Volleyball sweeps Oshkosh Invite

Nathanial Brinkman

Senior Katelyn Malcheski (11) recorded 35 kills in 11 sets during the UW Oshkosh Invitational on Oct. 16 and 17.
[/media-credit] Senior Katelyn Malcheski (11) recorded 35 kills in 11 sets during the UW Oshkosh Invitational on Oct. 16 and 17.

The UW Oshkosh volleyball team lost its first conference game on Wednesday, Oct. 21 falling to UW-Stevens Point on the road after sweeping the Oshkosh Invitational on Oct. 16 and 17. The Titans went into the match undefeated in the conference with a record of 4-0 while UW-Stevens Point entered the game with a conference record of 1-3. Although the Pointers have lost three games in conference, they post a 20-7 overall record.Senior Mandy Trautmann said the game posed for a great opportunity. “They are a good team,” Trautmann said. “It is a good game for us nearing the tournament to see what we need to work on.” UWSP defeated UWO 3-1 with sets of 31-29, 25-14, 21-25 and 25-23. Junior Nerissa Vogt led the Titans with 15 kills. Junior Lexi Thiel recorded 37 assists, and Trautmann recorded 22 digs. The Titans winning streak ultimately extended to six games against two Minnesota schools on Saturday Oct. 17. The Titans completed its three- game sweep of the invitational when they defeated Martin Luther College (Minn.) 3-0 with sets of 25-13, 25-12 and 25-21. In a match where 18 players saw playing time, Vogt led the Titans with nine kills followed by junior Brooke Brinkman with eight. Thiel recorded 23 assists and 13 digs. UWO began play on Saturday as they defeated University of St. Thomas (Minn.) with sets of 25-20, 19-25, 25-15, 19-25 and 15-9. Senior Katelyn Malcheski led the Titans with season-high 22 kills. Thiel recorded 58 assists and Trautmann recorded 28 digs. The Titans began the Invite on Oct. 16 with a victory against regional opponent Illinois Wesleyan University and head coach Brian Schaefer said this was a very important match. “We knew coming in that it would be in our best interest to beat them because if we were to lose to that team, it would be very difficult to get an NCAA bid,” Schaefer said. “Our number one goal was to really concentrate on Illinois Wesleyan.” The Titans accomplished their goal at the tournament as they defeated Illinois Wesleyan 3-2 with sets of 25-21,16-25, 26-24, 15-25 and 15-12. Vogt led the Titans with 15 kills followed by freshman Tina Elstner with 13. Thiel recorded 48 assists and senior Mandy Trautmann recorded 35 digs. While ahead in the fifth set 14-12, Schaefer said Elstner shined in a breakout performance after he made a lineup change, helping lead the Titans to victory. “Elstner was serving,” Schaefer said. “There was no fear in her eyes, she went back there and rifled the ball really close to the net and their passer couldn’t handle the pass. Vogt hit it straight down and we won the match. I want a player that doesn’t have any fear, and that is how I felt when Tina was serving.” Vogt was named UW Oshkosh female athlete of the week and to the All-Tournament team. Schaefer said Vogt once again played a key role in a weekend series for the Titans. “Vogt has always been a pretty good player, but the one thing that we’ve really noticed as far as the coaching staff goes is that this year she is hitting the ball a lot harder,” Schaefer said. “She used to place her shots and not get blocked very often, but now she is really hammering the ball.” Vogt said she worked hard in the offseason to improve her game. “I ran a lot more this summer than in the past and I also did a lot with my dad like making routes and working out outside at a park by our house which has exercise equipment,” Vogt said. “I think doing that with him as well as my sister let us push each other and it was actually enjoyable.” After being recognized twice in a week, Vogt said she was honored. “Being athlete of the week was seriously so exciting,” Vogt said. “Since freshman year, I’ve wanted to see my face up there as I had seen my teammates up there. I was so pleased but you can’t be player of the week without your team.” Trautman was also named to the All-Tournament team, and Schaefer said Trautmann played outstanding throughout the weekend. “Mandy was as good as she has always been,” Schaefer said. “She is a phenomenal libero, and multiple coaches came up to me and said that she was outstanding and we couldn’t hit the ball past her.” The Titans will travel to Illinois Friday, Oct. 23 to play in the 2015 Linda Slagell Classic at Millikin University.