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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Big weekend for volleyball

It is going to be a big weekend in the Field House. The sixth-ranked Wisconsin volleyball team (4-0 Big Ten, 10-2 overall) will face two perennial volleyball giants in Penn State and Ohio State. 




Penn State (3-1, 9-2) comes to Madison Friday night ranked third in the Big Ten and 10th in the nation, with losses only to Stanford and Ohio State. 




Senior Katie Schumacher, an outside hitter, leads the Nittany Lions with 4.8 kills per game and 3.05 digs per game. Schumacher not only leads her team in kills, but also leads the Big Ten in kills per game. Junior setter Shannon Bartner anchors the Penn State defense with an average of 3.17 kills per game. 




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'Penn State has always been a really strong program, with a national championship two years ago,' UW Head Coach Pete Waite said. 'They bring Schumacher, who hits from everywhere, and they give her a lot of balls and have a very quick setter. They just have a winning attitude on the court all the time, so they will always be a threat.' 




Saturday night UW will host 11th-ranked Ohio St. (4-0, 12-0). The Buckeyes bring a strong team to the Field House, led by Big Ten Player of the Week Stacey Gordon. Gordon, a freshman outside hitter, is averaging 4.21 kills and 3.21 digs per game.  




Teaming up with Gordon is senior outside hitter Anne Botica, who is averaging a team high 4.44 kills per game and 2.79 digs per game. Setter Katie Virtue leads the team with 13.67 assists per game. 




'Ohio State brings great balance, they have a starting line-up now as juniors that has started together since their freshman year, plus they have added a couple of new players,' Waite said. 'They have a freshman [Gordon] who is amazing on the court.' 




UW senior middle blocker Sherisa Livingston hopes to nullify the Buckeyes with a more patient game plan. 




'We have changed the speed [at] which we are playing just because of Ohio State,' Livingston said. 'We have to slow down and make them play at our pace, which they don't really like to do. I think Ohio State will be a tougher match because they bring more weapons and run a faster offense.' 




UW is well aware of the strengths of the teams coming to town this weekend and have been somewhat forced to alter their style of play. 




'We are doing a lot of work receiving jump serves,' Waite said.  




'Penn State and Ohio State have a lot of players on the team who jump serve, and that is pretty rare to see more than half of each team doing it. They also hit a lot out of the back row and that really changes up our blocking schemes.' 




The Badgers realize how important their play is this weekend and what the effects of this weekend could have on the season. 




'This weekend is pretty huge,' Livingston said. 'It is big as far as where we are going to stand further down the line in the Big Ten. We need these games to stay undefeated in the Big Ten and it will make it that much harder for the other teams to catch us.' 




Waite agrees with Livingston. 




'This weekend is huge as far as our ranking in the Big Ten and nationally,' Waite said. 'If we can come out of here with a win or two that would be fantastic. Our goal has to be to play our best ball long enough to overtake two great opponents.'

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