The Badgers are flying high.
For the first time ever, Wisconsin has topped the American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 poll, taking fifty of 64 first-place votes. This comes after a week of play that saw the Badgers dispatch Rutgers in Piscataway on Wednesday 3-0 and defeat No. 24 Illinois on Saturday in front of a sold-out crowd at the Field House.
Wednesday, Oct. 5 at Rutgers
The Scarlet Knights were no match for Wisconsin as the Badgers swept through Piscataway 3-0 (oh man, is it rough in New Jersey these days). Senior Haleigh Nelson and freshman Molly Haggerty led the way for UW with 11 kills apiece. Lauren Gillis added eight.
Overall the Badgers dominated, winning the first set 25-6 and the second and third sets 25-11. Wisconsin out-killed the Scarlet Knights 44 to 16 and slammed home 11 aces to Rutgers’s one.
Saturday, Oct. 8 vs. Illinois
The Big Ten is stacked this year with nine teams currently residing in the Top 25. One of those, No. 24 Illinois, came to town Saturday with aspirations of knocking off the Badgers in front of a sold-out home crowd of 6,012 at the Field House. The visitors got off to to a pretty good start, taking the second set 25-18 and nearly taking the third as well. The Badgers finished strong, however, and took out the Illini, eventually winning 3-1.
As against Rutgers, the Badgers led the way in aces, topping Illinois 10-1 with Haleigh Nelson and Amber MacDonald each contributing three. Sophomore Tionna Williams continued her huge year, topping her career high in kills with 18. Haleigh Nelson (12) and Kriskova Romana (10) also had double-digit kills. Senior standout Lauren Carlini had 50 assists and 10 digs.
This week, the Badgers meet up with two more ranked teams. No. 3 (and previous No. 1) Minnesota comes to town on Wednesday to face UW in front of an already sold out Field House. That match will be televised on BTN (8 p.m.). Wisconsin travels to Ann Arbor on Saturday for a match with No. 18 Michigan.
Around the (Ranked) Big Ten
- No. 1 Wisconsin: I usually don’t add the Badgers to this section, I just really like saying "No. 1 Wisconsin." The Badgers beat Rutgers 3-0 on Wednesday and Illinois 3-1 on Saturday.
- No. 2 Nebraska: The Huskers defeated Indiana 3-0 and No. 22 Purdue 3-0, both in Lincoln. Senior middle blocker Amber Rolfzen was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week.
- No. 3 Minnesota: The then-No. 1 Gophers fell to Penn State 3-2 in University Park and defeated Northwestern 3-0 in Minneapolis.
- No. 10 Penn State: The Nittany Lions upset Minnesota 3-2 and beat Rutgers 3-0 both at home in University Park. Junior outside hitter Simone Lee was named Big Ten Player of the Week and junior Abby Dettering was named Setter of the Week.
- No. 14 Michigan State: Sparty beat Ohio State 3-0 in East Lansing and Maryland 3-1, also at home.
- No. 18 Michigan: The Wolverines defeated Maryland 3-1 and Ohio State 3-1, both in Ann Arbor. Freshman MacKenzi Welsh was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week.
- No 19 Ohio State: Fresh off their upset of then-No. 1 Nebraska on Oct. 1, the Buckeyes had a rough week in the state of Michigan, falling to MSU in East Lansing 3-0 and UM in Ann Arbor 3-1.
- No. 22 Purdue: The Boilermakers continue to plummet in the polls, losing to unranked Iowa 3-2 in Iowa City and Nebraska 3-0 in Lincoln.
- No. 24 Illinois: The Illini beat Northwestern 3-0 in Evanston before losing to the Badgers on Saturday.