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Spartans Hold Off Titans For Five-Set Win

Rachel Gardner tallied a career-best 38 digs against the Spartans.
Rachel Gardner tallied a career-best 38 digs against the Spartans.

University of Dubuque held on for a 3-2 home win over the UW-Oshkosh women's volleyball team despite career-best performances by Titans Samantha Jaeke and Rachel Gardner on Friday (Sept. 27) at the River City Classic in Dubuque, Iowa.

University of Dubuque (9-7) slipped past UW-Oshkosh in set scores of 25-17, 25-23, 17-25, 20-25, 15-13. University of Dubuque, which snapped a four-match losing streak against the Titans, is the defending postseason champion in the American Rivers Conference. UW-Oshkosh is now 27-11 (2-1 in 2019) in five-set matches over the last six seasons.

Jaeke recorded a career-high 22.5 points and 19 kills on .316 hitting to go along with a team-leading four blocks for the Titans. Gardner led all players with 38 digs, which eclipsed her previous career high of 33 established in 2017. Jaeke set her prior career best of 17 kills earlier this season. Gardner's 38 digs ties for the sixth best total in UW-Oshkosh history and are the most by a Titan since Mandy Trautmann had a program record 47 in five sets on Nov. 6, 2015.

Rachel Aasby added 10 kills for the Titans while Taylor Allen and Carissa Sundholm chipped in eight kills apiece, and Shelby Coron had seven. Sundholm contributed a season-best 17 digs.

UW-Oshkosh's Emma Kiekhofer and Rebecca Doughty dished out 26 and 18 assists, respectively.

Grace Kintze paced University of Dubuque with 15 kills.

Kara Wright produced 14 kills and 20 digs for the Spartans, who also received 13 kills and 10 digs from Darby Hawtry, a match-high 39 assists from Kate Messino and a team-best 35 digs from Grace Strawser.

University of Dubuque concluded the match with advantages of 57-55 in kills, .161 to .149 in hitting percentage, 101-95 in digs and 5-2 in service aces. UW-Oshkosh held a 8-4 edge in blocks, and both teams registered 54 assists.

The Spartans hit .343 on the way to winning the first set. UW-Oshkosh scored the first four points of the match, but University of Dubuque rallied to tie at 7 before taking the lead for good 12-11 on a Rylee Andresen kill. Leading 15-13, the Spartans closed out the frame with a 10-4 scoring run.

UW-Oshkosh owned a 19-17 lead in the second set until University of Dubuque responded with five points in a row, including three straight via Titan errors. The Titans knotted the set for the 13th and final time at 23 following a pair of Spartan errors, but University of Dubuque claimed a 2-0 advantage on a kill from Wright.

The Titans never trailed during the third set after claiming a 3-2 lead. Back-to-back kills by Allen and Sundholm provided UW-Oshkosh a 10-4 cushion, and a Jaeke termination gave the Titans a 21-17 lead that sparked a string of five unanswered points to finish the set. UW-Oshkosh tallied its final two points of the frame on a Jaeke kill and a Coron solo block.

University of Dubuque had a 15-12 advantage in the fourth set, but the Titans remained in the match by scoring four consecutive points for a 16-15 edge. Tied at 18, UW-Oshkosh reclaimed the lead to stay on a Spartan error that was followed by kills from both Jaeke and Aasby. The Spartans cut their deficit to 22-20 before Jaeke and Aasby countered with kills once again to send the match to a fifth set.

The Spartans jumped out to leads of 4-1 and 7-3 during the final set in which UW-Oshkosh hit .000. However, a solo block by Coron allowed the Titans to pull within 12-11, and Aasby notched a kill that tied the score at 12. University of Dubuque then answered with kills from Hawtry and Hintze on the next points before securing the match two points later on another Hawtry kill.

UW-Oshkosh concludes play at the River City Classic on Saturday (Sept. 28) with matches against Loras College (Iowa) and Carroll University.