No. 1 Wisconsin (8-0) defeated Indiana (2-6) for the second night in a row on Saturday evening, 25-23, 25-11, 26-24. The Badgers have swept their opponents in seven of their eight matches this season.
After finishing Friday’s match with a hitting percentage of .316 (44 kills-14 errors-95 attempts), the Badgers improved on Saturday to a season’s best .420 (42-8-81).
Senior outside hitter Grace Loberg shined on the court, finishing with an impressive .700 (14-0-20) hitting percentage and zero attacking errors. Freshman Devyn Robinson also hit above .500 for the second night in a row, racking up 11 kills on Saturday after her career high of 18 on Friday.
“We were just playing with some great competitive energy I think,” Loberg commented after Saturday’s match. “Our goal going into these double weekends is: Be better than we were the night before. We wanted to come in and improve on the things we struggled with [Friday] and I think we did a good job of that.”
This offensive success wouldn’t be possible without the 38 assists from senior setter and reigning Big Ten Setter of the Year Sydney Hilley. Hilley also led the team in digs on Saturday night, with a total of eight saves.
While sets one and three were neck-and-neck, the Badger’s strong lead in set two can be attributed to Sophomore Izzy Ashburn’s string of service aces. By the time Ashburn was finished serving, her team had a 13-5 lead. She aced the Hoosiers a total six times Saturday night — a career best for the sophomore.
“Izzy coming in the second and just really flustering them I thought was a huge key in the match,” UW Head Coach Kelly Sheffield commented on Ashburn’s four straight service aces.
Ashburn and Loberg both noted how Ashburn’s serving success gave the team a confidence boost.
“I was just kind of trying to find that confidence,” Ashburn said. “[Friday] wasn’t a great serving day for me and so today I just wanted to help my team out a little bit more.”
The Badgers have been working to improve their defensive blocking all season and ended Saturday’s match with eight blocks. Four of these blocks came from Senior star player Dana Rettke, who got into a groove in the later half of the match for the second night in a row.
The Badgers are on the road again next week, heading to East Lansing to play Michigan State in back to back matches Friday and Saturday afternoon.