It took five sets, but the Badgers’ hot streak continued Wednesday night.
No. 10 Wisconsin (13-4 Big Ten, 21-6) extended one streak while snapping another by defeating No. 18 Illinois (9-9, 18-9) in five sets, 25-22, 10-25, 25-22, 26-28, 15-12 in Champaign, Illinois.
The Badgers extended their conference-winning streak to nine, but their streak of five consecutive sweeps of conference teams came to a halt.
In the first set, UW jumped out to an early 5-0 lead thanks to two kills by junior middle blocker Haleigh Nelson and two service aces by senior libero Taylor Morey. The Badgers extended their lead to 10-5 before the Illini cut the lead to 12-10.
Kills by junior setter Lauren Carlini, sophomore outside hitter Kelli Bates and Nelson helped make the score 19-13 before Illinois got the score to 19-18. A service error and an attack error, along with a Bates kill, made the score 24-20 before a kill by redshirt junior outside hitter Romana Kriskova gave UW the first set.
Illini dominated early in the second set, racing to a 12-1 lead over the Badgers, and never looked back as UW committed 14 errors in the set.
The Badgers rebounded in the third set to take a 5-1 lead, but Illinois rallied to take a 13-12 advantage. The Illini went up 21-17 before UW retook the lead 24-22 on an Illini attack error and a kill by Carlini. A Bates kill led to the Badgers winning the third set.
The fourth set was very close with both teams retaking the lead. Down 24-23, a kill by Nelson forced the game into extra points. UW and Illinois each had opportunities to win the set before the Illini capitalized, winning 28-26.
The fifth set was another battle that went down to the wire. With UW trailing 10-8, two kills by Kriskova and one kill by Bates tied the set at 11. The Badgers regained the lead with a kill by freshman middle blocker Tionna Williams and never trailed again in the set. A kill by Kriskova sealed the deal for Wisconsin, who won the final set 15-12.
For the game, UW had a lower hit percentage at .188 compared to Illinois’ .200 yet still managed to win. The Badgers finished with 65 kills compared to UI’s 63, and had 63 assists compared to the Illini’s 62.
Nelson had a game-high 18 kills while Williams added 13 and Bates recorded 12. Nelson also led the Badgers with seven blocks while Williams and Kriskova each added five of their own.
Carlini finished with a match-high 57 assists and Morey contributed a match-high 21 digs.
The Badgers hope to extend their conference win streak to double digits as they take on Ohio State Sunday at 1 p.m. at the UW Field House.