The No. 8 University of Wisconsin women’s volleyball team (22-6, 15-5 Big Ten) wrapped up their regular season with an undefeated weekend on the road, defeating Rutgers (6-26, 0-19 Big Ten) Friday followed by a dramatic victory over No. 7 Penn State (23-7, 14-6 Big Ten) Saturday night.
Wisconsin proved too strong for the Scarlet Knights, winning in straight sets, 25–15, 25–18, 25–12. The Badgers cruised to another victory behind a strong all-around performance led by Dana Rettke, Tionna Williams and Molly Haggerty. All three finished with eight kills, with Rettke adding seven blocks and Williams and Haggerty each adding two blocks.
The Badgers would take the first set 25–15 before facing a tougher challenge in the second set. With the score tied at 15–15, Wisconsin managed to finish the set on a 10–3 run en route to a 25–18 victory. The Badgers then jumped to a 16–5 lead to open the final set and would coast to a 25–12 victory, extending their set winning streak to a season-high 15. Wisconsin held Rutgers to a paltry .011 hitting percentage while not surrendering a single ace.
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The Badgers then journeyed to University Park, Pennsylvania, to take on the No. 7 Nittany Lions in a marquee Big Ten matchup Saturday night. Coming off a signature victory over No. 3 Minnesota the night before, Penn State entered the match looking to finish the weekend 2–0, but Wisconsin wasn’t about to let that happen.
The Badgers took the match in five sets — 25–20, 22–25, 25–23, 19–25, 21–19 — claiming the deciding fifth-set in a nail-biting tiebreaker. UW earned their sixth straight victory to close out the regular season behind Madison Duello’s 24 kills and Rettke’s eleven blocks and three aces.
Wisconsin won the first set 25–20 to extend their set winning streak to 16, before Penn State won the second set 25–22. In the third set, the Badgers curbed a late comeback by the Nittany Lions to win 25–23 via tiebreaker and take a 2–1 lead.
Penn State pulled ahead quickly in the fourth set, jumping out to an 11–3 lead before Wisconsin called a crucial timeout. UW would cut the deficit down to 13–9 before Penn State pulled away to win 25–19 and tie the match.
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After a back-and-forth final set, Penn State had match point leading 19–18, but Wisconsin was able to rally three consecutive points to take the set 21–19 and win, earning their first victory in University Park since 2002.
With the regular season now in the rear-view, the Badgers now shift their focus to the NCAA Tournament. Wisconsin will begin the NCAA tournament as the No. 6 seed and will face UW-Green Bay Thursday night at the UW Field House at 7:30 p.m. If the Badgers win their first-round match, they will go on to face the winner of the Northern Iowa–Pepperdine match Friday night at the UW Field House.