Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Weekend sweep moves team into second place

Whether the team was doing cheers with the band, celebrating a powerful kill, joking about switching bodies with team members or, most importantly, dominating Illinois and Purdue, UW thoroughly enjoyed its weekend home stand. The Badgers (11-5 Big Ten, 20-7 overall) played strong volleyball the entire weekend to beat both the Fighting Illni (5-11, 11-14) and the Boilermakers (11-18, 1-15) in only three games.

In the first game against Illinois, the team used pinpoint passing, tough defense and senior Erin Byrd’s dominating attacks to win by a score of 30-20.

Libero Lisa Zukowski led the team with seven digs in the game but was aided by the play of Amy Hultgren, Sheila Shaw and Byrd.


Due to the strong defensive plays and quality passes to setter Morgan Shields, the Badgers were able to out-hit the Illini 22 to 7. Byrd led the attack with an impressive nine kills off ferocious hitting.

“I was really pleased with the way we came out tonight,” head coach Pete Waite said. “This week was one of resting and working on fundamentals. I think we looked very fresh and very focused, and they played very well as a team.”

In the second game, UW came out blazing and dominated Illinois in every aspect of the game. Throughout the majority of the game, the Badgers were up by at least 10 points as they cruised to a 30-18 victory.

UW was playing so well, in fact, that halfway through the second game Byrd, an outside hitter, and Shields switched roles as Byrd set Shields up for a kill.

“That is one of our favorite plays,” Byrd said. “Morgan was a hitter in high school and is a good hitter, so I know that if I get a free ball I can put it where she can hit it or set it.”

Shields echoed Byrd’s enthusiasm and told of how Byrd is always practicing setting into the net before games.

The third and final game did not deviate from the pattern of the first two games, with the exception of Waite inserting his “terminator” Aubrey Meierotto into the game, who immediately responded with a kill down the left sideline.

UW finished off the match and game with a 30-22 win in which the team saw four players in double-digit kills and three players in double-digit digs. Shields guided the team to the steady offensive performance behind 47 assists.

“I thought Morgan did a good job dispersing the ball [and] getting four players in double-digit kills, especially the way she went after the middles,” Waite said. “I think it just loosened everything up along the net for us.”

Saturday’s match against Purdue was very similar to Friday night’s game, except the Boilermakers had a hard time even mounting offensive attacks against the Badgers.

In game one, UW seemed unstoppable as the team was up by as many as 14 points during the game. The Badgers ended the game with a hitting percentage of .229, compared to an embarrassing .029 for the Boilermakers.

Once again, Shields showed her hitting ability as the setter ended the game with a powerful kill to the back left corner.

“I actually look for those opportunities,” Shields said. “I am always waiting all match to get the quick ball so I can just turn and hit it; it is one of my favorite things to do.”

UW then powered its way to a 30-16 win in game two. Byrd led the team with five kills and five digs.

The third and final game of the match was the most competitive the Badgers had seen all weekend. Purdue got as close as 22-20 before fading down the stretch, and UW finished out the weekend with a 30-26 win.

“I was really happy with our whole weekend,” Waite said. “This was a good match for us; I thought we played really strong throughout it. I thought maybe in the last half of the third game we faded a little bit, but it is hard sometimes when the other team is not putting too much pressure on you.”

Hultgren led the team against Purdue with 12 kills, but most importantly, the senior added six digs, an impressive number for a middle blocker.

“I was happy with Amy Hultgren’s defense. We put her in a new position defensively this weekend, and she made some nice digs,” Waite said.

With Penn State (11-5, 21-6) losing to Ohio State this weekend and UW earning a weekend sweep, the two teams are once again tied for second in the Big Ten.

“All we can do is take care of our own business right now, but if somebody else can help us then that’s great,” Waite said.

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