Volleyball season ends in semifinals

UW Oshkosh held advantages over the second-seeded UW-Whitewater Warhawks in kills, digs and blocks.

Colan Treml, writer

The UW Oshkosh women’s volleyball team lost a highly contested match against UW-Whitewater in the semifinal round of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference league tournament last Thursday.

Ranked fourth in the NCAA Midwest region, UW-Whitewater came into the postseason tournament as the second seed and overthrew the sixth-seeded Titans in set scores of 26-24, 25-22, 24-26 and 25-22.

UW Oshkosh senior Tina Elstner recorded a match-high 18 kills and 28 digs while senior Carly Lemke had 12 kills along with seven blocks. junior Rachel Gardner also captured 23 digs, which pushed her career total over the 1,500 mark.

The Titans, who were making their fifth-straight semifinal appearance in the WIAC tournament, concluded Thursday’s match with advantages in kills (58-56), digs (103-92) and blocks (15-11). Both teams recorded five aces while UW-Whitewater held the advantage in hitting percentage .162 to .136.

Freshman Taylor Allen said the team’s game plan heading into the match was relatively clear and simple.
“Block them strong, stay disciplined on defense and play your heart out,” Allen stated.

UWO and UW-Whitewater traded points throughout the match, keeping the scores close. The largest margin of victory was three points in a match that was tied on 19 different occurrences.
Despite losing close sets, sophomore Rebecca Doughty said that she’s not disappointed with her team’s efforts and that they left it all on the court.

“We fought extremely hard,” Doughty said. “We played really well and so did they, so sometimes that’s just the way it goes.”

The Titans fell short of continuing their historic run in their attempt to be the first sixth-seeded team to ever play in a WIAC championship. The Titans, who won at UW-La Crosse during the first round of the league tournament last week, was the first sixth-seeded team to win a match in postseason play since 1997.

Gardner said she is very optimistic in next year’s team as she returns for her senior year.

“The season did not start out the way we were hoping with multiple injuries and uncharacteristic losses,” Gardner said. “However, as a whole, I think that it is preparing us for the future because now we are prepared for whatever and we know we can adapt to just about any kind of challenge that comes our way.”

The Titans will be returning all but four players next year as they seek to continue their success in 2019.