It’s a bit of the same song, different verse for the No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers.
Wisconsin (7-0 Big Ten, 7-0 overall) swept the Indiana Hoosiers (2-5, 2-5) by a scoreline of 25-21, 25-17, 25-13 on Friday afternoon in Bloomington, Ind.
Despite a somewhat slower start, UW just had too many weapons for a young and rebuilding IU team, and simply outhit the Hoosiers. The Badgers had 44 kills on the day compared to the Hoosiers’ 21, and Indiana finished with a hitting percentage in the negatives.
In the first set, UW hit only .140 in the opening frame and — for Wisconsin’s lofty standards — eked out the opener 25-21. IU was really successful in the opening on the block, but in the second set, Wisconsin and freshman Devyn Robinson exploded.
Robinson finished with 18 kills on the night, a career-high for the freshman out of Ankeny, Iowa. Robinson had seven kills in each of the first sets, as she finished with a hitting percentage of .654.
“Devyn started seeing a lot of one-on-ones. Early on, she got blocked a couple of times trying to go cross court but then she started working her line shot and then Syd (Hilley) started running her on some quicks. She was great, she was really, really good. The connection between her and Syd was fantastic,” head coach Kelly Sheffield said after the match.
That performance from the freshman seemed to spark Wisconsin’s offense and gave the team more energy. UW finished the next two sets swinging .480 and .444 as a team, and ended up plowing through Indiana in the later sets.
“I was just having fun playing with my teammates. We had a lot of energy and I was feeding off that,” Robinson noted.
Senior Dana Rettke struggled for her standards early on the offensive side, but was a force on the block all day. Rettke had seven total blocks and the defense sparked her offense as she finished with seven kills after initially starting slowly.
Really, there may only be a few nits to pick for Wisconsin in this performance. The Badgers had more 12 service errors compared to four aces may be the most glaring issue, but UW had too many big guns and never really looked in doubt to win.
“[Struggling in the first set] probably had as much to do with Indiana as it did with us. That wasn’t just us having all kinds of problems, they were causing a lot of that. They were really changing up serving zones a lot on us. They weren’t allowing us to find a rhythm, which is things we have to work on. I was certainly happy how we continued to get better and learning our opponent as the match went on,” Sheffield opined.
That happens when you’re the number one ranked team in the country. And the depth in the squad — proven players Deahna Kraft and Jade Demps only played one set each while Giorgia Civita didn’t touch the court at all — means that everyone is raring to go.
We’ll see if the same sweet song of sweeps continues as the Badgers take on the Hoosiers Saturday at 3:00 pm CST.