After falling to Minnesota at home last week, the Badgers had a chance to return the favor over the weekend.
But it was not to be for No. 15 Wisconsin (4-4 Big Ten, 12-6 overall) who fell to No. 11 Minnesota (7-1, 15-3) 20-25, 23-25, 25-19, 19-25 in Minneapolis Saturday afternoon.
Both teams were extremely competitive in their offensive performances. Wisconsin hit .233 percent as a team with 58 kills and 18 errors, while Minnesota hit .235 as a team with 61 kills and 21 errors.
Sophomore outside hitter Lauryn Gillis led the Badgers with a career-high 20 kills followed by freshman middle blocker Tionna Williams and redshirt junior outside hitter Romana Kriskova with 12 and 10 kills, respectively.
On the defensive side, both teams battled hard with Wisconsin blocking 11 of Minnesota’s shots and the Gophers blocking 7.5 of Wisconsin’s. Williams led all UW players with six blocks, followed by junior middle blocker Haleigh Nelson, who recorded five.
Senior libero Taylor Morey led Wisconsin with 25 digs, closely followed by junior setter Lauren Carlini with 21.
Wisconsin and Minnesota battled back and forth in the first set with the team’s trading points in the beginning. Unfortunately for UW, with the game tied at seven, three straight Minnesota points kept the Badgers away for the rest of the set to help the Gophers draw first blood.
Wisconsin came out strong in the second set jumping out to a 10-6 lead highlighted by five different players recording kills. However, Minnesota refused to go away, with junior outside hitter Sarah Wilhite recording three kills and a block to give Minnesota the 12-11 lead. The Badgers were able to regain the lead in the set at 19-18 but the Gophers were able to close out the set from there. With Minnesota leading 24-21, the Gophers closed out the set with a kill to go up 2-0 in sets.
Again in the third set, Wisconsin came out fast going on a 5-0 run. Minnesota was able to cut UW’s lead down to two at 12-10, but the Badgers pulled away to secure an easy 25-19 set victory.
In the fourth and final set, Minnesota came out smelling blood. After a 6-0 run in the beginning of the set, the Badgers were down 12-5. Even after Wisconsin went on a short run of its own, the Gophers would not let the Badgers back into the game. Wisconsin got within four points but Minnesota didn’t let the Badgers get any closer, closing out the set 25-19 to win the match.
Up for next for Wisconsin is back-to-back road matchups with Iowa and Nebraska on Oct. 23 and 24, before returning home against Purdue on Halloween weekend.