Another week, another tough matchup in Big Ten volleyball.
The Wisconsin Badgers went on the road into the heartland this week and came away with a split, losing to the No. 1 Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln on Friday and defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes in Iowa City on Saturday night.
The Badgers maintained their No. 4 ranking in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Top 25 in the poll released on Monday. Wisconsin has lost to No. 1 Nebraska and No. 3 Minnesota already this year, while defeating No. 2 Texas and No. 5 San Diego in non-conference play. The Badgers dropped to No. 2 in the NCAA RPI Rankings released Monday, replaced in the top slot by the Cornhuskers.
A matchup with No. 9 Penn State looms on Friday at a sold-out Field House. The Badgers can keep their hope of a Big Ten title alive with a victory, as the Nittany Lions lost their first conference match of the season on Saturday against No. 13 Michigan in Ann Arbor. Rutgers comes to Madison on Sunday.
Friday at Nebraska
The Badgers hung tough against the top-ranked Huskers for the first two sets on Friday (25-21, 25-22) before dropping the third 25-15. Tionna Williams led the effort with 11 kills. Nebraska out-hit the Badgers .330 to .179 and out-blocked Wisconsin 10-5.
Saturday at Iowa
Wisconsin bounced back nicely on Saturday, sweeping the Hawkeyes in Iowa City. They ripped out to a quick 2-0 lead and came from behind in the third set to put away Iowa for good.
The Badgers out-hit Iowa .339 to .217 (including a sizzling .483 in the second set) and out-blocked the home squad 7-1. Molly Haggerty led the way in kills with 13, while Haleigh Nelson had four aces and five blocks.
News Around the (Ranked) Big Ten
- No. 1 Nebraska: Defeated Wisconsin 3-0 in Lincoln; defeated Minnesota 3-2 in Lincoln. After knocking off two top-five programs back-to-back, senior middle blocker Amber Rolfzen was named Big Ten Player of the Week, just a week after her sister Kadie received the honor. Senior libero Justine Wong-Orantes was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week and senior Kelly Hunter was named Setter of the Week.
- No. 3 Minnesota: Defeated Iowa 3-2 in Iowa City; lost to Nebraska 3-2 in Lincoln.
- No. 10 Penn State: Defeated Ohio State 3-0 in University Park; lost to Michigan 3-2 in Ann Arbor.
- No. 13 Michigan: Defeated Maryland 3-2 in College Park; defeated Penn State in Ann Arbor. Freshman MacKenzi Welsh was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the third week in a row.
- No. 15 Michigan State: Defeated Rutgers 3-0 in East Lansing; lost to Ohio State 3-0 in Columbus.
- No. 19 Ohio State: Lost to Penn State in University Park; defeated Michigan State in Columbus.
- No. 24(t) Illinois: Defeated Indiana 3-0 in Champaign; lost to Purdue 3-2, also in Champaign.
Purdue dropped out of the rankings this week.