After a first set loss, the No. 5 Wisconsin Badgers (9-1 Big Ten, 15-3 overall), led by junior Devyn Robinson, recovered to win three-straight sets and take a 3-1 (22-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-19) match win over the No. 25 Michigan Wolverines (4-6, 13-7).
The junior from Ankeny, Iowa had 17 kills, no errors and four blocks as UW found a way through a touch Michigan team.
Robinson was a force from the start, with two straight kills that put the Badgers in front 17-12 in the first set.
But Michigan went on a pair of 4-0 runs to cut Wisconsin’s lead. The Wolverines were led by May Pertofsky and Jess Mruzik in the first set to win 25-22. Mruzik and Pertofsky had seven kills in the first set, but the shift for Michigan happened by targeting UW’s freshman libero Gülce Güçtekin on the service game.
In the second set, both teams traded early runs before a Robinson kill then block gave UW a 15-13 lead they would not give up. The Badgers held Michigan to hitting just .107 in the second set after their big first set, and sophomore Julia Orzoł closed out the set with a kill.
The third set was also filled with runs. Michigan hit two aces while targeting Gülce Güçtekin to take a 7-4 lead.
Shanel Bramschreiber came in to serve and also got an ace that helped UW reach parity again with the score 7-7. But Michigan pushed well and ended up taking a 17-13 lead in the third set, in big part thanks to two straight attacking errors from sophomore outside hitter Sarah Franklin.
Franklin has been hot and cold for Wisconsin. The Michigan State transfer is full of talent and power, but has become error-prone. Franklin hit eight kills, but had six errors and only hit .087. After her second attacking error, head coach Kelly Sheffield replaced her with junior Jade Demps.
Demps’ arrival immediately made an impact for Wisconsin. Along with some back-to-back aces from Gülce Güçtekin, Demps notched her first kill of the night to give the Badgers a 5-0 run to go up 18-17. Robinson then came up huge in the final five points with a block and a hammering kill that clinched the set 25-22 for UW.
In the fourth set, Demps stayed on the floor in place of Franklin and proved her inclusion. The junior from North Carolina finished the match with seven kills and just one errors in just two sets for a .462 hitting percentage.
Despite Güçtekin’s early struggles in serve-receive, she stole the show in the later sets with her best performance in a Badgers shirt. The freshman finished with a career-high 22 kills while posting six assists and those back-to-back aces. Her best moment came when she had three highlight reel digs in one point that was finished off by the on-fire Devyn Robinson.
Another big point ahead of the match was UW’s success on the block — which was again highlighted by today’s match. The Badgers had 13 blocks to the Wolverines’ 6, with middle blockers Danielle Hart and Caroline Crawford leading the way with six each.
Wisconsin’s response after going a set down was huge for the Badgers, who remained in second place in the conference with the win.
Wisconsin has their most critical stretch of the season so far coming up, with two home matches against the No. 3 Nebraska Cornhuskers on Wednesday and the No. 10 Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday.