Coming off of an unsatisfying win Friday night, the Badgers were able to show improvement where improvement was needed. No. 1 Wisconsin (6-0) beat Rutgers (2-4) 25-13, 25-11, 25-21 on Saturday night in their second sweep of the Scarlet Knights this weekend.
The Badgers put away nine service aces on Friday and continued the momentum Saturday, putting away seven, four of which were in the first set. Up 9-5 in the first set, outside hitter Grace Loberg led the Badgers on a six point run, putting down two kills and two service aces.
“It gets to be difficult trying to get on runs of points, because we’ll have somebody that'll go back there and get a couple and then then air themselves out,” head coach Kelly Sheffield said. “Grace doesn't do that very much, she's a player that can go back out there and just put ball after ball after ball. She's worked hard at developing a good serve ... that run of points was surely nice.”
The Scarlet Knights couldn’t gain much momentum in the second set, and the Badgers held them to just 11 points, going on a 13-1 scoring run to finish the second set.
A Badger lineup change in the third set allowed the Scarlet Knights to put up more of a fight, but the Badgers held in there to sweep them in three sets.
After Friday night’s win, the Badgers were not too pleased with their performance. Tonight, the Badgers showed improvement, putting up an overall hitting percentage of .312.
“It's cool to see that when we struggle on night one that we're able to pick up what we struggled on and come in and fix it the next night,” Loberg said.
Still, the Badgers didn’t play a perfect match against the unranked Scarlet Knights, and had hitting averages below .300 in the second and third sets.
“We had a good effort on night two,” Sheffield said. “Can we play better? Yeah, absolutely but you're probably gonna get me to say that no matter who we're playing. The things we were looking to do, the things that we were trying to correct and the things that we showed on film and discussed last night and today, I thought we took a pretty good jump in those areas.”
Players attributed last night’s lack of momentum to the absence of fans and the need to create energy on their own. Tonight, the Badgers put in that extra effort.
“We know every match that we come out this year we're not going to have fans and that's gonna have to come from us,” Hilley said. “Our bench and just us on the court, we're doing a really good job of having a lot of positive energy and just creating our own noise.”
Wisconsin plays Indiana (1-4) next Friday at 3 p.m. in Bloomington, Indiana.