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Wisconsin volleyball splits a pair of ranked matches

The Badgers dropped to No. 4 after a loss to Minnesota.

A top-10 clash of Big Ten powers. A heartbreaking loss.

The football team was not the only UW program to experience a stinging defeat last week as the volleyball team dropped a Wednesday matchup with Minnesota 3-0 at a sold-out Field House.

The Badgers, who held the top spot in the AVCA Top 25 last week, bounced back nicely on Saturday night, however, knocking off No. 16 Michigan on the road in Ann Arbor 3-2. The match was coach Kelly Sheffield’s 100th victory.

The Badgers dropped from No. 1 to No. 4 in the AVCA Top 25 on Monday. However, they remained atop the RPI.

Wednesday vs. Minnesota

The heralded No. 1 vs. No. 3 matchup on Wednesday didn’t live up to the hype as the Gophers dominated the Badgers 3-0 in Madison. The Badgers offense never really got going, posting negative hitting percentages in both the first and third sets. The Gophers out-killed the Badgers 45-32 and dominated blocks 14-3.

Not much else to be said on this one. For the first time all season, UW looked out of sorts all match. The Badgers will have a chance to get the Gophers back later this year in Minneapolis over Thanksgiving weekend.

Saturday at Michigan

UW turned things around Saturday night in Ann Arbor, defeating Michigan 3-2. The Badgers ripped out to a 2-0 lead before dropping to straight sets to let the Wolverines back into the match. UW closed out strong, however, finishing UM in the fifth set to give Sheffield a career-defining 100th victory.

The Badger offense was back in sync as Molly Haggerty (13), Romana Kriskova and Lauryn Gillis all finished with double=digit kills. Kelli Bates added 24 digs and Lauren Carlini had 12 to go along with 44 assists, five blocks and three aces.

It was a big victory leading into this week as the Badgers travel to Lincoln to face No. 1 Nebraska on Friday. The Cornhuskers regained the top spot this week after surrendering it a few weeks back. Nebraska is a deep and dangerous team (standard practice in a Big Ten with nine teams in the Top 25), boasting this week’s Big Ten Player of the Week in Kadie Rolfzen. Things should be rocking in Lincoln as the Huskers lead the nation in attendance, drawing greater than 8,000 fans a match.

Around the (Ranked) Big Ten

  • No. 1 Nebraska: Defeated Ohio State 3-1 in Columbus; defeated Maryland 3-0 in College Park.
  • No. 3 Minnesota: Defeated the Badgers 3-0 in Madison; lost to Michigan State 3-2 in East Lansing.
  • No. 9 Penn State: Defeated Purdue 3-0 in West Lafayette; defeated Indiana 3-0 in Bloomington; received a first-place vote from an overzealous AVCA voter.
  • No. 11 Michigan State: Lost to Illinois 3-0 in Champaign; defeated Minnesota 3-2 in East Lansing.
  • No. 16 Michigan: Defeated Northwestern 3-0 in Evanston; lost to UW 3-2 in Ann Arbor. Setter MacKenzi Welsh named Big Ten Freshman of the Week.
  • No. 19 Ohio State: Lost to Nebraksa 3-1 in Columbus; defeated Iowa 3-0 in Columbus.
  • No. 22 Illinois: Defeated Michigan State 3-0 in Champaign; defeated Northwestern 3-0 in Champaign. Junior libero Brandi Donnelly named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week; Jordyn Poulter named Setter of the Week.
  • No. 24 Purdue: Lost to Penn State 3-0 in West Lafayette; defeated Rutgers 3-0 in West Lafayette.