The University of Wisconsin women’s volleyball team had a tough start to their brutal road trip on Wednesday night. No. 6 Minnesota took care of No. 5 Wisconsin in consecutive sets, downing the Badgers, 25–17, 25–21, 25–15. The Gophers got out to an early lead in the first set and never looked back as they controlled the tempo throughout the duration of the game.
By the third set, the Badgers seemed to run out of all answers and they suffered a season-low hitting percentage of .232. What truly came back to haunt the Badgers was their lack of fundamentals. The team had 13 errors compared to just seven by Minnesota.
Minnesota’s dynamic duo shined and was the focal point in the Gophers success. Stephanie Samedy and Alexis Hart both recorded 14 kills while hitting .386 as a team. This is the first time this season the Badgers have recorded a lower hitting percentage than their opponent. Samedy added 10 digs to her stat line and the Gophers cruised their way to a victory.
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As for the Badgers, Dana Rettke played very well with 12 kills and an ace. However, at times it seemed as though the only thing that was working was feeding the ball to Rettke and that became problematic for the Badgers. In order to win high caliber games against teams like Minnesota, the Badgers have to be hitting from all angles and they need to get better contributions from the outside hitters.
To give credit where it is due, Madison Duello and Grace Loberg did play a decent game, each recording eight kills, but it was not enough to hang around with the Gophers.
Next up on the schedule, the Badgers travel to West Lafayette to play in front another raucous crowd. The boilermakers will be hungry to prove themselves because despite their only loss coming at the hands of No. 8 Illinois, they have only played two ranked opponents this season. The other game was a win over then No. 25 Alabama in Tuscaloosa, who is now unranked.
Purdue will be looking to establish themselves not only in the Big Ten but in the National spotlight as well. The only thing standing in their way is a Wisconsin team looking to rebound in a big way after the loss to Minnesota.
No. 5 Wisconsin at No. 16 Purdue will start at 6 p.m. on Saturday night. You can catch the action on BTN2GO or listen live on 100.9 FM, The Badger Sports Network.