Wisconsin (5-0 Big Ten, 13-1 overall) dominated from the get-go against Rutgers (0-5, 4-14) Wednesday evening to remain undefeated in the Big Ten and extend its winning streak to eight games.
The Badgers started the match on fire, jumping out to a 17-5 lead in the first set, and senior Lauren Carlini scored eight straight points to lead the team to a 25-6 set win. The domination continued into the second and third sets, where the Badgers won 25-11 both times to complete the sweep of the Scarlet Knights.
“No matter who the opponent is, when you hold anybody in all three sets under 12 it's good,” Badgers’ head coach Kelly Sheffield said, according to UWBadgers.com. “We had a hard week of practice trying to get some reps in and I thought we came out there with the right mindset and did some good stuff.”
There was no star performance for the Rutgers squad, as no one on the team had more than five kills and no player recorded multiple blocks. The only minor bright spot was freshman Megan Sharkey, who lead the team with 10 assists.
While the Badgers were expected to win handily, the sheer perfection they exhibited Wednesday was astonishing. Carlini led the team with a phenomenal performance, leading the team in aces, blocks, assists and digs while setting a new career-high in aces with six.
“I thought everybody did a really nice job of serving,” Sheffield said. “Not just with the aces and the ace-to-error ratio, you can't really control the aces. But we were really moving the serve around, rarely was it just on someone's arms."
Senior Haleigh Nelson was also crucial to the Badgers’ win, leading the team with 11 kills. Though it was only Nelson’s second time leading UW in kills this season, she is having the best season of her career, averaging 2.71 kills per set. It was a prime example of why many thought Carlini and Nelson would be the two players to lead the Badgers to a great season.
Wisconsin will return to the Field House on Saturday, Oct. 8 to face off against No. 24 Illinois, its eighth matchup against a ranked opponent.