The No. 4 seeded Wisconsin Badgers volleyball team dispatched the No. 13 seed Texas A&M Aggies with relative ease at the Field House on Friday afternoon, 25-20, 25-17, 25-23. The Badgers move on to the Elite 8 on Saturday at 5 p.m. CT and will play the winner of Nebraska vs. Hawaii.
Wisconsin was led, as the often are, by the immense talent of junior middle blocker, and B1G Player of the Year, Dana Rettke. Rettke had 14 kills (14-0-21, .667) to go along with two digs and five total blocks (one block and four block assists).
The Badgers were monsters at the net all game, out-blocking the Aggies 16-2. Rettke was joined by Sydney Hilley and Danielle Hart who also had four block assists each. Madison Duello added three block assists of her own Molly Haggerty chipped in with one.
B1G Setter of the Year Hilley was all over the floor, dishing out 44 assists and adding eight digs, which was only bested by Tiffany Clark’s nine.
Texas A&M star Hollann Hans had a great match with a match-high 20 kills (20-9-44, .250) but her nine errors, which were also a match high, hampered her effectiveness.
Aggies' Hollann Hans living up to rep with 8 kills, but @BadgerVB has handled her serve so far, as Aggies have scored just 1 point on her first 4 serves. 2 errors.— Dennis Punzel (@DennisPunzel) December 13, 2019
As a team, the Badgers hit .405 for the match and, despite the Aggies briefly taking the lead in the third set, never lost control of the match in any of the three sets and earned the right to play one more game on Saturday.
(UPDATE, Friday 5:20 p.m. CT): Some postgame quotes from coach Kelly Sheffield and the players:
- Head coach Kelly Sheffield: “I thought our team did a really good job of managing that, playing with confidence, knowing that they are going to do some things that are awfully special. Staying in there and not riding that emotional roller coaster, we didn’t flinch. And when you’re playing in these types of matches, you’re going to play some teams that do some special things, and you’ve got to know that you do some special things yourself and just kind of manage. I thought we did a great job of that.”
- Tiffany Clark on receiving serves from Texas A&M’s Hollann Hans: “She had a really good serve. Comes really fast at you and it can hook. We prepared for that all week. We had the right mentality going into it, aggressive. Nothing was really going through my head, that’s when I play my best. So kind of just stuck it and we had a great kill off of that.”
- Sydney Hilley on what they talked about in the timeout after the Aggies went up by one in the third set: “We had the right mentality going into it the whole time. We didn't have to talk about that. We did a little strategy, what are they going to run out of this and how are we defending it. Our mentality was great all the way through. It felt like we were controlling it even though we were one- point behind. I was just really proud of the way we handled that situation.”
- Sheffield on Izzy Ashburn’s serving: “And Izzy, our passers see that every single day in practice. That thing is just dancing and all over the place. When she’s got confidence behind the service line, that can create havoc, as well. That’s one of our strengths, I think is being able to for six rotations going back there and apply pressure and you’re not quite sure who is going to get on those runs. But if you just kind of go back with the right mentality, it can be anybody.”