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Wisconsin volleyball: Badgers cruise in sweep over Michigan

UW broke a school record for consecutive Big Ten wins and have yet to drop a set in conference play.

Syndication: Journal Sentinel
Devyn Robinson (right) had a match-leading 13 kills as UW swept the Michigan Wolverines 3-0 (25-13, 25-15, 25-14).
Mark Stewart / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Wisconsin stays perfect this season, including not dropping a set in Big Ten play, after the No. 1 Badgers (4-0 Big Ten, 13-0 overall) swept the Michigan Wolverines (0-4, 2-11) in three sets (25-13, 25-15, 25-14) at home.

Senior Devyn Robinson led the way for Wisconsin with 13 kills while hitting .458 percentage. Graduate senior Temi Thomas-Ailara also finished in double digits with 10 kills and also had an efficient day with a .450 hitting percentage.

In fact, the whole offense was efficient against a Wolverines program that has struggled so far with a big coaching transition. UW hit for .416 on the day while the Wolverines were held to just .109 on the day.

Head coach Kelly Sheffield said he felt the team was really in sync and the effort across all phases was really good.

“We were pursuing balls, putting up really good balls in those pursuits, taking good swings, and working hard in transition,” Sheffield said.

UW was in control from the start. Senior setter MJ Hammill had an ace that put the Badgers up 10-3 in the first then junior outside hitter Sarah Franklin’s turn behind the line put Wisconsin up 16-5 thanks to a 5-0 run. The service game was again a positive for UW, with service errors limited — in fact, the Badgers had more aces (7) than service errors (5).

Franklin’s good serving helped UW get off to a good start in the second set before the Badger attack paced the Wolverines, going up 18-11 and forcing a timeout. Michigan put up a brief 3-0 run before the Badgers went on a run to close out the set 25-15.

Then Devyn Robinson and UW’s block took over in the third. Robinson had six kills and the team had four blocks in that set to once again let the Badgers waltz to another set win.

The block is obviously a feature for Wisconsin, but the edition of sophomore Carter Booth has made it even more fierce. Booth is second in the Big Ten in blocks, averaging 1.53 blocks per set, and she added five total blocks against the Wolverines, including two solo efforts. Senior CC Crawford led the team with six on the afternoon, while Anna Smrek had four as UW out-blocked Michigan 11-4.

The win meant that UW broke its program record for consecutive conference wins, notching their 22nd in a row — highlighting the recent dominance of the Badgers. Despite the comparative ease to the start of the season, Robinson said the team works hard to maintain the level of play.

“One thing we say in the locker room a lot is just stacking the good,” Robinson said. “We want to be consistently good and not occasionally great.”

Wisconsin’s next chance to extend their unbeaten run and the conference win streak is Wednesday night, when the Badgers go on the road to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes (0-4, 8-8). That match will be at 7:00 p.m. Central and streaming on Big Ten+.