This past weekend, the top-ranked Wisconsin women’s volleyball team (6-0, 6-0 Big Ten) continued their dominant play with a home sweep against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (1-5, 1-5).
With the Scarlet Knights dealing with such an elite team, it was expected the Badgers would waltz over the inferior competition. While fans expect total dominance from Wisconsin night-in and night-out, the Badgers struggled as the first game began.
Wisconsin seemed to come out a bit lackadaisical, letting Rutgers jump out to a 5–0 lead in the first set. Though the Badgers slumped early, like many of the nation’s elite, they responded when things got tough. The Badgers bounced back with the help of senior Molly Haggerty. Haggerty’s elite serves led to a 7–0 slide by the Scarlet Knights — a slide they failed to come back from.
The rest of the night seemed like a breeze behind seven blocks from Dana Rettke as the Badgers swept Rutgers comfortably in three sets, 25–18, 25–20, 25–16. Along with Haggerty and Rettke’s strong performances, setter Sydney Hilley seemed to always find her teammates in good positions, finishing the game with a team-high 30 sets.
The momentum from Wisconsin’s strong finish seemed to carry over to the following day as the Badgers came out much stronger than they did Friday. Behind strong serves from Grace Loberg, the Badgers took the first two sets handily.
In the final set, the Scarlet Knights kept it close but the dominance of the Badgers was too much for Rutgers in another three-set landslide, 25–13, 25–11, 25–21.
Loberg finished her impressive Saturday as the team’s leader with 10 kills. Loberg also added a team-high three aces. Through six games, the senior from Geneva, Illinois has 42 kills.
The Badgers look to continue their undefeated streak in the Big Ten in their next matchup Friday against Indiana, with a challenge in No. 5 Nebraska coming up at the end of February.