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Titans Defeat Nationally Ranked Eagles

Renee Rush totaled 22 kills on Saturday, including 13 in the Titans' victory over ninth-ranked University of Northwestern.
Renee Rush totaled 22 kills on Saturday, including 13 in the Titans' victory over ninth-ranked University of Northwestern.

Renee Rush recorded 22 kills, Carly Lemke had 13 blocks and Samantha Jaeke tallied a triple-double in the nightcap as the UW-Oshkosh women's volleyball team defeated Bates College (Maine) and nationally ranked University of Northwestern (Minn.) at the UW-Oshkosh Invitational on Saturday (Oct. 21) in Kolf Sports Center.

UW-Oshkosh (17-14) ousted first-time opponent Bates College, 3-0, in set scores of 25-20, 25-15, 25-23 before upsetting University of Northwestern, 3-1, in scores of 18-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-23.

University of Northwestern (27-6), which advanced to the semifinals of last year's NCAA Division III Championship, entered the contest ranked ninth in the country by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).

The Titans concluded the UW-Oshkosh Invitational with a 3-0 record, including a 3-1 decision over Carthage College on Friday (Oct. 20).

In the triumph over University of Northwestern, Jaeke registered 10 kills, 27 assists and 10 digs for her third triple-double of the season as the Titans overcame deficits of 21-19 in the third set and 23-21 in the fourth.

Tina Elstner led UW-Oshkosh with 14 kills while Rush added 13 terminations, and Lemke produced 10 kills and a match-high six blocks.

Rebecca Doughty amassed 23 assists while co-piloting the Titan offense with Jaeke, and UW-Oshkosh's Rachel Gardner led all players with 17 digs.

University of Northwestern owned a 14-6 advantage in service aces and a 64-61 edge in digs, but UW-Oshkosh outhit the Eagles, .244 to .199, and produced more kills (57-55), assists (55-48) and blocks (10-6).

UW-Oshkosh led for just one point during the opening set. The Eagles reclaimed the lead to stay at 5-4, extended their advantage to 17-11 and led by at least four points for the remainder of the frame despite both teams hitting .170.

The Titans raced out to a 6-1 lead and never trailed in Set 2. A kill and a service ace from Shelby Coron, and terminations from both Elstner and Jaeke sparked the fast start, but the Eagles pulled within 17-16 following an ace of their own. Clinging to a 22-20 advantage, UW-Oshkosh tallied the final three points of the set on a kill by Rush, a combination-block by Coron and Rush, and a service ace by Doughty.

Neither team led by more than three points for the duration of the third set, and UW-Oshkosh didn't claim its first lead of the frame until the 43rd serve. The Titans tied the set for the fifth time at 15 on a kill from Brianna Witter. However, University of Northwestern regained control at 19-16 on the strength of a pair of service aces and a kill during a 4-1 scoring run. The Eagles held a 21-19 lead, but a University of Northwestern attack error preceded a service ace from Elstner, a solo block from Lemke, a double-block from Lemke and Rush, and a kill from Lemke as the Titans surged for a 24-21 advantage. The Eagles staved off one set-point before Lemke notched a kill to cap the frame.

The Eagles opened Set 4 with a 5-2 lead, but UW-Oshkosh answered with six straight points for an 8-5 advantage. The Titans expanded their lead to 16-12 on a kill by Jaeke before University of Northwestern tallied six of the next seven points to retake an 18-17 advantage. Facing a 23-21 deficit, UW-Oshkosh rallied to tie the score at 23 following back-to-back kills by Elstner. Jaeke then delivered a service ace to reach match-point at 24-21, and Elstner secured the upset victory with a kill on the ensuing point.

University of Northwestern's Lindsey Peterson, the reigning AVCA Division III Player of the Year, had a team-leading 14 kills and 16 digs.

Mariah Halvorsen added 12 kills for the Eagles, who also received 10 kills from Kaylee Fuglestad, a match-high 42 assists from Leesa Malone, and 12 digs and a match-best four service aces from Freya Hanson.

In the win over Bates College, UW-Oshkosh trailed for just one point over the first two sets before erasing a 20-19 deficit in the third.

Jaeke narrowly missed another triple-double against the Bobcats, recording nine kills, 11 assists and nine digs while hitting .600 on 15 errorless attempts.

Rush also contributed nine kills on .320 hitting while Lemke hit .333 with six kills and seven blocks. Gardner once again paced the Titan back row with 10 digs, and Doughty dished out a team-high 12 assists.

Bates College (10-11) and UW-Oshkosh both compiled 30 kills while the Bobcats held advantages in assists (29-27), service aces (8-2) and digs (52-50). The Titans withstood the statistical disadvantages by outhitting Bates College, .204 to .043 and winning the block category, 9-0.

The Bobcats owned a 6-5 lead in the first set, but a Bates College service error provided the Titans an 8-7 advantage they wouldn't relinquish until the third set. A Bobcat kill trimmed UW-Oshkosh's lead to 12-11, but the Titans received consecutive double-blocks from Lemke and Witter, and Elstner and Lemke for a 15-11 advantage. A kill by Rush increased the UW-Oshkosh lead to 20-14, and the Titans scored their last five points of the set on a kill from Lemke and four Bates College errors.

UW-Oshkosh jumped out to a 7-1 lead in Set 2 behind a pair of kills from Elstner, a kill from Rush, a service ace from Coron, and a combination-block from Lemke and Rush. Bates College closed to within 9-7 before three double-blocks and two kills by Rush keyed an 8-3 scoring run for a 17-10 UW-Oshkosh lead. Consecutive Bates College ball-handling errors pushed the Titans' advantage to 19-11, and Rush ended the frame with a kill 10 points later.

The Titans strung together nine straight points to claim an 11-6 lead in the third set, but the Bobcats rallied to take an 18-16 advantage following six consecutive UW-Oshkosh errors. Another Titan error allowed Bates College to tie the score at 22. However, UW-Oshkosh answered with back-to-back kills from Coron and Jaeke to take a 24-22 advantage. The Bobcats recorded a kill to thwart one match-point, but a kill by Jaeke on the following point preserved the Titans' ninth 3-0 victory of the year.

Bates College's Taylor Stafford-Smith had a match-high 13 kills and 15 digs.

Jacqueline Forney registered a match-best 28 assists and two service aces for the Bobcats, and Gabi Eustache chipped in 15 digs.

Elstner and Lemke represented the Titans on the 12-member UW-Oshkosh Invitational All-Tournament Team. Elstner led the Titans with 30 kills in their three matches while adding 26 digs and seven blocks. Lemke recorded 20 kills and a team-high 17 blocks during the weekend.

Other members of the All-Tournament Team were Peterson from University of Northwestern, Megan Behrendt and Shannon Kibisek from Carthage College, Tyler Brown and Maddie Williams from Illinois Wesleyan University, April Gehl and Abby Majercik from UW-Stevens Point, Alana Geymer from University of Texas at Dallas, Madelyn Pashibin from UW-Eau Claire, and Sydney Racky from UW-Whitewater.

UW-Oshkosh returns to WIAC play at UW-Platteville on Wednesday (Oct. 25).

UW-Oshkosh Invitational