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Wisconsin athletics: rankings and award updates for 2/16/21

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Our weekly update on rankings around the athletic department.

UW Athletics Communications

As all of the relevant polls have now been released for this week let’s take a quick whip-around the Wisconsin Badgers athletic department and see where the two hockey teams, the wrestling team and the volleyball team are ranked.

Men’s Hockey

The Badgers split a weekend series with the Wolverines and thanks to Duluth weirdly being swept by Western Michigan, UW is now No. 5 in the country! Wisconsin is 14-8-0 overall and sits two points behind Minnesota in the Big Ten standings.

The Gophers sit one spot ahead of the Badgers in the USCHO.com rankings too, at No. 4, while Michigan is at No. 7. Notre Dame and Penn State are both receiving votes but aren’t too close to threatening to join the top-20.

Women’s Hockey

It is no surprise that the Badgers remained the unanimous No. 1 in the country after sweeping Bemidji State this past weekend, but what was a bit surprising is that Ohio State swept Minnesota. Because of that, the Buckeyes moved up to No. 2 while the Gophers dropped down to No. 4 and Duluth is sitting at No. 7 to round out the rest of the ranked WCHA squads.

The Badgers are off this week but end the season traveling up to Duluth for a final weekend series with national implications. The Buckeyes have already had their series with St. Cloud canceled for this weekend due to COVID concerns in the Huskies program, so their regular season is over.

Senior defenseman Grace Bowlby was named WCHA Defenseman of the Week after extending her point streak to eight games by posting two assists during the Badgers’ sweep of Bemidji State over the weekend. She was also a conference-best +5 on the weekend. Freshman Makenna Webster won WCHA Rookie of the Week while scoring two goals (including one game winner) against BSU.

Sophie Shirley was named honorable mention for WCHA Forward of the Week while Kennedy Blair, and her two shutouts, was honorable mention WCHA Goalie of the Week. She probably didn’t win because she only faced 18 shots all weekend but impressive nonetheless.

Volleyball

Their excellence is almost boring. They swept Indiana and continue to be the No. 1 team in the country at 8-0. Starting at the end of February the schedule does get more difficult, but this team seems up to any task. The Badgers earned 51 of 60 first place votes with No. 2 Texas getting eight and No. 3 Kentucky getting one.

The rest of the Big Ten remained well-represented in the AVCA Coaches Poll: Nebraska sits at No. 4, Minnesota at No. 5, Penn State at No. 8, Purdue at No. 11 and Michigan and Ohio State being the first two teams in the “receiving votes category.” Illinois is also receiving votes.

Wisconsin didn’t win any weekly awards because they don’t play enough sets to accrue better stats. ::makes tinfoil hat even bigger::

Wrestling

The Badgers lost a heart breaker to Northwestern, 18-17, over the weekend and despite being 1-6 in dual meets are somehow still ranked No. 25 in the NWCA Coaches Poll. I do not fully understand how this is possible but, uh, here we are. I also looked at the InterMat rankings, and the Badgers aren’t listed there, but I don’t know which rankings are more “respected.”

InterMat does have weight class rankings, which are fun to look at and see if any Badgers are doing better than the team as a whole:

125 pounds: Eric Barnett, 5-2, ranked No. 12
184 pounds: Chris Weiler, 4-2, ranked No. 7
Hwt: Trent Hillger, 3-2, ranked No. 12