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Wisconsin volleyball: UW takes down Marquette in straight sets

Top notch serving and Jade Demps led the way for the Badgers over their in-state rivals in Milwaukee.

Tom Lynn

The No. 2 Wisconsin Badgers (6-0 overall) continued their perfect start to the year after a 3-0 sweep (25-15, 25-18, 25-18) Sunday afternoon against in-state rival, the Marquette Golden Eagles (6-2 overall).

The first set for the Badgers was really about the serving game of defensive specialist Izzy Ashburn. The junior had four aces on the night and helped lead UW to take the Badgers on a 10-1 run to bring the set to a whopping 22-11 lead for Wisconsin.

Head coach Kelly Sheffield said when she is serving like that, it can really impact the team’s defense and let UW’s other servers make a difference,

“[Ashburn} can get people to doubt themselves,” Sheffield said. “I thought she broke down a player or two and I thought it helped our servers going forward. She can do that and she put in some gnarly serves.”

UW was active from the service line all night, and fifth year libero Lauren Barnes had a big night on that end as well. Along with 10 digs, Barnes had three aces as UW finished with nine total against Marquette.

Sophomore outside hitter Jade Demps also came to play early on in the match, finishing with four kills in the first set. Demps has seen a lot more playing time in the absence of freshman Julia Orzoł, and the Raleigh, N.C. native finished with 14 kills on the day for a season-high and earned some praise from head coach Kelly Sheffield.

“Jade is capable of doing some things for us as everyone can see,” Sheffield said. “As the match went on, she was putting the ball in better areas. That’s what you want to see with a player growing. She has a lot of upside.”

In the second set, Wisconsin had their highest hitting percentage in the match at .355. Though it was pretty back-in-forth, a timely block from Dana Rettke and Devyn Robinson gave UW a 4-0 run and a 11-8 advantage. Another four-point run brought the set to 18-13, and the Badgers ran away with it.

In the final set, UW finished it out with the exact 25-18 scoreline. Although the Badgers had their lowest hitting percentage on the season so far, it never looked like a match Wisconsin was going to lose.

And the Badgers’ first road test is passed with flying colors. Next up is a neutral site series in DeKalb, Ill. against UW-Green Bay and Northern Illinois this weekend.