After a stellar weekend that involved sweeping the No. 7 Minnesota Golden Gophers at the Field House and going on the road to beat a feisty Illinois squad in four sets, the Wisconsin Badgers (11-1 overall, 3-1 Big Ten) moved up one spot in the AVCA Poll to No. 4. The Badgers are now, once again, the top ranked team in the Big Ten.
Some nice things happened this weekend. pic.twitter.com/6EDYGMMd3n— Wisconsin Volleyball (@BadgerVB) October 4, 2021
No. 6 Purdue, No. 7 Ohio State, No. 8 Minnesota and No. 10 Nebraska round out the rest of the top-10, while Penn State is No. 13 and Maryland and Illinois are receiving votes. Texas, Pitt and Louisville are the three teams ahead of UW in the poll.
The first RPI ratings of the season came out on Monday as well, and the Badgers are No. 4 there as well. Pitt, Texas and Louisville are still the teams ahead of Wisconsin, however in a slightly different order. While it is silly that the RPI is still used to decide seedings in the NCAA Tournament, it is, and I’d rather Wisconsin be rated highly in it.
The weekly Big Ten awards were also announced on Monday and the Badgers swept them all! Freshman OH Julia Orzoł won the Big Ten Freshman of the Week AND the Big Ten Player of the Week. She’s the first Badger to do that since Dana Rettke back in 2017 and the ninth Badger rookie to earn Player of the Week honors ever.
Orzoł averaged 4.71 kills per set on the weekend while adding 2.00 digs per set. She recorded a career-high 17 kills against the Gophers and added 10 digs for a double-double (her second of the season) while adding a career-high four assists, one block and one service ace. Against the Illini she tallied a match-high 16 kills while adding four digs and one service ace.
Sydney Hilley was named Setter of the Week and Lauren Barnes was tabbed as Defensive Player of the Week. Hilley averaged 13.57 assists per set on the week, putting up 41 assists vs. Minnesota and 54 helpers at Illinois. On the weekend, Hilley added 2.43 digs, 0.86 kills and 0.43 blocks per set. She notched a double-double against Illinois, her 40th of her illustrious career.
Barnes averaged an impressive 7.00 digs per set on the weekend, recording back-to-back 20-plus dig matches. The fifth year senior libero had a then-season-high 23 digs against Minnesota last Friday before upping her season best to 26 digs, just two short of her career best, at Illinois on Sunday. Barnes was aced only once in 18 reception attempts while adding three assists on the weekend.
The Badgers host the Iowa Hawkeyes (2-12 overall, 0-4 Big Ten) on Wednesday at 6 p.m. CT live on the Big Ten Network.