Two ranked foes from the wrong side of Lake Michigan came to town this weekend and Wisconsin volleyball saw them both off, coming away with a pair of critical victories. After dispatching Michigan 3-1 on Friday, the No. 3 Badgers won their ninth match in a row on Saturday, sweeping Michigan State 3-0 in front of the sold-out Field House.
More good news came on Monday as freshman outside hitter Molly Haggerty was named Big Ten Player of the Week and Big Ten Freshman of the Week. Haggerty had 36 kills (5.1 kills per set) against the Spartans and Wolverines and hit .373 for the weekend with a double-double against Michigan. This is her second Big Ten POTW award and fourth Freshman of the Week award this season.
Senior Lauren Carlini also took home Big Ten honors, winning Setter of the Week.
With the wins, the Badgers reclaimed the No. 1 spot in the RPI and kept pace for a Big Ten championship. With just two matches remaining, Wisconsin (24-3, 16-2 Big Ten) trails No. 1 Nebraska (26-1, 17-1 Big Ten) by just a game, though Nebraska has a victory over the Badgers in hand.
Nebraska, Wisconsin and No. 2 Minnesota (23-4, 15-3 Big Ten) get a chance to settle the conference crown on the court this week as the Huskers travel to Minneapolis on Wednesday and the Badgers go on the road to meet the Gophers Saturday night. The end-of-year rivalry match at Minnesota follows the last home match of the season on Wednesday as Wisconsin hosts Iowa at 6 p.m. at the Field House.
NCAA tournament play starts on Dec. 1. The 64-team tournament selection show will be on ESPNU Nov. 27 at 9 p.m. CT. The tournament semifinals and finals will be held in Columbus, Ohio, Dec. 15 and 17.
Friday vs. Michigan
The Badgers’ offense was electric on Friday as Wisconsin hit .344 for the match (including a .405 first set and .500 fourth set). After dropping the first set 25-23, the Badgers rolled the Wolverines 25-18, 25-17, 25-13 for the win. Michigan had single-digit kills in the third and fourth sets, only hitting .026 and .114 respectively.
Freshmen phenom Haggerty (22 kills, 13 digs) led the way, while senior All-American Carlini (58 assists, six blocks, 12 digs), junior Kelli Bates (21 digs) and junior Lauryn Gillis (16 kills) were all big contributors.
Saturday vs. Michigan State
The Badgers swept the then-No. 13 Spartans 25-20, 25-19, 25-23 at a sold-out Field House on Saturday. Michigan State hit a woeful .103 for the match, including .079 and .081 in the second and third matches. Haggerty (14 kills, seven digs), Bates (15 digs) and Tionna Williams (six blocks) all came up big for the home squad.
"They're putting the work in and it's paying off"— Wisconsin Volleyball (@BadgerVB) November 20, 2016
Check out highlights of tonight's sweep over #13 Michigan State!https://t.co/0j99MLgor9
Around the (Ranked) Big Ten
- No. 1 Nebraska: Defeated Penn State 3-0 in Lincoln; defeated Iowa 3-0 in Iowa City.
- No. 2 Minnesota: Defeated Michigan State 3-2 in Minneapolis; defeated Michigan 3-2 in Minneapolis.
- No. 14 Michigan State: Lost to Minnesota 3-2 in Minneapolis; lost to Wisconsin 3-0 in Madison.
- No. 15 Penn State: Lost to Nebraska 3-0 in Lincoln; defeated Purdue 3-0 in University Park.
- No. 18 Michigan: Lost to Wisconsin 3-1 in Madison; lost to Minnesota 3-2 in Minneapolis.
- Ohio State dropped out of the rankings.