The kills rained down on the Illinois defenders Wednesday night as Sophomore Dana Rettke went for a career-high 23 kills on 38 attempts, hitting an impressive .526. The No. 6 University of Wisconsin Women’s volleyball team downed the No. 7 Fighting Illini in four sets, 21–25, 25–21, 25–23, 25–18, improving to 4–1 in conference play.
Despite the statistics, the game was no cakewalk for the Badgers as they had to make two crucial comebacks. Anxious Badger fans knew what had happened last week against Minnesota and the game versus Illinois was playing out in a very similar manner. However, down a set, and facing a 7–14 deficit, Wisconsin (11–2 Overall, 4–1 B1G) turned on the burners and took off with an 18–7 scoring run to close out the second set.
Dana was not the only Badger lighting it up. Madison Duello added 10 kills to the stat line and Sydney Hilley went for a career-high with seven kills. Tionna Williams and Hilley both finished with a hitting percentage of .667 while the team hit .326 (58-15-132). These are the types of contributions Wisconsin will need in matches such as Illinois and future tournament games. The more productivity coming from the outside will only open up hitting lanes for Rettke coming down the middle and lead to more team success for the Badgers.
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Wisconsin put on their display of composure as well. Facing a 22–23 deficit in the third set, the Badgers rallied off three consecutive points to take the set and all the momentum with them. After closing out the Illini in the fourth set, the Badgers improved to 4–2 against top 25 opponents on the season and 6-0 in games where they hit above .300.
Next up on the radar for the Badgers is the unranked Iowa Hawkeyes (10–6, 2–3) which will complete the four-game road trip for the Badgers who are currently 2–1 on the trip.
Iowa has dropped three of their last four games to ranked opponents with their only win coming against Northwestern in five sets. The only thing that can beat the Badgers in this game is themselves. As long as they do not get complacent, this should be nothing more than a business trip for the Badgers.
You can listen to the action starting at 7 p.m. live from Iowa city on 100.9 FM, The Badgers Sports Network.