An undefeated record in Big Ten volleyball is a tall task. There are currently six Big Ten teams in the AVCA Coaches’ Poll and four of them, including the University of Wisconsin women’s volleyball team, are in the top-10.
However, Big Ten powerhouses like No. 5 Minnesota or No. 6 Nebraska didn’t end the Badgers’ perfect conference record. It was the young The Ohio State University Buckeyes, who had zero wins against ranked opponents this season.
A day after their loss to OSU, the No. 7 Wisconsin volleyball team (17-5, 13-1 Big Ten) rebounded with an emphatic sweep of the Maryland Terrapins.
The trouble for the Badgers began in the first set. UW held late leads 21–17 and 24–21, but the Buckeyes responded with runs both times to take the set 27–25.
That sparked OSU offensively as they hit .344 in the second set and won 25–20. Wisconsin rebounded to win the third set but fell in four with a Molly Haggerty hitting error eliciting a 25–23 loss in the fourth set.
The Buckeyes (13-13, 6-8) dominated the service line — a usual strong suit for Wisconsin. OSU rattled off 10 service aces. The Badgers had not allowed more than five in their first 12 games in Big Ten play.
Senior middle blocker Elle Sandbothe, a transfer from Kansas State, finished with 12 kills at a .409 hitting percentage.
OSU also held the Badgers to their lowest hitting percentage all season at .202.
The loss ended the Badgers’ 12-game winning streak, but UW quickly re-entered the win column against Maryland (12-14, 4-10) with a 25–18, 25–13, 25–13 sweep.
The Badgers dominated all three facets of the game. UW hit a blazing .406, held the Terps to .045 and won the serving battle with six aces to Maryland’s one.
Setter Sydney Hilley had her entire arsenal of hitters going as she totaled 43 assists. Their .406 hitting percentage was the Badgers’ highest mark of conference play thus far.
Middle blocker Danielle Hart posted a .778 hitting percentage with seven kills on just nine swings.
The Terrapins’ Rebecca Rath was the only attacker with a hitting percentage above .067 and First-Team All-Big Ten outside hitter Erika Pritchard registered a .000 hitting percentage.
Wisconsin forced Maryland into season-lows in hitting percentage, kills, points and assists.
The Badgers once again won the battle of service aces as they have in 12 of the 14 Big Ten matches they have played thus far.
Molly Haggerty and Lauren Barnes each recorded two aces against Maryland.