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 plays in Midwest Ten

The UW Oshkosh men’s club volleyball team swept all five matches to once again secure the Midwest Ten regular season championship and the tournament championship on Feb. 18 in Dekalb, IL.

The Titans avenged their 2016 season when they took second place in the Midwest Ten (regular season and tournament), halting a 13-year run of winning at least the regular season or the conference championship.

UWO knocked out Ball State University (25-14, 25-5) (quarterfinal 25-14, 25-16), No. 25 Northern Illinois (25-19, 25-15), Illinois State University (25-17, 25-23), and No. 13 Marquette University (27-25, 25-16).

Senior captain Travis Hudson shined in the sweep of the Northern Illinois Huskies, delivering 16 assists, four kills and three digs, while sophomore Tony D’Acquisto had four kills and senior Joe Kuchler helped with six digs.

In a win over the Ball State Cardinals, the Titans had a hitting percentage of .571 to go along with 23 kills on 34 attempts. Seven of those kills came from D’Acquisto, along with two blocks. Kuchler added seven digs, senior Sammy Pederson pitched in five kills and freshman Nick Davies provided two blocks.

Hudson said the team’s offensive strength helps it win games.

“Our team is very spread out when it comes to offensive threats,” Hudson said. “Some teams only have one or maybe a couple players able to do damage on the offensive side, but our team is solid in every position, which provides me with endless options of people to set and pick up assists from.”

UWO came up with another victory in another quarterfinal match against Ball State, led by senior Peter Nordel, who had eight kills and five blocks.
Pedersen was up to the challenge as well, supplying five service aces and four kills. Davies also chipped in, tallying 11 assists and five kills.

The semifinal match against Illinois State University proved to be the toughest of the day. The Titans surpassed the Redbirds and reached the conference championship match for a staggering 13th time in the last 14 seasons. The valiant effort was led by senior captain Michael Wamboldt’s six digs along with Pedersen and Brandon Schmidt’s combined six service aces.

Balanced offense helped the Titans knock off the 13th-ranked team in Marquette, where six players found themselves with at least three kills. UWO sophomore Devin Hudson had six kills and two blocks. Travis Hudson contributed 15 assists, four digs and three blocks in an impressive performance.
Sophomore Jake Martin had a team-leading seven digs and Pedersen gave five more kills and two service aces to put the Titans back on top of the Midwest Ten.

Wamboldt said his team always finds ways to bounce back when the lights are bright.

“This team never ceases to amaze me,” Wamboldt said. “Our team is full of new faces this season and it’s great that we are able to find the same result. I think our team has grown older from last year. Due to all the new faces on D-I, the veterans have done a great job bringing them in and guiding them through what it means to be a D-I player at Oshkosh.”

Travis said a season ago the team hit a roadblock and didn’t perform as well as this program is accustomed to playing. However, he talked about how the team has put that in the rear-view mirror and is coming together at a prime time of season.

“Last year we hit a rough patch during that tournament,” Travis said. “We as a team didn’t play well, and it just so happened to occur during Midwest Ten. This time around we were and are on the upward rise after having a slow start to the season. Our team is finally set and starting our push to be at top performance when nationals come around. Luckily for us, our low point didn’t involve picking up three losses like it did last year.”
UWO head coach Brian Schaefer said he was thrilled with how his team responded when a play was needed.
“The Midwest Ten Championship is back at Oshkosh,” Schaefer said. “The guys had a few ups and downs on the day, but when clutch plays were needed they once again came though.”

Schaefer talked about the variety of people who helped make this championship a reality.

“The best thing about our wins is that many people contributed,” Schaefer said. “Our defense and passing was very good and to hold Illinois State University and a very good serving Marquette University without a service ace is pretty impressive.”

The Titans have had plenty of success in years past and despite being a team with many new faces, Travis said that doesn’t cost this team any extra motivation.

“Last year was the first time in my career where we did not win the regular season or playoff championship for Midwest Ten,” Travis said. “This year we have a lot of new guys on the team, only myself and three others could say we have won Midwest Ten before. That alone is motivation to get back on top of the conference and reclaim the title.”

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