The No. 3 University of Wisconsin volleyball team gets back on the road Wednesday as they travel to Columbus to take on No. 22 Ohio State University.
The Badgers (18-3, 10-2 Big Ten) are riding a three-game winning streak after losing to then-No. 1 University of Nebraska two weeks ago. The current stretch features wins over then-No. 9 Penn State University, University of Iowa and Rutgers University. The 3-1 win over PSU handed the Nittany Lions their first conference loss and moved Wisconsin back into the top three in both the Big Ten and in the country.
Volleyball: Badgers return to Madison in search of key win over No. 10 Penn StateAfter disappointing results in their last two performances against top 10 opponents, the University of Wisconsin volleyball team is looking to Read…
The Buckeyes (15-9, 5-7 Big Ten) will seek revenge against a Badger squad that swept them 3-0 in Madison a little more than five weeks ago. OSU has gone 3-3 in its last six games, alternating wins and losses with a close series split recently against Maryland University.
While Wisconsin has an edge in personnel and momentum, Ohio State boasts a hostile home environment combined with fresh legs from a less challenging recent schedule. The match will come down to whether or not the Badgers can avoid beating themselves and stay focused on each individual set without looking ahead to bigger matchups.
Despite the brutal schedule, the Wisconsin duo of senior All-Americans Lauren Carlini and Haleigh Nelson is setting school and national records almost every week this season. The two led the Badgers to the program’s first win over Penn State since 2011, with Carlini recording her 5000th career set and Nelson notching her 1000th career kill against Rutgers Sunday night. Carlini’s mark makes her just the third player to ever reach 5000 in Wisconsin history, and it is just one more reason why she will be a lot to handle for the Buckeyes.
For Ohio State to pull off the upset, it will have to do what no one else has been able to do all season: defeat Wisconsin as a team ranked outside the top 11. The Badgers’ only losses this season have come at then-No. 11 North Carolina University, then-No. 3 University of Minnesota and then-No. 1 University of Nebraska, all of whom are still in the top 12.
The key to the game should come down to the same place that has determined most Wisconsin games this year — the net. Both the Badgers and Buckeyes have size up front, but Wisconsin holds the slight edge with freshman phenom and outside hitter Molly Haggerty. The Buckeyes will need to meet Haggerty at the net early and often if they want to defend their home court against the Badgers.
As with most games in the Big Ten, the match will be as unpredictable as it will be intense. First serve is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday in Columbus on BTN.