The UW Oshkosh women’s volleyball team had a strong showing in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship Tournament.
The Titans squared off against UW-Stevens Point on Oct. 31 in the first round and UW-La Crosse in the second round on Nov. 2.
After sweeping UWSP in the first match 3-0, the Titans traveled to face the Eagles. Even with putting up a fight and winning the second game to tie the match, UWO dropped the match, 3-1.
Oshkosh made up for its regular season loss to UWSP when the teams faced off in the first round of the WIAC playoffs last Tuesday, Oct. 31.
The Titans claimed victory with a 3-0 final, taking the frames by scores of 26-24, 27-25 and 26-24.
That advanced UWO to the second round where it faced off against UW-La Crosse. Titans’ interim head coach Jon Ellmann said the team’s strengths needed to be capitalized upon heading into its match on Thursday.
“Statistically, we are the second-best blocking team in the country,” Elmann said. “That has given us an ability to stress out our opponents’ primary attackers and create big momentum shifts for us. Our setters are doing a great job of finding them in transition and they are proving to be a handful for even the most defensively sound opponents.”
The Titans and UWL already faced off in the regular season this year.
UWO had a challenge coming its way in the form of La Crosse, who was undefeated in conference. Junior Tina Elstner said even with the previous matchup’s outcome, the team realizes what a difference the season can make for itself.
“Going up against La Crosse, I believe we had the mindset that we could beat them,” Elstner said. “We were all very confident despite losing to them the first time in regular conference play. We practiced hard and were ready to take on the challenge of La Crosse.”
Oshkosh and La Crosse traded frames to start the contest. The Eagles took the first frame 25-13, with the Titans answering in the second, 25-23.
La Crosse would turn up the heat in the third and fourth games, however. The Eagles ended up closing out UWO with scores of 25-15, and 25-18, for a final of 3-1.
The Titans season may have ended without a satisfying result, but they’ve still made great strides this season. Ellmann said there were specific aspects about what impressed him the most this season.
“We have gone through some changes this past season,” Ellmann said. “We have been challenged with what I believe to be the hardest schedule in the country. Throughout all of that I can honestly say that I couldn’t be more proud [of] how each and one of our girls have responded.
Most importantly, they have started to learn what it means to be a true team.”
UWO finished the season at 20-15, and 3-4 in conference. This gave the Titans a fifth-place finish in the conference.
Oshkosh is looking to improve that placing with a few off-season adjustments. Junior Carly Lemke said there are goals the team has set for next year.
“This season has been learning how to work and deal with change and adapting to that as a team,” Lemke said. “For next season I really want to improve on our consistency. I think this year we had a lot of shining moments where we were playing lights out and then we also had moments where we fall apart as a team and couldn’t pull ourselves out of holes.”
Next season, UWO will look to come out of the gates energized for another run at the WIAC Championship.