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Wisconsin vs. Weber State: NCAA Tournament how to watch, game preview and open thread

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The Badgers are finally back in action and are set (volleyball term) to play the Wildcats in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

UW Athletics Communications

The No. 1 ranked Wisconsin Badgers (15-0 overall) volleyball team is back in action on Thursday night in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. In the new (for this year only) 48-team format, 16 seeded teams received a bye in the first round so UW got to watch on Wednesday night as Bowling Green State and Weber State battled it out for the right to challenge the Badgers.

The Wildcats of Weber State (19-1 overall) won in four sets and now get the honor of sharing the court with Wisconsin on Thursday night. BGSU and WSU split the first two sets before the Wildcats won the final sets in closely contested bouts.

OH Dani Nay had an outstanding game, notching 18 kills and 14 blocks to lead the way for the Wildcats. Big Sky MVP Rylin Adams had 14 kills and 11 digs and Sam Schiess had 11 kills, including the match winner. As a team, Weber State is hitting .242, putting away 13.5 kills per set. Defensively, Weber State is averaging 2.1 blocks per set and 16.1 digs per set.

How to watch/listen

TV: no TV tonight

Streaming: ESPN3, 6 p.m. CT,

Radio/Satellite: 1310 AM, Jon Arias

Live stats: Here!

Arena: CHI Health Center Convention Center, Omaha, Neb.

Fun facts (according to the media guides)

  • Weber State is now on a nine-match winning streak.
  • This is just the second trip ever for the Wildcats in the NCAA Tournament and the first since 1988. It was also the first NCAA Tournament win by a Big Sky Conference school since 2007.
  • Wisconsin wrapped up the regular season with an undefeated 15-0 record after sweeping Michigan in back-to-back matches on April 1-2. It marks the first time in program history that the Badgers were undefeated in Big Ten play and the regular season.
  • Wisconsin is competing in its 24th overall and eighth straight NCAA tournament under head coach Kelly Sheffield. The Badgers are 51-23 all time in the tournament and have finished as the NCAA runners up three times – 2000, 2013 and 2019.
  • A record seven Badgers were named to the 2020-21 All-Big Ten teams.
  • Five Badgers also earned AVCA All-Northeast Region honors. Dana Rettke was named the Regional Player of the Year for the second-straight season while she was joined on the all-region team by Lauren Barnes, Sydney Hilley, Grace Loberg and Devyn Robinson. Haggerty earned honorable mention All-Region accolades. All players are now eligible for AVCA All-America honors, which will be announced on April 21.
  • The Badgers current 15-match winning streak ties for the fourth-longest in program history. Wisconsin’s longest winning streak was 22 straight matches during the 2014 season. The Badgers also won 18 straight in 1995- 96 and 17 straight in 1997.
  • The Badgers have dropped only three sets this season. UW dropped a 25-21 third-set at Illinois on Jan. 30, a 25-21 third set at Michigan State on Feb. 21, and a 25-22 second set at Minnesota on March 21. Wisconsin is 33-3 in sets this season.
  • Rettke leads the Big Ten and ranks No. 2 nationally with 1.67 blocks per set. She also ranks No. 2 in the conference and No. 8 nationally in hitting percentage at .456. Rettke leads the Badgers with 3.29 kills per set, which ranks No. 10 in the Big Ten.
  • Senior libero Barnes has 983 digs (just 17 more to 1,000!) in her career, including 471 saves at Wisconsin.
  • Barnes has recorded double-figure digs in nine matches this season, including the last four matches in a row. She ranks No. 6 in the Big Ten with 4.19 digs per set.
  • Hilley was named the Big Ten Setter of the Year for the second straight year in 2020-21. She ranks No. 3 in the Big Ten with 10.87 assists per set, leading the Badgers to a Big Ten-best .342 hitting percentage. Hilley also ranks No. 2 on the team with 2.18 digs per set.
  • Freshman Robinson was named to the All-Big Ten first team, becoming just the fourth Badger rookie to earn all-conference honors. The 6-foot-2 right-side hitter ranks No. 2 on the team and third in the Big Ten with a .427 hitting percentage. She ranks No. 3 on the UW with 2.64 kills per set and ranks No. 2 with 0.88 blocks per set.
  • Loberg ranks No. 2 on the Badgers with 2.89 kills per set while hitting a season-best .304. A two-time member of the All-Big Ten team, the 6-foot-3 outside hitter also ranks No. 2 on the team with 0.37 service aces per set while ranking No. 3 with 2.11 digs per set.