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Wisconsin volleyball: Badgers roll in first conference clash, sweep Northwestern

Senior Devyn Robinson had a match-high 11 kills as UW beat Northwestern in straight sets on Friday.

Syndication: Journal Sentinel
Devyn Robinson had a big night for Wisconsin in their first conference game of the season. Robinson’s 11 kills helped the Badgers sweep the Wildcats in Evanston.
Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Wisconsin Volleyball (1-0 Big Ten, 10-0 overall) started conference play strong Friday night with a dominant 3-0 (25-18, 25-12, 25-13) sweep of the Northwestern Wildcats (0-1, 6-5).

Senior Devyn Robinson led the Badgers with 11 kills while hitting .556. As a team, the Badgers swung for a dominant .367 throughout the match while holding the Wildcats to .067 on the night.

Despite the lopsided score, the match was tight in the first set before a 6-0 run sparked by the serving of Gülce Güçtekin — who has impressed in her role off the bench in recent matches — gave UW a 17-10 advantage. Her run included an ace, one of eight on the night for UW.

While Northwestern got out to an early lead in the second set, a 5-0 run from Wisconsin erased that as UW built a 13-5 run of its own that forced the Wildcats to call another timeout.

Robinson said after the match she felt things were clicking with her and setter Izzy Ashburn and that UW’s passing helped propel the offense.

“I feel like our first contact was really good and we just stayed steady the whole time,” Robinson said.

Wisconsin’s block was also out in full force against Northwestern. The Badgers out-blocked the Wildcats 8 to 4 with Carter Booth leading the way with six blocks including three solo blocks. The sophomore from Colorado was impressive on offense as well, hitting eight kills with no attack errors including two kills to put UW up 21-7 in the second set.

Overall, the match was a clinic for what the Badgers want to do at their peak. There were lots of quick feeds to the middle that were slammed home, whether that was Booth, CC Crawford, or Anna Smrek. Outside hitter Sarah Franklin had nine kills and no errors, a good sign for Frank the Tank, whose play last year would sometimes be hot and cold on the errors. The only Badger not firing on all cylinders on offense was former Wildcat Temi Thomas-Ailara, who had four kills and hit just .079.

Along with Güçtekin coming in as a defensive specialist, both Sydney Reed and Joslyn Boyer got some game time. Both players got an ace in their one set of play, highlighting the quality UW has across the roster.

Next up for Wisconsin is a home match against the Indiana Hoosiers (1-0, 11-3) on Sunday at 1 p.m. at the UW Field House. The match will be streaming on Big Ten+.