The Wisconsin volleyball team (16-4, 12-0 Big Ten) has started 12-0 in conference play for the first time in Badger history. 

The Badgers have looked like a different team after starting the year 4-4. They lacked a diverse offensive attack and allowed huge hitting percentages. They have vastly improved in both areas amid the toughest conference in NCAA volleyball. 

In Big Ten play, the Badgers now rank first in hitting percentage and second in opponent’s hitting percentage. 

Wednesday night, the Badgers swept the pesky Maryland Terrapins (12-12, 4-8) thanks to a harrowing defensive effort at the net. In the first two sets, the Terrapins managed a combined hitting percentage of .041. 

Wisconsin played sloppy in the first and third sets offensively with some miscommunications and poor passing. Head Coach Kelly Sheffield acknowledged the issues. 

“I thought at times our play was a little ghoulish out there,” Sheffield said. “But, when you can come in here and you can sweep a good Big Ten team when you’re not playing your best, that’s certainly something that you’ve got to feel good about.”

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Their defense was far from sloppy with defensive specialist Lauren Barnes seemingly everywhere in the back row. She recorded 15 digs — a season-high for the transfer from Minnesota. 

Two-time All-American Dana Rettke terrorized the Terrapin defense with 17 kills on 26 swings with no errors. 

Sunday afternoon, the Badgers rebounded from their sloppy play with a dominant win over the Indiana Hoosiers (12-13, 1-11). 

UW dwarfed Indiana’s production offensively, winning the hitting percentage battle .337 to .073. 

AVCA third-team All-American Madison Duello turned in a stellar performance as she matched her season-high mark with 11 kills to lead the team.

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Rettke managed a season-low eight kills, but the Badger offense simply didn’t need her like they have so many times in the past. 

In her three contests since she missed two games with a foot injury, Rettke has totaled 40 kills at a .493 clip. After the Maryland win, she assured reporters with both her words and performance that she was back to her usual self. 

“I feel good. Yeah, physically, I feel good,” Rettke said.

Wisconsin will look to stay undefeated in the Big Ten this weekend when they take on The Ohio State University and Maryland, two unranked opponents. Both games will take place on the road.