L (1-3) @ Ohio State
No. 7 Wisconsin was up 24-21 and they probably didn’t deserve it. At that point, they had five unforced attack errors, three service errors, three blocked attacks and gave up a service ace to boot. About half of the Buckeyes’ points were from Wisconsin shooting themselves in the feet, but the Badger attack was thriving with 17 kills to get them to set point.
Then Elle Sandbothe got a kill, Dana Rettke got two sent back around an Ohio State ace, and the other team had match point. It took a little extra time to get to 29-27 Ohio State, but that was how close Wisconsin was to pulling out the first set, and possibly the match.
Overall, even though the Badgers had seven more kills (mostly from their excellence in the first set), where they really kicked the bucket was the service line. Wisconsin had three aces to nine errors, compared to Ohio State’s 10 aces and five errors, and that 11 point swing is what ended Wisconsin’s undefeated conference record.
#NCAAVB Photo of the Week@OhioStateWVB upset No. 4 Wisconsin in four sets Friday, which handed the Badgers their first loss in @B1GVolleyball play and snapped their 12-match win streak. It was the first win over the Badgers since 2017 and the first at home since 2015. pic.twitter.com/2JBSJpW6mh— NCAA Volleyball (@NCAAVolleyball) November 11, 2019
They didn’t take Wisconsin’s volleyball account. That was kind.
W (3-0) @ Maryland
Maryland might have been a turtle without its shell the way Wisconsin took out their frustrations. 25-18, 25-13, 25-13 barely does the domination full justice. The Badgers hit .406, their second best mark of the year and held the Terrapins to .045, the best mark for Wisconsin’s defense and the worst mark for Maryland’s attack all year. You can’t undo a loss, but you can certainly move on from one.
Elsewhere Around The Conference
No. 23 Michigan took down No. 25 Illinois and No. 8 Penn State beat No. 16 Purdue in ranked-on-ranked match ups, meaning the only loss in the top-five of the conference standings belonged to Wisconsin. No. 5 Minnesota and No. 6 Nebraska are the other highly-ranked teams by the AVCA poll.
The loss bumped Wisconsin down to fourth in RPI, with Stanford a spot behind. You don’t want that smoke in the Field House again. It went poorly last time UW hosted them to finish a regional.
Conference Player of the Week went to Michigan’s Paige Jones, Defensive went to Penn State’s Kendall White, Penn State had Defensive (Kendall White) and Setter (Gabby Blossom) honors, and Freshman went to the Buckeye’s Kylie Murr.
Thursday, November 14th - @ Minnesota
Last time the Badgers matched up against the Golden Gophers, it was for sole possession of first place in the conference. Funny how time’s a flat circle. Even funnier is how Minnesota has played 14 games, and has played the rest of the top three teams exactly that one time. While Wisconsin’s out here notching top-10 victories left and right, getting work done in conference, Minnesota has to point to sweeping an 8-6 Purdue and 7-7 Illinois as their season highlights, along with a 3-2 win in Ann Arbor. They can still point to wins against Stanford and Florida, but ‘mid-September’ was two months ago.
They’re No. 13 nationally in blocks per set and No. 36 in digs per set. The Gophers are a strong defensive team, with an attacking style that prefers to avoid an error over getting the kill. Their attack may get a boost if star setter Kylie Miller comes back from injury for this game, having been out since October 19th.
Saturday, November 16th - Michigan State
After four road games, Wisconsin comes back to the Field House to face Michigan State for the second time. Since the matchup in East Lansing, the Spartans dropped four more matches before beating Northwestern.
They’re another defensively-minded team, holding opponents to .169 attacking percentage thanks to 2.72 blocks a set, but don’t have the attacking aspect that the Gophers have.
How To Watch
Thursday’s fireworks start at 8 PM on BTN, but if you want to see Saturday’s 7 PM matchup it’s BTN+, the radio call or getting into the Field House.
When does Wisconsin-Eau Claire play in the DIII tournament?
10:30 AM this Thursday. It may be annoying that not every Badger game is televised, but at least you won’t have to pretend like eating before 11 is acceptable if you want to duck out to watch Wisconsin play during a work day.