Going into the weekend, the No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers (10-8 Big Ten, 19-8 overall) were hoping to play more consistently than they have since Big Ten competition started. The 2017 season has been a turbulent one, but Wisconsin found redemption in Illinois.
With their conference road play coming to an end this weekend, the Badgers beat the No. 27 Illinois Fighting Illini (10-8 Big Ten, 19-10 overall) 3-1 Friday night and swept the Northwestern Wildcats (4-14 Big Ten, 14-16 overall) on Sunday.
Against Illinois, Wisconsin lost the first set 20-25. The rocky start to the match luckily didn’t prelude to a total defeat. The Badgers responded back winning the next three sets 25-21, 25-16 and 25-20. With a total hitting percentage at .298, the Badgers dominated Illinois’ .201 and had more kills in all four sets.
Junior and freshman middle blockers Tionna Williams and Danna Rettke lead the team with 14 kills and 3 blocks each, while senior outside hitter Lauryn Gillis was not far behind with 13 of her own. Additionally, senior outside hitter Kelli Bates had 11 kills and redshirt sophomore outside hitter Madison Duello had 10 of her own. Freshman setter Sydney Hilley earned her career-high of 57 assists, while also recording a double-double by contributing 10 digs to the team’s total.
The Badger’s got a full day of rest before they travelled to Evanston, Illinois to play the Wildcats on Sunday, where they swept Northwestern 3-0 with the scores of 25-20, 25-18 and 25-17.
Rettke lead the team again with a hitting percentage of .611 and earning 13 kills. Gillis followed close behind adding 12 kills, and Hilley had a high hitting percentage as well at .600. Gillis and Duello both hit serving aces with sophomore libero Tiffany Clark contributing 16 digs.
Wisconsin’s success this weekend will hopefully bleed into their highly-anticipated upcoming rematch with No. 1 Penn State on Friday.