Wisconsin (9-0) didn’t drop a single set Saturday afternoon as they dominated Michigan State (2-6), 25-20, 25-9, 25-13.
The Spartan’s defense kept the Badgers on their toes in the first set, and, despite Wisconsin getting off to an early lead, the teams were tied 13-13 halfway through the match. Kills by Freshmen Devin Robinson and Jade Demps helped the Badgers secure the set.
In the final two sets, the Badgers stayed in the system with excellent ball control and offensive intensity while the Spartans racked up a number of unforced errors.
Even though the Badgers’ passing game was on point, both teams recorded 33 digs. Wisconsin’s biggest advantage was their offensive game.
Three Badgers ended the night with eight kills, including Jade Demps - a career high for the outside hitter.
“(Jade) can get up there, especially (on) out of system balls.” Head Coach Kelly Sheffield said. “She can get up there and over the block. Her off-speed shot is really, really disguised well. She’s a handful. It’s hard to slow her down.”
Senior Dana Rettke had four blocks and eight kills of her own, leading to an impressive hitting percentage of .615 (8 kills - 0 errors - 13 attempts). Throughout the entire match, Wisconsin averaged a hitting percentage of 0.397 (37-6-78) and held Michigan State to just .071 (27-21-84).
Saturday afternoon also showcased some of the best Badger serving and serve receiving of the season. The team ended the night with seven service aces, three of which came from Senior Giorgia Citiva, and were only aced three times.
“I really liked our serve-pass game today,” Sheffield commented. “Our serving really kept them off balance. Our passing did a really good job against some servers who can go back there and really get on the ball in a hurry.”
This first of two matchups against Michigan State was No. 1 ranked Wisconsin’s eight sweep of the season, but earlier this week Coach Sheffield assured fans that the success never goes to the team’s head.
“I don’t worry about this team being overconfident or I guess cocky or arrogant or anything else like that,” Sheffield said. “We might challenge them at times to get more out of them, but this group is really driven.”
Wisconsin will return to Jenison Field House Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. for their second matchup against Michigan State.