The No. 3 University of Wisconsin women’s volleyball team extended their win streak to five last week over No. 22 Ohio State University and Purdue University, 3-0 and 3-2, respectively.
The team’s dominant display moved the Badgers to second in the Big Ten behind only University of Nebraska with only six games left in the regular season.
The rematch with the Buckeyes Wednesday didn’t come easy, but it was another consistent effort from a Badger squad that has now beaten 12 ranked opponents on the year. The 25-19, 26-24 and 25-22 sweep in Columbus was as well balanced as Wisconsin has shown in recent weeks, with the unlikely leadership of fifth-year senior Romana Kriskova posting her third double-double of the year.
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Kriskova has been somewhat of a role player this year behind the likes of All Americans Lauren Carlini and Haleigh Nelson, but came up when the team needed her most and recorded 12 kills, no errors and a .545 attack percentage. Head coach Kelly Sheffield praised the outside hitter for her consistency this season and her ability to step up in recent weeks.
The game ultimately came down to the Badger’s resiliency to battle back from some close leads, a match in which UW trailed in every set and were down 11-6 to start. Despite 12 service errors, Wisconsin took down the Buckeyes in impressive fashion on the road in three sets.
Much like the Badger’s gutsy road win at Purdue a few weeks ago, the rematch in Madison Saturday went to the final set and proved to be another conference thriller. While freshman phenom Molly Haggerty and UW pulled out the first sets 25-22 and 26-24, the Boilermakers took a page out of Wisconsin’s book and won the next two sets 25-22 and 25-16 to force the final frame.
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Even with the lackluster performance in the fourth set, the Badgers took care of business to close out the game behind a 24 kill showing from Haggerty and Carlini’s 70th career double-double. The mood on stage following the victory wasn’t the most positive it has ever been, but they will take every win they can get.
Sheffield made it a note to talk about the late game talks the team had and how proud he was of their tenacity to pull out a tough win against a solid team.
With Kriskova’s reemergence and the depth the Badgers have gained with Lauryn Gillis back from injury, the team is shaping up at the right time. With only two weeks before the end of the regular season and three weeks before the NCAA tournament, Wisconsin and Sheffield will look to polish off any remaining issues in the next few games.
The Badgers now travel to Illinois to play Illinois University Friday and Northwestern University Saturday. Both games start at 7 p.m. and will air on BTN Plus.