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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Wisconsin splits weekend set

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The seventh-ranked Wisconsin volleyball team split its weekend series, winning against Northwestern in five games Saturday and losing 3-1 to Michigan State Friday.

The Badgers’ victory Saturday snapped the Wildcats’ five-game winning streak, which included wins over No.13 Minnesota and No. 20 Michigan. Northwestern, which had previously lost seven in a row — including a loss against Wisconsin in Evanston Sept. 26 — was looking to fight their way up in the Big Ten standings.


The Wildcats (15-9, 6-7 Big Ten) should not have posed much of a threat to a stronger Badger team but allowed Wisconsin to win despite playing, according to head coach Pete Waite, far from his team’s potential.

“It seemed like it was a bit of a struggle tonight, just getting our team to play our best,” Waite said. “We just seemed to shoot ourselves in the foot for a while there, just giving points with net errors and service errors, and we’ve got to clean that up and get things back on track.”

In the first game, Wisconsin came out swinging, en route to a 30-23 victory. The Badgers out-blocked the Wildcats 3-1 and hit at an impressive .429 clip, while holding Northwestern to a .186 hitting percentage.

However, the Badgers were plagued by mistakes in the second and third game. In the second, Wisconsin had six service errors and allowed Northwestern to go on a 9-3 run, which led to a 30-27 victory for the Wildcats.

“I think it attributed to the fact that we couldn’t put together runs,” senior setter Jackie Simpson said. “Obviously when you go back there and you miss your serve, it’s hard to keep that going because you work so hard to side out and then you give it right back to them.”

Northwestern was able to come out on top in Game 3 as well, winning 37-35. The Wildcats capitalized on several net violations by the Badgers and held Wisconsin to a .182 hitting percentage. Leading the way for Northwestern were Brittani Gray, Chelsy Hyser and Lindsay Anderson — all credited with five kills.

Wisconsin came out on top of Northwestern in the fourth, 30-26, with help from reserves Allison Wack and Morgan Salow, who had six and four kills, respectively.

“We needed a boost,” Waite said. “I thought Morgan could up a little different kind of a block and Jackie [Simpson] had no problem going to Morgan.”

In the fifth game, outside hitter Brittney Dolgner was able to take over, accounting for six of the Badgers’ 15 points. Dolgner had five of her 23 kills and one service ace in the fifth game.

Friday’s match against the Spartans was the Badgers’ first loss against an unranked team since early September 2006. Going into the game, Michigan State was in a five-way tie for sixth place in the Big Ten, with a record of 5-7.

“We didn’t come out with the same energy and focus that has gotten us to this point in the season,” Waite said. “It was clear we were pretty flat at the beginning and were battling back to find that throughout the match.

“There were times where we saw our normal team, but it was just in spurts. I’ve been saying that these teams in the conference are very strong, very physical and playing some very good ball. Michigan State showed that tonight.”

Michigan State won the first game 30-21. Outside hitter Katie Johnson led the Spartans with 10 kills in the game and 26 in the match. Heading into the weekend, Johnson ranked eighth in the Big Ten, averaging 4.24 kills per game.

Keying the Spartans’ first game, Michigan State held Wisconsin to a mere .071 hitting percentage, while holding Dolgner to two kills and Taylor Reineke to three.

“It’s frustrating,” Waite said. “They changed their lineup around a little bit, put some people in some better positions and they are a well-balanced team right now.”

The Badgers rebounded in the second game, winning 30-25. Dolgner led the way for Wisconsin with six kills and outside hitter Katherine Dykstra had five kills. The Badgers held the Spartans to a .149 hitting percentage.

The Spartans were able to win the third game, 30-26, despite allowing the Badgers to put up a .406 hitting percentage. The fourth game was marked by a controversial call. It appeared the ball landed out, but the officials ruled it in. The point eventually led to a 30-28 victory for the Spartans.

“We’ve been improving every week since the loss at Michigan a while back,” Spartans head coach Cathy George said. “And we dedicated ourselves to improvement, and I’ve seen us gradually over time.”
Wisconsin’s series split this weekend puts them two games behind Big Ten leaders Penn State. The Badgers will travel to State College, Pa., Nov. 16 to try to narrow the gap between themselves and the Nittany Lions.

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