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Wisconsin volleyball: Badgers advance to Round of 16 with sweep of Weber State

The middle blockers led the way for the No. 1 seed Badgers in another sweep.

Mark Kuhlmann/NCAA Photos

The No. 1 ranked Wisconsin Badgers volleyball team (15-0 Big Ten, 16-0 overall) stayed perfect with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-15) sweep over the Weber State Wildcats (15-1 Big Sky, 19-2) on Thursday night in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The No. 1 overall seed started strong in the first set, getting off to an early 11-6 lead over the Wildcats with the middle blockers doing the job early for UW. First team All-Big Ten senior Dana Rettke had kills at the time out and a perfect hitting percentage. Junior Danielle Hart had two quick kills as well.

UW rounded out the set to win 25-17, while hitting .353 on the attack while holding the Wildcats to .143.

In the second set, Weber State made it more of a back-and-forth contest to open up the frame. The Wildcats kept the score within one for more of the set and at one point held the lead.

But Wisconsin shrugged off that bit of closeness to pull away and win the second set 25-19. In the third, the Badgers’ offense came to life to hit .481 percent on the attack to close out the match 25-15.

Weber State’s most impressive player was senior outside hitter Rylin Adams, who led the match with 13 kills. Fellow outside hitter Dani Nay had eight kills, but the Wisconsin defense meant they were inefficient with their kills. Adams hit only .211 and Nay hit only .097.

The block for the Badgers was also working at a high level. Danielle Hart had nine blocks to go along with nine kills. Freshman Devyn Robinson had five blocks as well as UW was dominant up front.

Hart and Rettke was the dynamic duo for the Badgers on offense too. Rettke matched hart with nine kills, and both middle blockers hit .500 or above. Robinson had 7 kills on .636 hitting as the efficiency in the offense showed for Wisconsin. We’d be remiss if we didn’t also mention that Lauren Barnes recorded the 1,000th dig of her career in the match.

“I think everyone was pretty excited to get started and play. I thought we got stronger as the match went on. That was certainly a goal of ours… there’s no question (Weber State) made us work tonight. I was really happy, I thought we were awfully balanced across the board. I thought our passing was real solid and I thought (Lauen) Barnes was really good defensively,” Kelly Sheffield said after the match.

The win means the Badgers keep dancing to the round of 16, where the competition will get tougher. UW will face the No. 16 seed BYU Cougars on Saturday, April 17 at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN3.