How did the Field House treat the Wisconsin Badgers last week?
L (3-2) vs. Marquette
Dana Rettke had match point on her howitzer of a fist in the 4th set. Marquette dug it. The Golden Eagles needed another set to confirm the victory, but after that point it was purely for show.
The Wisconsin blocking that was doing a stellar job at stymying Kaitlyn Lines and Allie Barber didn’t respond nearly as well when Marquette switched to Hope Werch after the intermission break.
The fact that it was a exciting, top-flight match that could have been an excellent Elite 8 or beyond matchup doesn’t medicate the hurt of the instate rival coming back from two sets down to win the match.
L (3-1) vs Baylor
When Wisconsin held a 22-13 lead in the first set, there was a sense of ‘this is the team I signed up for.’ Baylor had other ideas, and the seven straight points they got to make it an unnecessarily close 22-20 match was closer to how the rest of the match played out.
It’d be easy to cite Baylor only needing three sets to beat Syracuse compared to the emotionally draining five-set affair the Badgers suffered through and say that Wisconsin was tired – the Bears were positioned a little better, their attacks were set a touch better.
The Bigger Picture
Losing to a pair of teams that immediately vault you in the standings isn’t the end of the world, but there’s a few takeaways. If these are top-16 teams at the end of the season, Wisconsin hasn’t shown an ability to go deep into the tournament again.
Even worse, if they don’t host first-round matches they could end up traveling to Marquette. Do you want that? I don’t want that now.
If they get some more road wins, and can beat some ranked teams on the docket soon, then this is just water under the bridge! Until then, it’s early in the season and we need to panic and overreact constantly.
Elsewhere Around The Conference
Nobody did a really great job last week, honestly. No. 8 Minnesota lost at No. 3 Texas but defended their home against No. 11 Florida. No. 14 Illinois lost to No. 12 Washington and No. 19 Colorado.
No. 23 Purdue lost to Notre Dame. No. 24 Michigan lost to No. 19 Colorado and Dayton. Basically, Penn State is morally leading the conference by not having dropped a set yet, and Nebraska’s undefeated.
Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota are all 2-2, as expected.
Rutgers won the Rutgers Invitational! Scarlet Knight setter Karysa Swackenberg even got Defensive Player of the Week! Look!
Sept 13th – v South Carolina (3-3)
South Carolina is fairly balanced across the board – five players average between 3.5 and 1.8 kills a set and six have at least two digs a set. Front liner Mikayla Shields made the preseason SEC all-conference team. The one ranked opponent they’ve played, Pitt, swept them in three not-particularly-close sets. After the two rough outings at home against quality opponents, hopefully the Badgers can regain some confidence against an average team.
Sept 14th - at Clemson (4-2)
Believe it or not, this is the host of the Clemson Classic. This is another team that hasn’t faced stiff opposition and is picked in the middle of their conference. Two outside hitters, Brooke Bailey and Kaylin Korte made all-ACC, so the Wisconsin Block Party will have another opportunity to show their skills.
Other Games of Note
We jumped to No. 4 in the nation! #WeAre #PSUVB— Penn State Women’s Volleyball (@PennStateVBALL) September 9, 2019
Four @AVCAVolleyball top-10 teams will be at Rec Hall this weekend for the @Bigten/@Pac12 Challenge.
No. 1 @StanfordWVB
No. 4 @PennStateVBALL
No. 8 @GopherVBall
No. 10 @OregonVB pic.twitter.com/fMdRtXmqwM
That should be quite the tournament.