back-to-back points to pull the Titans even at 23. After the teams traded attack errors on the next two points, UW-Oshkosh pulled out the win on kills by Herman and Lemke.

In the second set, the Titans scored six of seven points to extend their lead to 17-12 on a kill by Jaeke. The Pointers cut their deficit to 18-16, but UW-Oshkosh tallied seven of the final nine points of the frame to take a 2-0 lead in sets behind 16 kills on .306 hitting during the frame. Elstner had three kills during the Titans' 7-2 run, and Vogt notched a kill on set-point.

UW-Stevens Point trailed for just two points in the third set. The Pointers connected for three straight kills to take a 4-2 advantage before extending its lead to 21-14 later in the frame. The Titans closed to within 24-22 on a combination block by Jaeke and Vogt, but the Pointers recorded a kill on their fourth set-point.

The Pointers jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the fourth set, but the Titans took their first lead of the final frame at 11-10 on a kill by Thiel. UW-Oshkosh's 9-3 scoring run was aided by a pair of kills by Lemke and five attack errors by the Pointers. Trailing 20-19, the Titans tied the score at 20 on a kill by Vogt and four consecutive UW-Stevens Point errors provided UW-Oshkosh a 24-20 lead. The Pointers staved off one match-point, but a kill by Vogt on the ensuing point secured the upset victory for the Titans.

UW-Stevens Point's Gabby Thomas led all players with 15 kills. Kelly Cefalu and Bella Nelson chipped in 12 kills apiece while Nelson and Kelly Magliano led the Pointers with five blocks.

Brittany Laffin and Abby Majercik both registered 18 assists while sharing setting duties for the Pointers. The UW-Stevens Point back row was paced by 15 digs from Bri Piepenbrok, 14 from Marie Krengel and 10 from Laffin.

UW-Oshkosh competes this weekend at the UW-Whitewater Invitational. The Titans will play Carthage and Loras (Iowa) colleges on Friday (Oct. 21) and 16th-ranked Elmhurst College (Ill.) on Saturday (Oct. 22).