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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Volleyball pounds conference foes

A difficult weekend for the Wisconsin volleyball team has come to an end. 




The Badgers came out victorious with wins over both Penn State and Ohio State, claiming sole possession of first place in the Big Ten Conference standings.  




The sixth-ranked Badgers came into the weekend 4-0 overall and 10-2 in the Big Ten.  




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Penn State, Wisconsin's opponent Friday night, came to the field house ranked 10th in the nation with a record of 3-1 overall and 8-2 in conference play, with their only conference loss coming at the hands of UW's opponent for Saturday night, Ohio State. Ohio State (5-0, 13-0) came in ranked 11th in the country. 




Wisconsin swept Penn State 30-23, 30-19, 30-21. Led by senior middle blocker Sherisa Livingston's match-high 18 kills, the Badgers were able to overpower Penn State.  




The Badgers hit a season-high .398 percent for the match. Sophomore Lisa Zukowski and junior Erin Byrd also aided UW's offense with 25 kills combined. 




It wasn't only the Badgers' offense that created problems for the Nittany Lions, but also their defense. In one of their best defensive efforts all season, Wisconsin stuffed 10 Penn State balls and collected 46 digs compared to Penn State's 26. With their strong defense, the Badgers were able to hold the Nittany Lions leader in kills, Katie Schumacker, to only 11 for the game.  




'We got a lot of touches on the block to slow down balls and our defense picked up 20 more balls than they did.' UW Head Coach Pete Waite said. 'That's a huge stat in this type of game and I think their hitters got very frustrated with not being able to score.'  




The solid play that Wisconsin showed in Friday's game also appeared in their match against the Buckeyes. 




The Saturday night contest pitted the lone undefeated teams in the conference against each another. UW swept Ohio State in the match 30-25, 30-28, 30-16, handing the Buckeyes their first loss of the season.  




The Badgers, led once again by the strong hitting of Livingston, had a team high percentage of .262 and held Ohio State to .157 percent. 




The first game was close, as neither team seemed able to pull away. OSU took the lead at 13-11, but the Badgers stepped up their defense and tied the score 13-13. Byrd and senior Lizzy Fitzgerald tallied 12 digs each for the game, leading the Badgers' defense. With the momentum flowing in UW's direction, the Badgers were able to hold off the Buckeyes in game one.  




'We were a little off the first game,' Waite said. 'We weren't really in sync on the court. It took a little wake-up call with them taking the lead early in the first game and some great digs. One of them, by Byrd I think, really got us back in the match. It was some great defense.' 




Wisconsin took an early lead in game two, but failed to hold on as the Buckeyes took the lead 25-23. The game remained close as the lead changed four times in the final seven points. A kill by Zukowski tied the match at 28-28, and a pair of errors by the Buckeyes gave Wisconsin game two.  




UW dominated the final game from the start, opening up to a 15-4 lead. The Badgers out-hit the Buckeyes .344 to .083 percent in the final game. Livingston sparked UW's success going six for six on kill attempts, ultimately putting OSU away.  




The Badgers continue Big Ten play Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Northwestern.

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