Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Volleyball prepares for tourney

The UW Oshkosh women’s volleyball team fell to UW-La Crosse last Thursday in the semifinals of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament.

Despite the loss, Oshkosh did well enough in the regular season to earn one of the 21 at-large bids to the NCAA tournament. UWO (28-7) travels to Whitewater today to compete against Bluffton University of Ohio (23-8) in the first round.

Last year, the Titans were a co-champion of the conference along with La Crosse. Oshkosh had a 6-1 conference record and an overall record of 26-9. After having a bye in the first round of the WIAC tournament, the Titans fell to UW-Stevens Point in five sets. Oshkosh failed to get an automatic bid, and controversially, did not get an at-large bid either.

Senior Lexi Thiel said getting a bid this year makes up for the disappointment of not getting one last year.

“It feels great, obviously,” Thiel said. “I felt we were really deserving of it this year and I hope we prove that.”

Before confirming the team earned the bid, Head coach Brian Schaefer said he felt confident about getting it. In the past, the NCAA typically took two teams within the region, not including the automatic bid.

“I thought we would be in because of our regional rankings last week,” Schaefer said. “Because we were ranked third and lost to La Crosse who was ranked ahead of us and Elmhurst lost to Millikin, I knew no team would flop ahead of us.”

In the conference tournament Thursday, UWO fell in four sets to UW-La Crosse, 17-25, 25-21, 24-26 and 18-25.

Oshkosh scored the first point of the first match on a kill from freshman Samantha Jaeke, but the Titans trailed the Eagles for the rest of the set.

La Crosse built their lead to 11-3 after a six-point run. Four of the six points came from Titan errors: one service error and three attack errors. A kill from freshman Shannon Herman stalled the run, but not for long.

At 20-9, La Crosse held their biggest lead of the match with an 11-point margin. Oshkosh fended off two match points at 24-16 and 24-17 with a kill from Herman, but an attack error put the Titans down one set.

The Eagles snatched the first point of the second set with a kill by Maddie Entinger. Jaeke tied the score back up with a kill, but La Crosse took advantage of some service errors to lead 10-6.

Senior Nerissa Vogt recorded a kill to come within three at 7-10 and then a block to trail by one. After a little stumble, a kill from Vogt combined with two aces from sophomore Tina Elstner, brought the team back within one again.

The Titans kept pace with the Eagles until tying the set 19-19 off of an Eagles attack error. A block from Vogt gave the Titans a lead they would hold the rest of the set.

Vogt smashed a kill to give UWO the set point, and she, along with Jaeke, put up a block to tie the match up at one set a piece.

Vogt attributed the momentum late in the second set to the defense and blocking. Vogt recorded four solo blocks and five combination blocks.

“We got out there on our blocks and got into game mode,” Vogt said. “We got the jitters out, mainly.”

Again, Jaeke recorded a kill to give Oshkosh the first point of the third set, but La Crosse took the lead back. At one time in the match, the Eagles lead 16-10 from a service ace from Stephanie Henk.

However, the Titans fought back, just as they did late in the second set. The set was tied 18-all after an attack error from the Eagles. A kill from Vogt gave the Titans the lead 19-18, but two kills later, they trailed again.

UWO fought to tie the set at 21, 22 and 24 before a service error from Jaeke and kill from Ashley Entinger doused the Titans’ comeback.

The fourth set looked promising as the Titans grabbed the lead with a kill from Vogt. They extended their lead to 8-3 on a kill from sophomore Carly Lemke. The Eagles, however, tied the set up at eight after an ace from Halle Barnabo. La Crosse took a small lead with a service error.

Oshkosh regained the lead at 12-11 only to lose it again at 15-16 due to an attack error. The Eagles held the lead the rest of the set and closed out the match winning 25-18.

Herman lead the team with 12 kills and Vogt, Elstner and Jaeke each put up an additional nine. Thiel totaled 37 assists and Elstner had 10 digs.

If the Titans can make it to the quarterfinals by beating Bluffton University, they will be playing on their home court again, as UW Oshkosh hosts the championship in Kolf.

Elstner said the team is motivated to do well in the tournament regardless of the location, but is excited for the chance to play at home.

“Hosting the quarterfinals is just a bonus,” Elstner said. “I think it will push us to do better this week so we can come back to our home court where we are most comfortable and play our best.”

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