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Volleyball Marches On To Sweet 16
Posted: Friday, November 11, 2005
OSHKOSH - The second-seeded UW-Eau Claire volleyball team defeated WIAC rival and host team UW-Oshkosh to move to round three in the NCAA Division III National Tournament's Midwest Regional here at the Kolf Sports Center. Eau Claire defeated the third-seeded team with finals of 30-26, 30-21, 17-30, and 30-26.
Game one began with both teams establishing leads of around three to four points, but each time the opponents would storm back to make it close. Halfway through, Eau Claire claimed a 16-15 lead which it never relinquished, despite the Titans being within reach for the rest of the first game. The .240 game saw 20 kills and eight errors for Eau Claire. The opponents hit .270 with 15 kills and five errors.
The Blugolds jumped to an early 9-3 lead in the second one. Oshkosh came back to tie the score at 12 all. Later, the Titans came within one after a 5-1 spurt that made it 20-19. Eau Claire then went on a run of its own, scoring ten points to Oshkosh's two to lock up a 30-21 final. The Blugolds hit .308 and totaled 16 kills with four errors. Eau Claire held the Titans to .132 and ten kills with five errors.
Oshkosh came back in game three, however. The Titans went up 16-7 and later 20-12. The score was 25-17 before Oshkosh rattled off five points to win game three. The 14 kill game came with eight errors and a .154 hitting percentage. The Titans hit .424 and posted 17 kills with three errors.
In the finale both teams battled back and forth in the early going. No team held a lead over two points until Oshkosh went up 17-14. The Blugolds stormed back and began to answer every Titan point with two or three of their own. Eau Claire passed Oshkosh at the 23 mark and went on to claim the match. The final game saw Eau Claire hitting .395, making 21 kills and four errors. Oshkosh hit .200, had 15 kills and made seven errors.
Jenny Wolter (Sr.-Osceola) led the team with 21 kills. Jodi Dunbar (Jr.-Platteville) and Molly Menard (Sr.-Eau Claire/Memorial) were next closest, with 14 each. Carly Freiborg (Jr.-Sacred Heart, MN/Renville County West) contributed 52 assists. Eau Claire hit .275 with 71 kills over the Oshkosh numbers of .250 and 57.
The defense put up 60 digs, with Shanna Berger (Jr.-Baldwin/Baldwin-Woodville) having the most at 27. The team also put up 10.0 blocks. The Oshkosh defense performed well with 63 digs and 15.0 blocks.
Eau Claire overcame two All-Americans in the match. Oshkosh had one player, Ashley Fischer, who was selected to the Division III First-Team All-America squad. Leah Rosenbaum was selected to the Third-Team All-America team for the Titans. Menard and Wolter collected honorable mentions for the Blugolds. Eau Claire had faced Oshkosh twice this season. Each team won one, with Eau Claire's victory coming in the WIAC Tournament.
The Blugolds will now face fourth-seeded UW-Whitewater in the Midwest Regional Championship tomorrow, with the winner advancing on to the Elite Eight. Whitewater has defeated fifth-seeded Elmhurst College and top-seeded UW-Platteville in the national tournament. Both games were sweeps. Platteville was the team who put Whitewater out of the WIAC Tournament. Eau Claire did defeat Whitewater in five games during the regular season. The winner of this all-WIAC matchup will go on to face the South Regional champion in the Elite Eight. The match begins at 7:00 p.m.
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