No. 11 Wisconsin (10-4 Big Ten, 18-6 overall) will be looking to extend its winning streak to seven games on Wednesday when it travels to Ann Arbor on Michigan (6-8, 16-9) for the second time in a week.
In their first matchup with Michigan, the Badgers swept the Wolverines at the UW Field House.
“It was a 3-0 sweep a few days ago, but we also know that we are in for one heck of a battle,” UW head coach Kelly Sheffield said. “We’re playing against a team that is very, very different at home.”
Wisconsin hit .311 as a team with 51 blocks on 48 assists. In contrast, the Wolverines hit only .138 as a team with 37 kills on 35 assists in the loss.
Junior middle blocker Haleigh Nelson and sophomore outside hitter Lauryn Gillis each had a match-high 14 kills, while junior libero Lauren Carlini led the way in distributing with 44 assists.
In the first set of the sweep, the Wolverines kept it close. The Badgers were on the verge of set point at 24-23 when the Wolverines quickly switched the script on UW to take a 25-24 lead.
The teams continued to go back and forth until the Badgers put the set away with a kill from Nelson and a block from redshirt junior outside hitter Romana Kriskova.
The next sets were not nearly as close. The Badgers dominated the second set 25-12 and completed the sweep with a 25-20 win in the third set.
Wisconsin’s win against the Wolverines was the fifth win in its current six-game winning streak. After defeating Michigan at home, the Badgers swept its other foe from the Great Lake State, the Michigan State Spartans.
The Badgers’ win against the Spartans was their sixth win in a row and 10th in Big Ten play. For Sheffield, it was the 350th win of his coaching career. However, Sheffield was unaware of the individual accolade when asked about it.
“We went out, we partied a lot last night and really celebrated with the family, and got all the former assistants and all my former players together, went out,” Sheffield joked. “I didn’t even know that, I wish I had something.”
Before defeating Michigan and Michigan State, the Badgers beat Iowa, No. 8 Nebraska, No. 17 Purdue and Indiana during their current winning streak. It’s been an impressive stretch after a slow start to the conference season.
Wisconsin started out Big Ten play going 4-4 with losses to No. 1 Penn State, No. 14 Ohio State and No. 4 Minnesota. Its wins came against No. 16 Illinois and unranked Northwestern, Maryland and Rutgers.
The Wolverines have not beat a ranked Big Ten team yet, losing to No. 17 Purdue, No. 1 Penn State, No. 14 Ohio State, No. 16 Illinois and No. 4 Minnesota before falling to the Badgers.
The Badgers will take on Michigan Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., after which they’ll return to Madison to face Iowa Saturday night at 7.