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Wisconsin volleyball “Comeback Kids” do it again

The Badgers rallied from 2-0 down to defeat Northwestern.

All season long, Wisconsin has displayed grit and resilience on the road, including come-from-behind victories against national powers like Texas and Purdue. On Saturday, the Badgers fought off a challenge from an unexpected source, rallying from 0-2 down to defeat Northwestern in Evanston. Kelli Bates led Wisconsin with a career-high 29 digs against the Wildcats and was named Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week.

The win against the Wildcats comes on the heels of a sweep in Champaign against Illinois on Friday and keeps the No. 3 Badgers (22-3, 14-2 Big Ten) just one game behind No. 1 Nebraska (24-1, 15-1 Big Ten) for the conference lead with four matches left on the schedule. Wisconsin also retained its No. 3 ranking in the RPI.

Wisconsin has three home matches in the next 10 days, with sold-out matches against No. 18 Michigan on Friday, No. 13 Michigan State on Saturday and Iowa on Nov. 23 on the slate before next week’s big end-of-the-year showdown with No. 2 Minnesota in Minneapolis on Nov. 26.

Friday at Illinois

The Badgers swept through Urbana-Champaign on Friday, knocking off the Illini in three sets (25-17, 25-18, 25-21). Illinois struggled to get much going offensively, hitting only .069 for the match.

Lauryn Gillis continued her good form of late, leading with the way with 13 kills. Haleigh Nelson added nine kills of her own, along with seven blocks. Tionna Williams had 10 kills.

Saturday at Northwestern

Evanston has been unkind to the football team over the years and the No. 3 Wisconsin Badgers almost got a taste of that strange brew on Saturday, going down 0-2 before rallying to win 3-2. The second set in particular was a horror show, as the Badgers hit .000 and committed 11 errors while managing only 11 kills.

As has been the case all season, Wisconsin rallied hard, hitting .382 in the third, .275 in the fourth and .381 in the fifth and committing only nine errors combined over the final three sets. In addition to Bates’s 29 digs, Romana Kriskova (18 kills), Molly Haggerty (16 kills, 12 digs) and Lauryn Gillis (13 kills) all came up big in the rally.

Around the (Ranked) Big Ten

  • No. 1 Nebraska: Defeated Iowa 3-0 in Lincoln; defeated Indiana 3-0 in Bloomington.
  • No. 2 Minnesota: Defeated Illinois in Champaign; defeated Northwestern 3-0 in Evanston. Senior outside hitter Sarah Wilhite was named Big Ten Player of the Week.
  • No. 13 Michigan State: Defeated Purdue 3-0 in East Lansing; defeated Michigan 3-1 in East Lansing. Junior middle blocker Alyssa Garvelink was named Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week. Junior Rachel Minarick was named Big Ten Setter of the Week.
  • No. 15 Penn State: Defeated Maryland 3-0 in College Park; lost to Ohio State 3-2 in Columbus.
  • No. 18 Michigan: Defeated Indiana 3-0 in Ann Arbor; lost to Michigan State 3-1 in East Lansing.
  • No. 24 Ohio State: Defeated Rutgers 3-0 in Columbus; defeated Penn State 3-2 in Columbus.