Coming off a strong showing at the Big Ten-ACC Challenge, University of Wisconsin women’s volleyball heads to the Kansas State Invitational, looking to maintain their undefeated record.
With senior outside hitter Lauryn Gillis and sophomore outside hitter Molly Haggerty still recovering from injuries, the sixth-ranked Badgers (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) will likely continue to rely on their middle blockers for offense, after strong performances by freshman Dana Rettke and junior Tionna Williams. The pair combined for 49 kills between the team’s first two matches.
Freshman setter Sidney Hilley also looks to continue a strong start, with speculation about how she would fare replacing Lauren Carlini, who is now a member of the U.S. National Team and is currently playing abroad in Italy. Hilley, however, showed excellent composure against the University of Louisville and the University of North Carolina, averaging 13.17 assists/set.
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The freshmen have been doing well for Wisconsin this season, helping the team to remain undefeated thus far. The Badgers defeated No. 16 North Carolina team in three sets, 25-21, 25-17 and 25-19.
The young Badgers have no time to rest on their laurels. They open the K-State Invitational Friday morning against a solid Syracuse team. While they finished 6-14 in ACC conference play last year, they are led by preseason all-ACC middle blocker Santita Ebangwese, who hit at an impressive .286 clip last season.
Later on Friday, the Badgers will square off against an University of Arkansas team that beat them two years ago, in the prime of the Carlini era. The Razorbacks are lead by sophomore setter Rachel Rippee, who was named the SEC Setter of the Week after a strong performance at the season-opening Arkansas Classic.
The Badgers will round out the tournament against host school Kansas State. The Wildcats are 2-2 after a tough opening tournament, falling to seventh-ranked Creighton and Oregon State. Led by junior outside hitter Kylee Zumach, the fiercely offensive Wildcats average 14 kills/set.
The tournament begins Friday at10 a.m, with the Badgers taking on Syracuse that morning. The tournament concludes Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Fans can catch the game on WRCO 100.9 FM.