After quick turnaround, Wisconsin sweeps North Carolina
After Friday night’s performance in the UW Fieldhouse, all four teams in the annual Big 10/ACC Challenge had limited time to rest up and prepare for their opponent Saturday night. But for the Wisconsin Badgers (2-0), the quick turnaround was no problem at all. Even with games on consecutive days, UW was able to sweep the North Carolina Tar Heels (0-2) 25-21, 25-17, 25-19, starting its season on a promising note.
However, Wisconsin’s season has just begun and this year’s young, inexperienced Badger team has a lot of room to grow.
“This is a learning process that we are on,” head coach Kelly Sheffield said. “When you go and watch the film you are certainly going to find ways to get better.”
Overall, Sheffield was pleased with his team’s performance and saw improvement from the night before.
“I thought we got better from a night ago. I thought we cleaned up some things from last night, this was a very positive match for us,” Sheffield said.
The first set opened with the Badgers taking the lead. The Tar Heels responded quickly, though, and made the first set a fairly close one, with the Badgers unable to extend their lead to more than four points. But the Badgers never trailed in the first set, winning it 25-21.
The second set started off much like the first with Wisconsin scoring first. After a response from the Tar Heels, the Badgers made a 4-0 run causing North Carolina to call a timeout. Coming out of the timeout, the Badgers continued their run, extending their lead to 7-1 en route to 25-17 second set victory.
It was not until the third set that the Tar Heels finally started to strike back and take the lead. But UW stayed composed and capitalized on UNC’s errors toward the end of the set winning the third set, 25-19.
While the Badgers’ freshman have emerged as key contributors early in the season, UW’s upperclassmen have made their presence felt as well.
“My biggest role that I've come to know is that I have to be the most consistent and the most steady for the younger kids,” senior outside hitter Kelli Bates said. “I can still work on it, obviously my emotions are high in game, so the steadiness comes from knowing there are so many new people around me. That's what this team needs.”
Freshman middle blocker Dana Rettke led the team with 15 kills and five blocks, but junior middle blocker Tionna Williams was not far behind, adding 10 kills and two blocks.
Williams, like Bates, is tasked to both be one of UW’s main leaders off the court and playmakers on it. But she’s welcomed her new role with open arms.
“I wouldn't say I'm in a different situation. Dana is doing great, obviously,” Williams said. “Just being one of the oldest now, it's my position and it's my role to be the one that [Dana] looks for whenever she needs help with something, but she's killing it. I'm handling my responsibilities and she's doing hers too."
The Badgers will travel to play in the K-State Invitational next Friday, facing off against Syracuse at 10:00 a.m. and Arkansas at 5:30 p.m. before going up against Kansas State on Saturday.Subscribe to The Daily Cardinal Newsletter