After sweeping Purdue, the Badgers are ready to hit the road. No. 1 Wisconsin (2-0) will travel to Urbana-Champaign to take on Illinois (2-0) this weekend in their first away matches of the season.
Last weekend, the Badgers swept No. 13 Purdue (3-0) two nights in a row. Illinois beat the University of Iowa 3-1 in both of their matches over the weekend. Both Illinois and Iowa were unranked in preseason polling from the AVCA.
Last weekend, the Illini had a hitting percentage of .211 compared to the Badger’s .387. The Illini averaged 13 kills per set over the weekend to the Badger’s 14.83.
The unique format of this season’s schedule means that the Badgers will face the Illini in back-to-back matches this weekend with the ability to review game film between each one.
Illinois averaged 3.3 blocks per set over the weekend to the Badger’s 2.3, but blocking is something we saw the Badgers improve on in their second match last weekend, with 10 blocks in their second match alone. We can expect the Badgers to continue their blocking momentum against the Illini if this is something they’ve continued to focus on in practice.
The Badgers gave up seven service errors in their first match against Purdue and 9 in their second. They will need to stay out of their own way this weekend and avoid service errors in this matchup to continue their untroubled winning streak.
The Illini made 21 service errors last weekend and 49 others. Aside from the Badger’s 16 service errors, they only made 14 other errors.
Outside hitter/opposite Megan Cooney is a standout player for the Illini. The senior has put away an impressive 30 kills so far this season, more than any of the Badgers, and had six aces last weekend as well. She goes into this weekend with a .269 hitting percentage.
Outside hitter/middle blocker Ellie Holzman is another player to look out for in this matchup. The redshirt freshman made her collegiate debut last weekend, putting away 27 kills and has a hitting percentage of .258.
Middle blocker for the Illini Rylee Hinton was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the week last week, putting up 16 blocks in their matches against the Hawkeyes.
Wisconsin will play Illinois on Friday at 3 p.m. and Saturday at 11 a.m. at Huff Hall in Urbana-Champaign, IL.