Volleyball closes year 31-6

Courtesy of UWO Athletics-- Riley Kindt attacks the ball during UWO’s match against Otterbein University. Kindt had 10 kills against the Cardinals in Friday’s 3-2 loss in Michigan.

Courtesy of UWO Athletics– Riley Kindt attacks the ball during UWO’s match against Otterbein University. Kindt had 10 kills against the Cardinals in Friday’s 3-2 loss in Michigan.

Nolan Swenson, Sports Co-Editor

UW Oshkosh volleyball fell in the second round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III tournament against Calvin University (Mich.) on Nov. 11.

The team started the NCAA D-III tournament against Otterbein University (Ohio), who the Titans defeated 3-2 on Nov. 10.

The win against Otterbein was by narrow margins, decided by only three points in the final set. 

The first two sets were taken by Oshkosh, by scores of 25-20 and 25-17 respectively. 

In the third set, Otterbein rallied and was able to take the match 25-23. 

The fourth match was an intense struggle, with both teams getting to the 25 mark. 

The match was decided by two Otterbein University points, taking both teams into the fifth and final set. The final set was back and forth through the first third of the match. After that, both teams let loose. 

After the teams began to score multiple points in a row, UWO emerged victorious.

The next day, the Titans ended their postseason against Calvin University in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Calvin University took all three sets against UWO, with dwindling resistance as the sets went along. The scores of the sets were, respectively, 25-22, 25-15 and 25-14. The match booted Oshkosh, along with all other participating University of Wisconsin schools, out of the NCAA D-III tournament.

Carrissa Sundholm, Abby Fregien and coach Jon Ellmann attended the post-game press-conference.

Ellmann congratulated the victor and discussed his pride in the team for how they’ve completed this season.

“First congratulations to Calvin,” Ellman said. “They played clean and aggressive tonight, and I wish them the best as they move along. You never want to see the season come to a close on a loss, but we’re really proud of everyone who we operated with.” 

Ellman also talked about what went wrong in the 3-0 match, with the sets slipping away from Oshkosh as the game progressed.

“Calvin was serving flat, fast and clean and we really struggled to get our offense going,” he said. “It felt like we had to win five points on one swing sometimes, and we never dragged ourselves out of that.”

Fregien said she was really proud of their team.

“[Calvin University] served really well, by far the best I’ve faced,” she said “Their offense was constantly moving us around, and we were never able to get a good offense going.”

Sundholm added: 

“When we were in the system, we were able to run our middles and when we did that we could open our pins. When we’re in that rhythm we play well, but that rhythm slipped up throughout the match.”

Ellmann closed  by talking about what such a strong year means for next season, and what they’ll need to do in order to ensure it.

“We don’t talk about class, but we are a young team,” he said. “To have played this well with a young team, we’re excited to turn around and bring it back. We’ll also have some big shoes to fill next season. Not just in scoring, but in leadership and character, as the seniors we have this year have led a group of incoming freshmen. They introduced the freshmen to standards and culture that we feel are really important. We couldn’t ask any more from that group.”

Ellmann closed with a statement of gratitude.

“I can’t express in words how proud I am of our staff and these 21 amazing women we get to go to work with everyday.”