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Wisconsin athletics: rankings and award updates for 2/23/21

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The more things change...jk, nothing has really changed. The volleyball team and both hockey teams are still in their respective top-fives.

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 top-seven in the newest USCHO.com Poll stayed exactly the same this week and, as luck would have it, all three ranked Big Ten teams are in that top-seven. The Big Ten leading Minnesota Golden Gophers are No. 4, with our Wisconsin Badgers right behind them at No. 5 and the Michigan Wolverines sit at No. 7.

Penn State and Notre Dame are both receiving votes, but aren’t quite threatening to break into the rankings yet.

The Badgers beat and tied the Fighting Irish this past weekend and their two final series of the season (Ohio State at home this weekend and at Michigan State the following weekend) are against the worst two teams in the conference. They’ll need to win three of four to put some pressure on the Gophers, who are off this weekend but close the season against Michigan, for first seed in the Big Ten Tournament.

Wisconsin took home two of the three weekly awards for the Big Ten with Ty Pelton-Byce earning First Star and Linus Weissbach being named Third Star.

Pelton-Byce tied Saturday’s game against Notre Dame with 26.8 seconds left with his second goal and fourth point of the game for his first career four-point game. He also added two assists in Friday night’s contest to lead the Big Ten with a six-point weekend.

Weissbach became the 75th Badger to reach 100 career points with the game-winning goal on Friday and ended the weekend scoring three total. This has now been three weeks in the past four that UW has had two players honored by the conference.

Women’s Hockey

The Badgers were off this past weekend and remain the No. 1 team in the country. No. 2 Northeastern, however, has picked off one first place vote. Ohio State remained No. 3, Minnesota remained No. 4 and Duluth remained No. 7 in terms of how the other WCHA squads are doing.

This Friday and Saturday, the Badgers travel to Duluth to take on the Bulldogs in their last regular season series of the year.

Volleyball

You may have heard the horrifying news that the Badgers finally lost another set this season. It brings us no joy to report that, but we are an honest news source. The undefeated Badgers were able to shrug that off and remain the No. 1 team in the nation with 51 of 60 first place votes.

Nebraska is at No. 4, Minnesota is at No. 5, Penn State is at No. 10, Purdue is at No. 11 and newcomer Ohio State is at No. 19. And, filed under things you hate to see: Stanford is now unranked.

Libero Lauren Barnes was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after she recorded a career-high 28 digs on Sunday versus the Spartans and averaged 5.14 digs per set over the weekend in the sweep.

Freshman Jade Demps was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week after she hit a career high .531 (17 kills, zero errors, 32 attempts) on Sunday and averaged a team-best 3.57 kills per set while hitting .500 for the weekend.

Wrestling

The Badgers final dual meet of the year against No. 1 Iowa was cancelled and Wisconsin actually dropped out of the top-25 for the first time all year.

The Big Ten Championships are coming up and that should be crazy competitive as there are 12 Big Ten teams either ranked or receiving votes in the final NWCA Coaches Poll.