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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Two more victories for Badgers

[media-credit name=’BEN CLASSON/Herald photo’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′]VB_BC[/media-credit]After playing for more than a month on the road, the No. 9 Wisconsin volleyball team finally returned home to the Field House to take on Purdue and Indiana.

The Badgers looked to build on momentum from winning their last nine matches and did just that, as the Badgers defeated the Hoosiers 30-17, 33-31, 30-16 Saturday.

"We've been saying that Indiana's a much improved team from a year ago, and it's dramatically different," head coach Pete Waite said. "We had a solid first game, and we were playing really well, but they picked it up. They not only hung with us, they had the lead there for a while, and we had to fight back."


Wisconsin never trailed in the first game as they cruised to a 30-17 win. The Badgers out-blocked the Hoosiers 4-1 in Game 1 and held them to a .049 hitting percentage while hitting at a .414 clip themselves.

However, the second game was more of a struggle for the Badgers. Indiana jumped out to an early lead at 12-8. Wisconsin kept battling back but was not able to grab the lead until the very end.

With a kill from their top hitter Erica Short, the Hoosiers were able to get their first game point of the match, but the crowd of 7,707 wasn't going to let the Badgers lose. Wisconsin fed off the energy from the crowd and squeaked out a 33-31 victory.

"When you see all those people stand up, it just gives you such an adrenaline rush," Simpson said. "There is nothing better than that."

From there, Wisconsin came out of the locker room and was able to win Game 3 easily to secure its second straight home sweep.

"Our hitters made a lot of errors tonight," Indiana head coach Sherry Dunbar said. "We hit .117 which is probably one of the lowest we hit all season. You hit .117 — you're not going to be very successful in this conference."

However, Dunbar did give credit to Wisconsin for keeping their hitters off their game.

"[Wisconsin is] very experienced," Dunbar said. "They are a good all-around team. There are some teams out there that have some good athletes and have one or two great players. They are balanced and have a great setter. The setter does a fantastic job spreading out that offense. We had two freshman middle blockers most of the time, and it is tough to read her. She does a great job running a balanced attack."

Wisconsin was lead by Dolgner with 16 kills. Freshman Allison Wack — who got her first start at home — added 12 kills while hitting .391. Defensive specialist Megan Mills also got involved with the offense when two digs dropped on Indiana's side for kills.

The Badgers again out-blocked their opponent 10.5 — 6, with Simpson and Reineke leading the way with five apiece.

"We didn't put up huge blocking numbers tonight, but I think again we disrupted a lot of things at the net on their side," Waite said. "Erica Short — at times can have 25 to 30 kills — hit .030. I think that says a lot for what we did at the net."

In their first home match since the Inn Towner Invitational in August, the Badgers swept the Boilermakers Friday 30-25, 30-23, 30-19 in front of 4,863 fans.

"I was really pleased with our match and the way our team came out," Waite said.

Wisconsin started the first game trading points with Purdue until the score was tied at 12. The Badgers then went on a 10-3 run to pull away from the Boilermakers and win Game 1.

"They weren't overexcited going into the first game," Waite said. "They didn't make a lot of errors and were just steady throughout the match. I think that just says a lot for the mindset coming out of the locker room to start with. Even being in the locker room in our pre-game talk, there are times you can feel a huge amount of energy, and I didn't feel that."

Sophomore outside hitter Brittany Dolgner and senior middle blocker Taylor Reineke lead the team with five kills apiece.

The second game also saw both team trade points early on. With the score tied at 17, Dolgner took over the match, hitting five kills and a block during a 13-6 UW run to finish the game.

"In between Games 2 and 3 [our goal] was to finish and not let [Purdue] get that third game like we had last weekend in both matches," Waite said.

The Badgers were able to finish off the Boilermakers by picking up their defense in the third game. Wisconsin out-blocked Purdue 6-0 — including four solo blocks — in the third game alone.

For the match Wisconsin finished with 11 blocks — including seven solo blocks — while keeping Purdue to a .137 hitting percentage. Junior middle blocker Audra Jeffers led all players with three solo blocks.

After the match, several players were quick to praise senior setter Jackie Simpson for running a great offense.

"Jackie was really on tonight," Reineke said. "Her setting was outstanding, and I think the hitting percentages can be attributed to our passing.

"We really started it off really strong and that gave Jackie a good ball, and she was able to distribute evenly. I think [Purdue's] block might have had a tough time trying to read her because she's pretty good."

Purdue was lead by Danita Merlau with 12 kills, Stephanie Lynch and Gurnell added seven and six kills, respectively.

With the pair of victories, the Badgers remained undefeated in Big Ten play and extended their winning streak to 11 matches. Wisconsin also remains tied atop the conference standings with Penn State, who beat Minnesota over the weekend.

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