The No. 9 University of Wisconsin volleyball team (4-2) looked the part with a dominant performance this weekend in Clemson, South Carolina. The Badgers swept both the nearby South Carolina Gamecocks (5-4) Friday night and the host Clemson Tigers (5-4) Saturday afternoon.
The previous weekend, a nightmare at the UW Fieldhouse left the Badgers at .500 for the first time since 2011. But, the season was only four games old, and the Badgers faced some stiff competition at home.
Still, Head Coach Kelly Sheffield and the team needed to regain some momentum in South Carolina before consecutive games this weekend against the No. 16 Washington Huskies.
The Badgers attacked the Gamecocks from the service line, piling up 11 service aces thanks in large part to senior libero Tiffany Clark’s five aces. One more ace would have matched the Badger record for service aces in a three-set match since 25-point rally scoring was implemented.
South Carolina failed to sustain a balanced offense as the Badgers held two-time All-SEC senior Mikayla Shields to just three kills — the lowest amount in her career.
Junior middle blocker Mikayla Robinson notched 10 kills on only 14 attacks. Wisconsin’s impressive serving display prevented more looks going Robinson’s way.
Junior Dana Rettke made sure this weekend was a successful one with stellar performances in both matches. Against Clemson, Rettke notched a borderline unhealthy .609 hitting percentage and led the team in kills in both matches.
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Rettke was named the tournament MVP with two other Badgers — junior Molly Haggerty and freshman Izzy Ashburn. Haggerty and Ashburn joined her on the Clemson Classic All-Tournament Team.
Clemson tested Wisconsin in each of the three sets, but the Badgers pulled away with late runs every time. In the final frame, the score stood at 17–17 before UW rattled off an 8–3 run to seal the tournament win.
Redshirt junior Kaylin Korte led the Tigers with 11 kills, but swung a match-high 33 times with 10 errors. Alyssa Deloney represented the only Clemson Tiger on the All-Tournament Team though most of her damage came against South Carolina in their match Thursday night.
The Badgers held Deloney to a mere four kills on 12 swings.
The two wins give the Badgers a 4-0 record away from home this year. However, their home schedule doesn’t get any easier with Washington set to enter the UW Fieldhouse Thursday night.