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No. 3 Wisconsin volleyball keeps rolling

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The Badgers started Big Ten play 2-0 in front of sold-out crowds.

Junior Kelli Bates
Nicole Haase

It was another weekend of sweeps for the No. 3 Wisconsin Badgers.

Kicking off Big Ten play, UW pitched a couple of 3-0 shutouts at the Field House this weekend, knocking off No. 19 Ohio State on Friday and Maryland on Saturday. Defense came up big in both matches, leading to more accolades for sophomore Tionna Williams, who was once again named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Monday.

Saturday, Sept. 24 vs. Maryland

One of the striking thing about this year’s Badgers is the class balance and it was on display again on Saturday against the Terps. Freshmen Molly Haggerty and M.E. Dodge each had nine digs, with fellow frosh Sarah Dodd adding four of her own. Senior Haleigh Nelson (11) and redshirt senior Romana Kriskova (nine) led the way in kills.

Senior Lauren Carlini had four straight service aces in the first set, helping the Badgers to a big early lead. Maryland never recovered, as the Terps only led once in three sets.

Fittingly, the match ended on a block.

Friday, Sept. 23 vs. No. 19 Ohio State

It was a Friday-night block party for the Badgers in a sold-out Field House. The UW defense was on display against Ohio State, with Williams (eight blocks), Kelli Bates (seven) and Nelson (six) leading the way. Both Williams and Bates tied career highs. Overall, the Badgers held Ohio State to just a .115 hitting percentage.

Senior Lauren Carlini and senior Haleigh Nelson go in for the block against the Buckeyes.
Nicole Haase

Each Badger starting hitter had five or more kills. Bates had nine , while Romana Kriskova (eight), Nelson (six), Haggerty (six) and Williams (five) all contributed. Senior Carlini extended her school record for double-doubles to 63 with 30 assists and 14 digs.

Sophomore Tionna Williams on Friday against Ohio State.
Nicole Haase

Badger fans came out in force on Friday and by all accounts the Field House was deafening.

“The one play that Lauren got the kill on and Molly [Haggerty] had a bunch of ridiculous saves, it was so loud that I almost couldn’t hear anything,” Bates said. “Everybody was just screaming and running around. It was so crazy. Those kind of momentum shifts make it so much easier to keep the momentum going. The Field House makes a huge difference.”

Here’s the play:

Coach Kelly Sheffield was pretty impressed.

This weekend, the Badgers take a trip to the Hoosier State for a Friday matchup with No. 14 Purdue in West Lafayette (7 p.m.) and a Saturday match against Indiana in Bloomington (5 p.m.). UW returns home Oct. 8 for a matchup against Illinois.

Senior setter Lauren Carlini and freshman Sarah Dodd sing Varsity with the Badger faithful after Friday’s big win.
Nicole Haase

Around the (ranked) Big Ten

  • No. 1 Nebraska defeated then-No. 22 Michigan (3-0) and then-No. 20 Michigan State (3-2). Setter Kelly Hunter was named Big Ten Setter of the Week.
  • No. 2 Minnesota defeated Maryland (3-0) and Ohio State (3-1). Outside hitter Sarah Wilhite was named Big Ten Player of the week.
  • No. 14 Purdue lost to Illinois (3-2) and defeated Indiana (3-0).
  • No. 16 Penn State defeated Rutgers (3-0) and Northwestern (3-0).
  • No. 18 Michigan State defeated Iowa (3-0) and lost to Nebraska (3-2).
  • No 19 Ohio State lost to the Badgers (3-0) and Minnesota (3-1).
  • No. 22 Michigan lost to Nebraska (3-0) and defeated Iowa (3-1).
  • No. 24 Illinois entered the AVCA Top 25 with wins over Purdue (3-2) and Rutgers (3-0).