Warhawks Sweep Titans In WIAC Opener

Nerissa Vogt (left) and McKenna Scott combine to stop a UW-Whitewater scoring attempt.
Nerissa Vogt (left) and McKenna Scott combine to stop a UW-Whitewater scoring attempt.

UW-Oshkosh had its nine-match winning streak snapped with a 3-0 loss to UW-Whitewater in the WIAC women's volleyball opener for both teams on Wednesday (Sept. 21) in Whitewater.

The Warhawks defeated the Titans in set scores of 25-19, 25-18, 25-18.

UW-Whitewater (9-3, 1-0 WIAC) entered the match ranked 14th and UW-Oshkosh (11-3, 0-1) 20th in the NCAA Division III by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.

UW-Whitewater was favored to win this year's WIAC championship over second-place UW-Oshkosh and third-place UW-Stevens Point in a preseason poll conducted by the league's coaches and sports information directors. Last year, UW-Oshkosh and UW-La Crosse shared the WIAC title with 6-1 league records while UW-Whitewater finished third in the standings at 5-2.

UW-Whitewater's Sydney Racky led all players with 11 kills on 18 attempts. Courtney Wagner added 10 kills on 18 swings for the Warhawks, who also received 33 assists and four blocks from Staci Hasler and seven kills and four blocks from Lauren Pfeifer.

The Warhawks' Ashton Doll and Brittany Robinson had a match-high six blocks and 18 digs, respectively.

UW-Whitewater ended the contest with advantages in kills (39-33), hitting percentage (.255 to .124), service aces (10-0), digs (43-38) and blocks (10-3). UW-Oshkosh entered the match leading the country with 125.5 blocks.

UW-Whitewater scored the first five points of the opening set and never trailed while outhitting UW-Oshkosh, .444 to .211, during the frame. The Titans tallied five consecutive points to pull within 11-9 on a pair of kills by Tina Elstner, one kill apiece by Brooke Brinkman and Nerissa Vogt and a UW-Whitewater attack error, but the Warhawks extended their lead to 20-13 on a combination block by Hasler and Wagner.

The Titans took to a 4-1 lead in the second set before the Warhawks stormed back by claiming the next six points for a 7-4 advantage. UW-Oshkosh rallied to knot the score at 13 on a kill by Elstner, but UW-Whitewater received a kill from Wagner for a 15-14 edge and maintained a lead for the remainder of the set. Leading 20-18, the Warhawks recorded the next five points on a pair of kills and three UW-Oshkosh errors.

UW-Whitewater scored 11 of the first 15 points of the final set and owned a lead of at least four points for the rest of the match. The Warhawks had a 14-7 advantage in kills during the last set.

Samantha Jaeke led UW-Oshkosh with eight kills while Brinkman and Vogt chipped in seven apiece. Lexi Thiel collected 27 assists directing the Titan offense, and Elstner contributed five kills and a team-leading nine digs.

UW-Whitewater and UW-Oshkosh have won the most WIAC titles, with the Warhawks earning a league-best 15 championships and the Titans 12. The teams had split their previous four meetings.

UW-Oshkosh is off until hosting UW-Platteville next Wednesday (Sept. 28) in Kolf Sports Center.

Photo courtesy of UW-Whitewater sports information