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Monday, August 15, 2022
Undermanned Badgers drop four sets to ISU at Field House

Undermanned Badgers drop four sets to ISU at Field House: Junior outside hitter Allison Wack was the go-to player for the Badger offense Saturday, leading the team with 16 kills and 51 total attacks.

Undermanned Badgers drop four sets to ISU at Field House

The Badgers opened their home spring season without one of their best players and lost all four sets they played against Iowa State Saturday afternoon.  


Senior outside hitter Brittney Dolgner, who led the team in kills last season, stood in the corner in street clothes making calls as the Badgers fell 25-14, 25-20, 25-12, 25-12. 


Due to the informal nature of the match, the Cyclones took the court in shirts with numbers taped to the backs rather than jerseys, and the usual rule of best-of-five sets for victory was cast off. Wisconsin used only eight players during the match due to injuries and illnesses. 


""A lot of [the players] were sick this week and we almost cancelled this event because we didn't have enough bodies, and obviously Brittney sat out the whole thing,"" Wisconsin head coach Pete Waite said. ""It's one of those things where you want to be smart and be healthy for the fall, so we don't want to risk anything with her going when she shouldn't be going."" 


The Badgers were competitive in the first two sets, but never led in the final two. Junior Allison Wack made the biggest impact on the stat sheet for Wisconsin, accruing 16 kills and 17 attack errors.  


""[Wack] really today became the go-to hitter, [Sophomore setter Janelle Gabrielsen] was setting the ball well and she was scoring well,"" Waite said, noting that his line-ups were scrambled due to the limited roster. ""Someone like [senior setter] Jessa [Benson], she was playing on the left side where she's really a setter and she had to play that role with Brittney being out."" 


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Iowa State, however, held a decisive edge in hitting, with a percent of .239 compared to -.104 for the Badgers. The Cyclones also dominated at the net, out-blocking Wisconsin 20-3. 


The Badger players and coaches agreed after the game that while the day's results were not necessarily sterling, the spring season is more about getting players more experience and improving execution. 


""Spring is more the season to test out your new lineups,"" Wack said. ""We're just trying a whole new thing this year. So really spring doesn't count with your record, it's just kind of a measuring stick."" 


The Badgers are also in the midst of switching back to a 5-1 offense after spending last season in a 6-2 offense. The 6-2 utilizes two setters, but after the graduation of setter Nikki Klingsporn, Gabrielsen will be the primary player at the position. 


""[The new offense] is a little different for me, no hitting,"" Gabrielsen said. ""I think some people are moving to new positions, like Caity DuPont on the right side. So we're trying to get used to it right now and hopefully we'll get better at it during the spring season."" 


Coaching across from Waite was a familiar face—Christy Johnson, who coached at Wisconsin for several seasons. Johnson's Cyclones also upset the then-No.8 Badgers in the Field House in the second round of the 2007 NCAA tournament.  


Waite said that the teams had visited each other in past springs, adding that they had a good scrimmage before the match. He also spoke warmly of Johnson, calling her a great friend.  


The Cyclones also provided a test for a young Badger squad, which missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in Waite's tenure last season.  


""You want strong teams [as spring opponents],"" Waite said. ""You don't want someone weak to come in here and you just can serve the ball over and they can't get it back and you don't have any rallies. So because they're a strong team it was a great challenge for us, and even in a time when we graduated a bunch and some people are sick and injured, it's still a challenge for us to step up and learn some mental toughness.""

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