Men’s volleyball sweeps Warhawks, Pioneers

Brady Van Deurzen

The UW Oshkosh men’s volleyball team remains undefeated in conference, as it beat UW-Whitewater and UW-Platteville. The Titans remained atop the Wisconsin Volleyball Conference March 5 when it swept fourth-place Platteville with set scores of 25-16, 25-10 and 25-13. With the victory against Platteville, the Titans extended its set record to 33-1 in the conference with a perfect 11-0 match record. The second win of the week versus Platteville was fueled behind senior middle-blocker Tyler Range, who generated a .900 hitting average, recorded nine kills on 10 attempts and added five blocks in the match. Range said although he and his team performed very well against Platteville, there was still a sense of uncertainty. “I feel like our team chemistry was put to the test, and we proved to ourselves that there was nothing to worry about,” Range said. “We’re not going to win every single time, and we know that, so we just had to settle in a bit.” Junior right-side hitter Allen Grunert recorded seven kills and four blocks from the right side. However, he believes there are still things he needs to get better at. “As an individual I think that I played O.K.,” Grunert said. “There is so much room for improvement before we get to nationals, and it’s one step at a time.” After Grunert’s contributions and the Titans’ win, Grunert said he was impressed by the competition they were able to face. “Every chance we get to play can be used as a growing experience,” Grunert said. “It is nice getting new competition in the gym and trying out free ball plays, reading hitters or hitting different shots. Every game we play is another step closer to nationals, and we can always be working on something.” Senior left-side hitter Alec Redlich and freshman middle back Eaven Mason also made contributions in the Platteville game. Redlich provided seven kills and two service aces, and Mason totaled five kills and four blocks. In all, the Titans recorded 38 kills, 11 service aces, 24 digs and 19 blocks. Oshkosh also beat UW-Whitewater 25-18, 25-14 and 25-17 on March 2. Grunert and Range were contributors in the Titans win over Whitewater as well, with Grunert totaling nine kills on 12 attempts and Range recording two service aces and three blocks. Coach Brian Schaefer said both Range’s and Grunert’s performances were keys to their victories. “Our focus is using different people now,” Schaefer said. “Allen Grunert and Tyler Range need to be our offensive leaders.” According to Schaefer, injuries to others players are causing people like Grunert and Range to step up more than last year. Senior setter Travis Hudson totaled 28 assists and seven kills in the game, however, he believes his success all started with his teammates. “I just know if the ball is in the right place my hitters can put it away,” Hudson said. “Our passing was good which made it easier for me to set the ball. My job is to allow them to have a chance to get a kill, I did my part and they did theirs.” The Titans finished the match with 38 kills, 9.5 blocks and 25 digs. According to Range, Oshkosh ended its week very successfully against two very good conference rivals. “Both Whitewater and Platteville are good teams and every match that we play is always geared towards fine-tuning our mechanics to get ready for nationals,” Range said. “But playing a conference rival is always good way to keep us on our toes and play together as a team.”