Men’s volleyball sweeps La Crosse Eagles

Jordan Fremstad

Senior Travis Hudson sets the ball against Marquette University. The Titans lost to Golden Eagles in Thursday’s match.
[/media-credit] Senior Travis Hudson sets the ball against Marquette University. The Titans lost to Golden Eagles in Thursday’s match.

The nation’s No. 1 ranked men’s Division I club volleyball team, UW Oshkosh, bounced back from its first loss of the season with a win over the second-ranked Division II Eagles of UW-La Crosse on Feb. 26.

The Titans swept the Eagles in three straight sets, 25-15, 25-18, 25-22, for UWO’s 13th win of the season. Graduate student Brandon Schmidt provided 10 of the Titans’ 39 kills. Senior Peter Nordel had nine kills and sophomore Devin Hudson added six.

Schmidt said the team provided more energy coming off a tough five-set loss to Marquette University on Feb. 23.

“I think we learned a lot from that loss,” Schmidt said. “At the end of the day, they wanted the win more than us, and they put everything on the line to get those small points that could have gone either way. I think it shows us that we need to start and end the game with more energy on our side of the court.”

UWO fell to Marquette in the third meeting between the two programs, snapping the Titans’ 36-match winning streak.

Head coach Brian Schaefer said the team is still searching for an identity and the correct combination on the court amid dealing with some injury obstacles.

“Despite finding success early in the season, we are still trying to find ourselves as a team,” Schaefer said. “Losing the players from last year’s team to graduation and the loss of senior Allen Grunert to injury has been hard to replace on the emotional side of the game. We have the talent; we just need to find a way to mesh that with energy on the court.”

Schaefer said the Golden Eagles did not shy away from the spotlight, and gave them credit for their recent performance.

“It was the classic example of a team that wanted it more than the other,” Schaefer said. “They played great tonight and deserved the victory.”

Schmidt said this loss can be used as a teaching moment for the team.

“Adversity is always important to face for any team,” Schmidt said. “We have had a couple of last year’s starters graduate, as well as a couple of injuries that we are overcoming as a team. Without this test of adversity, we wouldn’t be the program that has had this success for this long.”

Marquette’s defense was superb, holding the Titans to a hitting percentage of .276 and just two service aces. On top of that, UWO had 11 service errors.

On a more positive note, Schmidt led the team with 12 kills, with Devin Hudson and Nordel contributing a combined 22 more. Senior Travis Hudson provided an impressive 45 assists, 10 digs and five blocks.

Senior Michael Wamboldt said the team believes overcoming adversity is important, even citing the Philadelphia 76ers’ philosophy of trusting the process.

“Every year it’s a process to mold into the best team we can be,” Wamboldt said. “This loss is all a part of the process, and we are learning how to handle it as we go. The win against La Crosse showed us that we are still very capable of proving once again that we are the best team in the nation.”

Travis Hudson said there are plenty of things to work on despite coming back with another win.

“We can improve on controlling the game that’s happening outside of the court, and playing with more purpose,” Travis said. “I liked that everyone was having fun.”

Oshkosh faces UW-River Falls on March 4 to continue the push forward to take sole control of the Wisconsin Volleyball Conference. UWO will get another shot at avenging their loss when they face Marquette on March 9.