The No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers (2-0 Big Ten, 2-0 overall) had a bit more to do than their previous game, but completed another sweep against the No. 13 Purdue Boilermakers (0-2, 0-2) as the match finished 25-18, 25-21, 25-19.
The Badgers came out firing in the first set and dominated Purdue early on. Senior Dana Rettke had nine kills in the first set to go along with four blocks. The three-time All-American finished the night with 14 kills and seven blocks while hitting .414 percent.
“No.” - @dana_rettke— Wisconsin Volleyball (@BadgerVB) January 24, 2021
In just the third point of the match, Dana Rettke becomes the eighth play in Wisconsin history to record 500 career blocks. Congrats Dana! ‼️#OnWisconsin pic.twitter.com/VP4ge6CPXd
Purdue tested Wisconsin in the second set, with the service game for the Boilermakers really giving the Badgers fits early on in the set. Purdue had three service aces as their star outside hitter Caitlyn Newton had four aces on the night.
But Wisconsin rallied and pulled out the 25-21 win. The whole night, UW’s defense impressed as Purdue hit only .110 percent on the night compared to the Badgers’ .380 percent.
One big story for Wisconsin was senior outside hitter Molly Haggerty’s play across the court. Haggerty played from the backline frequently in this game, and put in a lot of work on the defensive floor as well as her normal stellar hitting from the pin. The senior finished with 12 kills and 10 digs, showing off a meaningful back row threat for Wisconsin.
Speaking of the defense, senior Lauren Barnes and graduate transfer senior Giorgia Civita had stellar nights in the backline. Barnes finished with eight digs while Civita posted 11 digs along with an ace. Civita seemed to find her serve in the third set as she helped spark a big early run for the Badgers, and hit her first ace after starting the match with four service errors.
One thing that head coach Kelly Sheffield can emphasize going forward were the service errors. Wisconsin had nine on the night, and those struggles helped keep Purdue closer this match than the one prior.
Still, against a top team like Purdue, Wisconsin won all six sets this weekend and looked like a team ready to challenge as one of the elite in the whole nation this year. The emergence of freshman Devyn Robinson — who finished with seven kills tonight while hitting .467 this game — gives UW yet another offensive threat, especially since she shot well from the right side.
Next weekend, Wisconsin will take the short trip down to Champaign, Ill. to face the Illini Friday and Saturday afternoon.