First place in the WIAC women’s volleyball standings will be on the line when UW-Oshkosh hosts nationally ranked UW-Whitewater on Wednesday (Oct. 23). First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Kolf Sports Center.
UW-Oshkosh (19-6, 4-1 WIAC) would move into a tie atop the league with a win during Wednesday’s penultimate conference match while UW-Whitewater (20-3, 5-0) seeks to clinch its 17th WIAC title outright. UW-Whitewater, which has won 14 straight matches since Sept. 13, enters the contest ranked seventh in the NCAA Division III by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.
UW-Whitewater has won its previous four meetings with UW-Oshkosh, including a 3-1 victory in the most recent matchup during the semifinal round of last year’s WIAC Championship in Whitewater. UW-Oshkosh’s last win in the series was a 3-2 decision on Sept. 23, 2015, in Kolf Sports Center.
UW-Oshkosh boasts a 9-0 home record this season as it attempts to remain in contention for a 14th conference championship and first since sharing the 2016 title with UW-Whitewater and UW-La Crosse. The Titans and Warhawks have combined to claim at least a share of 29 WIAC regular season titles since 1980.
The Titans and their WIAC-leading .217 hitting percentage face the Warhawks’ formidable defense that paces the conference by limiting opponents to a .119 attack rate. UW-Oshkosh, which averages a league-best 1.99 blocks per set on the year, has turned up its performance in conference play, ranking first in the league in kills (13.25) and blocks (2.31) per set, and opponent hitting percentage (.132) during its five WIAC contests.
Samantha Jaeke leads UW-Oshkosh with 309.5 points, 271 kills on a WIAC-best .317 hitting percentage, and 61 blocks this season. Jaeke, a three-time All-WIAC selection, had a career-high 20 kills to reach 1,006 in her career during the Titans’ 3-1 victory over UW-Stout last Saturday (Oct. 19).
Five Titans have recorded more than 100 kills this season, including Carissa Sundholm with 180, Rachel Aasby with 144, Shelby Coron with 137 and Kendall Enyart with 121. Taylor Allen and Kate Nottoli have added 90 and 76 kills, respectively, for UW-Oshkosh. Nottoli (.311), Allen (.292), Enyart (.212) and Coron (.203) are all hitting over .200 on the year.
Emma Kiekhofer and Rebecca Doughty copilot the efficient UW-Oshkosh offense that has hit better than .200 15 times this season. Kiekhofer has dished out 486 assists on the year and Doughty has registered 373 assists. Doughty is tied with Becky Brezen for the team lead with 24 service aces while Kiekhofer follows with 23.
Rachel Gardner, an All-WIAC honoree a year ago, headlines the UW-Oshkosh defense with 440 digs. Sundholm has 199 digs for the Titans, who have also received 136 digs from Kiekhofer, 129 from Doughty and 102 from Brezen. The Titan net defense features eight players with double-digit blocks this year, including Coron with 60, Allen with 41 and Nottoli with 32.
UW-Whitewater is averaging 11.8 kills per set on a .188 hitting percentage. A trio of Warhawk setters have taken turns directing an offense that has hit .210 over their past five matches. KellyAnn Sotiros has amassed 363 assists for the Warhawks while Maggie Streckert has 282 and Paige Manssen 137.
Chloe Buescher has a team-high 269.5 points and 237 kills on .187 hitting with 174 digs for UW-Whitewater.
UW-Whitewater’s Ashton Doll has contributed 184 kills on .283 hitting and a team-leading 93 blocks. Rachel Butterfield is hitting .216 with 170 kills, Emma Aske has 109 kills on .196 hitting, and Erin McNeil has 64 kills in limited action. Butterfield, Doll and McNeil were each All-WIAC selections last season.
Morgan Jensen’s 410 digs and 34 service aces pace UW-Whitewater.
UW-Whitewater has won 11 of the last 13 overall meetings with UW-Oshkosh, but the Titans have a 3-2 record at home against the Warhawks since 2009.