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Wisconsin volleyball: UW impresses in opener, sweeping away Purdue

With big nights all over the court, Badgers dominated the slightly shorthanded Boilermakers.

The No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers (1-0 Big Ten, 1-0 overall) proved their ranking with a 3-0 sweep (25-14, 25-15, 25-16) of the No. 12 Purdue Boilermakers (0-1, 0-1) in their season opening game on Friday night.

The Badgers came out firing, hitting .636 percent in the first set. Freshman middle blocker Devyn Robinson started for Wisconsin, and came out hot with four kills in the first set out of four swings. The Iowa native finished with nine kills in her debut while hitting .750 on the night.

Senior middle blocker Dana Rettke was also at her usual best. The All Big-Ten honoree led the team with 11 kills while also picking up four blocks and three digs as Purdue struggled to find their footing offensively throughout the game.

Purdue was missing one of their star outside hitters in Grace Cleveland, who is out this weekend for the Boilermakers. Still, Purdue hit only .115 during the game and the Badgers really put their mark on the game.

Senior Grace Loberg also had a notable night. The outside hitter did a lot of damage from her usual pin, but she also excelled from the back court offense and helping in the back line. Loberg finished with nine kills and eight digs as she showed a lot of versatility in UW’s offense.

While Robinson was the young player who stood out, other newcomers got some chances to impress for Wisconsin. Graduate senior Giorgia Civita played in all three sets in her Badger debut, tallying eight digs and sending in some tough serves. Freshman outside hitter Jade Demps had two nasty kills and graduate senior Deahna Kraft also added two kills in her debut.

It’s only one game, but Wisconsin lived up to its billing, and the new pieces look promising for head coach Kelly Sheffield.

The Badgers will play Purdue again at the Field House on Saturday night at 8:00 pm CST.