The No. 9 Wisconsin Badgers volleyball team (2-2) isn’t used to losing streaks. In their 2018 campaign, the Badgers strung together consecutive losses only once and followed up those losses with nine consecutive victories. Those victories carried them all the way to their heartbreaking loss in the NCAA regional final against Illinois.

The Badgers hope to start a similar streak Friday night against the South Carolina Gamecocks (4-3).

South Carolina has rattled off a few wins following a losing streak of their own against Kansas, Albany and Charlotte. The Gamecocks also made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament last year and return all their usual starters from a year ago.

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The Badgers are in a similar position of maintaining depth from a year ago, but a brutal non-conference schedule caught up to them with consecutive losses against No. 7 Marquette Golden Eagles and No. 5 Baylor Bears.

Their schedule lightens up with the Gamecocks, but the Badgers can’t take an experienced team like South Carolina for granted.

Wisconsin will look to assert their dominance through their size. Two-time All-American middle blocker Dana Rettke will have plenty of opportunities against a South Carolina front without significant size opposite the 6-foot-8 Rettke.

Despite monster performances in their first three contests, Rettke notched only 11 kills in the loss to Baylor on Friday, a stat line only average for a player of her caliber.

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After South Carolina, Wisconsin will finish off their weekend against the Clemson Tigers (5-2). Clemson will face the Badgers Saturday afternoon but not before their own contest with the Gamecocks on Thursday.

Clemson enters the tournament following a sweep at home against Appalachian State on Tuesday. The duo of Kaylin Korte and Brooke Bailey lead the offensive charge for the Tigers with each of them averaging more than 2.5 kills/set.

Korte missed the entire 2018 season with a knee injury after a successful 2017. Korte and Bailey transferred to Clemson from Illinois and Ohio State, respectively.

The Badgers will look to maintain their blocking prowess while improving their poor back row defense. Wisconsin currently ranks 15th in blocks/set but 267th in digs/set out of the 332 eligible teams.

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Head coach Kelly Sheffield spoke about his team’s weaknesses.

“The areas we were exposed [were] defensively,” Sheffield said. “We felt like we got a lot of blocks this weekend, but teams were still scoring at too high of a clip. Our ball control was probably a little shaky at some big moments.”

Wisconsin will look to show its resilience and turn this losing streak around starting with a renewed defensive effort.

The Badgers take on South Carolina at 5 p.m. on Friday and Clemson at 2 p.m. Saturday. Both games will be broadcast on 100.9 FM.