The No. 6 Wisconsin volleyball team (0-0 Big Ten, 6-1 overall) split a pair of weekend matches on their trip to Texas, losing in four sets to Baylor, and routing North Texas 3-0.
In their match vs. Baylor (0-0 Big 12, 6-3 overall), Wisconsin held the slight advantage in hitting percentage, finishing at .294 (59 kills, 17 errors, 143 attempts) to Baylor's .293 (66-20-157). The Bears (6-3) were led by sophomore Yossiana Pressley, who put away a match-high 32 kills.
UW sophomore Dana Rettke led the Badgers with 19 kills and nine blocks while adding two digs. She also hit a team-high .571. Junior Madison Duello added 13 kills, five blocks and three digs while hitting .565.
Against North Texas (0-0 C-USA, 3-8 overall), the Badgers displayed dominance across the board, putting down the Mean Green in three sets.
Wisconsin was propelled to victory by a season-high 12 service aces, out-serving North Texas, 12-4. Sophomore Molly Haggerty led the way with a career-high five aces, followed by sophomore Dana Rettke and junior Madison Duello with two apiece. Haggerty's total tied her for second on the UW single-match record list under 25-point rally scoring.
Offensively, the Badgers hit an efficient .330 thanks to double-digit kills from Grace Loberg and Duello. Wisconsin also stifled the Mean Green on the defensive end and held them to a measly .135 hitting percentage.
The bright spot on the trip, according to head coach Kelly Sheffield, wasn’t on the court, but in the stands. Even more than 1000 miles from Madison, Badger fans made up a sizable and vocal portion of the crowd at both matches, and showed the reach that the program has made in recent years.
“It was incredible to be in a gym in Denton [Texas] where almost half the crowd were Badger fans,” Sheffield said after the trip. “I don’t know how many kids who came up and said they started watching when they were little, they were Lauren Carlini fans and then Kelli Bates fans and now they’re Tiffany Clark fans.”
This weekend the Badgers face another ranked opponent, playing in-state rivals No. 21 Marquette (0-0 Big East, 7-2 overall) on Friday night, and will make a quick turnaround to play Illinois State (0-0 Missouri Valley, 7-2 overall) on Saturday morning. The Badgers will need to play up to their abilities this weekend, against two strong, upstart programs before they open the Big Ten slate by welcoming the Ohio State Buckeyes to the UW Fieldhouse on Sept. 19.