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Titans Split Three-Set Decisions

Renee Rush led the Titans in kills during both matches at Wheaton College.
Renee Rush led the Titans in kills during both matches at Wheaton College.

Carly Lemke and Renee Rush combined for 21 kills on .396 hitting during the nightcap as the UW-Oshkosh women's volleyball team split a pair of 3-0 decisions on Tuesday (Sept. 4) in Wheaton, Ill.

UW-Oshkosh (4-2) bounced back to sweep Edgewood College by scores of 25-15, 25-22, 25-19 after suffering a straight-set loss to host Wheaton College in scores of 25-21, 25-12, 25-18. The Titans won their fifth consecutive match over Edgewood College.

The Titans hit a season-best .212 against Edgewood College and limited the Eagles to a .017 rate. UW-Oshkosh, which committed a season-low 12 attack errors, outhit Edgewood College, .398 to .000 in the first set, .200 to .083 in the second and .105 to -.049 in the third.

UW-Oshkosh also owned advantages in kills (34-29), assists (31-25) and digs (50-48).

Rush finished two kills shy of her career high with 11 against Edgewood College while Lemke hit a season-best .526 by collecting 10 kills on 19 errorless attempts. Lemke and Rush both accounted for a match-high 12 points.

Rachel Gardner, who has led UW-Oshkosh in digs each match this season, recorded 16 in the win over the Eagles after leading all players with 19 against Wheaton College. Gardner extended her WIAC-leading season total to 116 digs.

Edgewood College scored seven of the first 10 points against UW-Oshkosh, but the Titans rallied to claim an 11-9 advantage following back-to-back kills from Rush and Taylor Allen. A string of five straight points, including four on Eagle errors, extended the UW-Oshkosh lead to 16-10. A subsequent six-point surge on the strength of two kills apiece from Lemke and Rush gave the Titans an insurmountable 23-11 cushion.

Neither team led by more than two points in the second set until a kill by McKenna Scott, a service ace from Becky Brezen and an Edgewood College attack error on consecutive points provided the Titans a 22-18 lead. UW-Oshkosh earned set-point at 24-21 on a kill from Rush, and Rush ended the frame two points later with another termination.

The Titans, who swept the Eagles for the first time since 2012, never trailed in the final set after scoring five straight points for a 5-2 advantage. UW-Oshkosh then used a pair of four-point runs to take leads of 12-8 and 20-14. A combination block by Shelby Coron and Ellie Wanous set up match-point at 24-18, and a kill by Coron concluded the match.

UW-Oshkosh's McKenna Micech established a career high with a match-best 16 assists. Lemke and Scott both added a match-high four blocks while Becky Brezen had two service aces to tie for the WIAC lead with 11 on the year.

Mackenzie Doherty led Edgewood College (1-4) with seven kills and two blocks.

Against Wheaton College, the Titans scored the first seven points of the match but never held a lead after the Thunder reclaimed an 18-17 advantage in the opening set.

UW-Oshkosh's match-opening run featured two kills from Rush and a service ace by Gardner. The Thunder knotted the score at 12 and seized control with a four-point run for a 19-17 lead in the opening frame. Clinging to a 22-21 edge, Wheaton College recorded the final three points on consecutive kills from Madeline Moore and a Titan attack error.

Wheaton College (4-0), which went on to build leads of 16-8 in the second set and 17-7 in the third frame, finished the contest with advantages in kills (44-24), hitting percentage (.230 to -.016), assists (40-21), digs (63-58) and blocks (10-4).

Moore and Colleen Smith paced the Thunder with 11 kills apiece. Smith added 14 digs and six blocks.

Alecia Funk and Kelly Thornton dished out 16 and 14 assists, respectively, while copiloting the Wheaton College offense. The Thunders' Jess Bosse collected a match-best 18 digs while Ellie Brown registered seven blocks.

Rush had eight kills to lead the Titans, who received service aces from Gardner, Rebecca Doughty, Kendall Enyart and Katie Hodges.

UW-Oshkosh conducts its home opener when it hosts the Pizza Hut Classic this weekend (Sept. 7-8) in Kolf Sports Center. The Titans open the eight-team tournament against Elmhurst College (Ill.) and Lakeland University on Friday.

Photo courtesy of Wheaton College Sports Information