The top-seeded Wisconsin Badgers are moving on to the Regional Finals of the NCAA Tournament after dispatching the No. 16-seed BYU Cougars in straight sets 3-0 (25-20, 25-17, 25-12) on Saturday night in Omaha, Neb.
The Badgers got off to a great start with serving with Giorgia Civita getting some early aces. Wisconsin had a 9-5 lead after some early back and forth action. Both teams were playing well on the block as the game was a defensive battle early on. The two sides were not hitting super efficiently to start, and the big serves from UW helped the Badgers take control of the set and win it 25-20.
On the defensive side, senior libero Lauren Barnes was all over the court defending from the start. Barnes finished the night with a couple of highlight-reel saves, 16 digs and seven assists. The Badgers also kept the Cougars hitting under .200 percent on the day.
In the second set, the Badgers’ big swingers began heating up on the offensive side. Freshman Devyn Robinson had some early kills in the second on her way to finishing with 11 kills while hitting .500. Senior Molly Haggerty had the most kills with 14 while also hitting .500 percent, but most of her damage came later in the match.
UW had some long runs in the second set, getting up to a 11-4 advantage early on as Grace Loberg was also finding some luck offensively after a slow first set. Meanwhile, the defense and BYU attacking errors meant that the Cougars were hitting in the negative before they called time out.
In the third set, Wisconsin got off to a quick start and had another 7-0 run to extend their lead to 12-3. UW’s balanced attack once again shown on the night. Dana Rettke had a somewhat off night offensively — “only” six kills for the senior middle blocker — but made up for it with six blocks on defense. Speaking of the defense, four players had more than six digs for Wisconsin as everybody was getting it done back there.
Wisconsin finished off the final set looking like a well-oiled machine and finding their groove on offense — collectively they hit .486 during the final frame — to clinch the match and keep on dancing with another tournament sweep.