Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Wisconsin volleyball falls to Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — The 13th-ranked Wisconsin volleyball team couldn’t gain anything on league-leading Minnesota, losing to the Golden Gophers 22-30, 30-28, 30-25, 23-30, 6-15. The Badgers (18-7 overall, 9-5 Big Ten) fell to seventh-ranked Minnesota (26-3, 13-1) for the second time this season. Wisconsin hasn’t been swept by the Gophers since 1995.

“I think we did a good job of sustaining our play while they had a real big surge in the first game,” said UW head coach Pete Waite. “I think the excitement of the big crowd and what the match meant to them had them playing at a real high level. Minnesota did a nice job. They stayed strong through it. They deserve that win — they played well.”

Minnesota used a balanced-scoring attack with four players in double figures led by match-high 21 kills from Trisha Bratford. The Gophers totaled 79 kills and hit .322 percent as a team compared to 65 kills and .196 percent for the Badgers. Lori Rittenhouse led Wisconsin with 17 kills and hit .353 percent. Erin Byrd and Jill Odenthal added 16 and 10 kills, respectively.

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“[Minnesota has] some strong hitters out there, so they’ve got a lot of weapons,” Waite said.

Minnesota also had three players in double-figure digs while Byrd led the Badgers with 17. Korie Gardner added 10 digs. The Gophers also kept Wisconsin off balance with their serving, recording seven service aces compared to four from the Badgers.

The Gophers outperformed the Badgers in every statistical category including doubling up Wisconsin in blocks 16-8.

Wisconsin returns home to host Illinois and Purdue Friday and Saturday, respectively, in the UW Field House. The Badgers and the Illini will play in front of a national television audience on ESPN2 Friday at 7 p.m.

The Badgers got off to a slow start, falling behind 4-9 in Game 1. The Gophers hit .306 percent with 16 kills in the period compared to .114 percent and 12 kills for Wisconsin. The Badgers had eight hitting errors, including four off Minnesota blocks. Wisconsin cut the Gophers’ lead to one (10-11), but Minnesota went up 20-13 keyed by two blocks.

Wisconsin got back on track in Game 2 breaking a 10-10 tie to go up to 13-10 off an Odenthal kill. The Gophers came back to take a 14-15 lead off two blocks, but Odenthal had three kills to put the Badgers up 19-16. Wisconsin led the rest of the game and served for game point at 29-26. Minnesota’s Bratford had two kills to pull the Gophers to 29-28, but a Cassie Busse service error tied the match at one game apiece.

Game 3 featured 13 ties including at 19 all. Wisconsin outscored the Gophers 5-1 to take a 24-20 lead. Lauren Ford came off the bench for Sheila Shaw to record a block and a kill during that streak. Minnesota got no closer than three (28-25) as the Badgers won off a kill from Rittenhouse.

“We had some people come off the bench and do a nice job. We were right in there, but we needed a little more surge at the end,” Waite said.

Wisconsin trailed all of Game 4 and couldn’t stop the Gopher offense which hit .395 percent for the period. Minnesota had 21 kills combined with 23 digs to shut down the Badgers.

“I think we broke down in different parts of game, obviously in (Games) 4 and 5,” said Waite. “We would have hoped to maintain a higher level–then we could have been in it in then end, maybe even have gotten Game 4 and been done.”

The Badgers hit a negative .188 percent in Game 5 as Minnesota had four blocks including two solos from Erin Martin. Wisconsin couldn’t get into a rhythm offensively while the Gophers hit .438 percent in the period.

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