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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Sunday, June 16, 2024
Kelli Bates

Sophomore outside hitter Kelli Bates had nine kills against penn State, but her efforts still fell short.

Thorn in Wisconsin’s side continues to grow sharper

Unfortunately for No. 16 Wisconsin (0-1 Big Ten, 8-3 over- all), it opened up this year’s Big Ten play in the same way they did last year by getting swept by Penn State. The No. 1 Nittany Lions (1-0, 12-0), back-to-back national champions, swept the

Badgers in University Park, Pa. Wednesday night by scores of 25-21, 25-16 and 25-20.

Before the game began, Wisconsin head coach Kelly Sheffield knew the Badgers would be in for a test.

“Their lefts and their rights are crazy talented, and they have a sophomore middle that is wicked and nasty,” Sheffield said in a Monday press conference. “They are very well-trained, typical Penn State team, meaning very, very good.”

Wisconsin’s offense was not very effective, as it had a .196 hitting percentage, while Penn State’s offense flourished, hitting .376 as a team.

Penn State out-blocked and out-assisted the Badgers, beating them 11-10 and 46-38 respectively.

Junior middle blocker Haleigh Nelson and sophomore outside hitter Kelli Bates led the Badgers with 10 and nine kills, respectively.

Sophomore outside hitter Ali Frantti (14 kills) and sopho- more middle blocker Haleigh Washington (11) powered Penn State, which had four players with double-digit kills to the Badgers’ one.

Washington dominated the Badgers last year and she contin- ued her dominance Wednesday, adding a game-high five blocks to her kill count.

This is a familiar story for the Badgers, as they’ve lost to Penn State six times since Sheffield became the head coach during the 2013-’14 season.

Unfortunately, two of these loses have come in the NCAA tournament, with the Badgers falling to Penn State in the finals in 2013-’14 and in the regionals in 2014-’15.

The Badgers are hoping their latest loss to Penn State will have the same results it did last year, when, after getting swept by Penn State, the Badgers went on a 22-game win streak before falling in the tournament. Making matters worse for Wisconsin, junior setter Lauren Carlini had an uncharacteristically low amount of assists in Wednesday’s game, totaling only 36.

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Wisconsin put up a strong fight in the first set, hit- ting a strong .250 percent. Unfortunately for Wisconsin, they also made five errors in the set and Penn State had a hitting percentage of .350.

The second set went even worse for the Badgers, as they could get nothing going on offense while being shredded by Penn State’s offense. Wisconsin had a hitting percentage of .111 while Penn State hit an overwhelming .458 percent with 14 kills.

Wisconsin did manage to put up a fight in the third set but were once again overwhelmed by the defending champs.

Wisconsin again hit a poor percentage of .194, while Penn State’s offense continued to roar hitting a .345 percentage with 15 kills.

As is usual for Big Ten play, the Badgers’ tough games don’t stop after Penn State. Next up for Wisconsin is a Sept. 27 visit with No. 12 Ohio State before returning home Sept. 30 to take on No. 9 Illinois.

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