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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Wisconsin has played better in its last four games, trying to right the boat after a rocky start.

Badgers stay perfect in Big Ten play, stomp Indiana

The Wisconsin Badgers (6-4 overall, 2-0 Big Ten) continued their strong start to conference play Sunday, as they defeated the Indiana Hoosiers (11-4 overall, 0-2 Big Ten) in four sets, highlighted by strong performances from Molly Haggerty and Grace Loberg.

The Badgers were able to start out the game strong on an Izzy Ashburn service run, fueled by dominant play from Dana Rettke and Molly Haggerty, typical of the Badgers. 

After taking a 9-2 lead in the first set, the Badgers were slowed down after Indiana began to find a rhythm and get back into the game. The Hoosiers were great on defense though, and were able to make things difficult for the Badgers on offense. Throughout the game, the Hoosiers made it very difficult for the Badgers to win rallies. 

Nevertheless, the Hoosiers made costly miscues including a net violation, the Badgers were able to close out the first set.

During the second set, Indiana answered immediately and came out to an early lead fueled by great defense, including two blocks. The Badger defense, which was certainly a strong point for them in this contest, faltered. 

There seemed to be communication errors which translated to the Badgers not being able to put up a solid attack. Wisconsin also struggled in the clutch, making a few costly mistakes in crunch time, and gave up the set to Indiana after an attack error.

In the third, Wisconsin showed that they were the better team. Not only were they able to get quick points off of Rettke and Haggerty spikes, but they were also able to stick it out and win long rallies. 

This set also featured a lot of service dominance, with four aces between Izzy Ashburn, Dana Rettke, and Sydney Hilley. While the Badgers struggled a bit to close the set, they were ultimately able to close it out and go up 2-1.

The fourth and final set was when the Badgers were really able to dominate. Everything that could go well for the Badgers did. They were able to recover from mistakes, and they were very strong on defense throughout the set. 

Tiffany Clark led the way on that front with 23 digs, while Dana Rettke continued the dominant stretch of service by leading the Badgers on a 5-0 run. Indiana continued to play stout defense during the set, but couldn’t find any answers for the Badgers. Up 24-15, Rettke was able to get a quick kill to end the game.

According to both Haggerty and Clark, this was the best defensive game that the Badgers have had all season. Indeed the Badgers have seen a lot of improvement on defense, especially after Friday night’s game against the Purdue Boilermakers. 

When asked about the keys to today’s game, Coach Kelly Sheffield stated that both defense and dominance on the service end were some of the key factors that led to Wisconsin’s win tonight. In addition, he emphasized how being able to control the ball led to the Badgers being able to make plays.

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Coach Sheffield also added that the team will continue to put an emphasis on defense in the upcoming games against Penn State and Nebraska, and that he is looking forward to some great matches against these two teams with a ton of talent.

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