The Badgers are still undefeated, but lost their second set of the season to the Spartans Sunday afternoon.
No. 1 Wisconsin (10-0) beat Michigan State (2-7) in four sets (25-10, 25-16, 21-25, 25-22), holding onto the top spot in the nation for the fifth straight weekend.
The Spartans took leads early in every set on the afternoon, which caught up to the Badgers in the third set. The Badgers finished the set with a hitting average of .138 to the Spartans’ .265. This is only the second time this season that the Badgers haven’t swept their opponents.
“They got clobbered there for a little bit,” UW Head Coach Kelly Sheffield said. “I thought they really stepped up their game. They passed really, really well. They out-passed us big time today.”
The Spartans carried the same momentum into the fourth set and the Badgers relied on outside hitter Jade Demps to finish the match. She put away three kills in the final seven points of the match.
Demps had her strongest performance of the season Sunday afternoon, putting away 17 kills for the Badgers and finishing the match with an average hitting percentage of .531.
“We were getting her the ball a lot. We were out of system an awful lot and she was taking some really, really good out-of-system swings for us – working the ball all over the court,” Sheffield said postgame.
Demps came through in big ways all match, helping the Badgers pull away at the tail end of tight sets.
“I feel like our practices prepare me more than enough to come out and play well, and go out and get as many kills as I can for our team,” Demps said.
The Badgers dominated the Spartans in the first set, going on a nine point scoring run and finishing with a hitting average of .364 to the Spartans’ -.133. Michigan State had nine attack errors in the first set.
The Badgers went on an 11-2 point scoring run to cinch the second set. Within that scoring run, Middle blocker/right side Devyn Robinson put away three kills, and middle blocker Danielle Hart two. Demps contributed three kills in the second set, helping to power the Badgers to another win.
Middle blocker Dana Rettke had a season high of five solo blocks Sunday afternoon. Libero Lauren Barnes also put in work for the Badgers, recording 28 digs.
“Defensively I thought we were just really, really good today,” Sheffield said. “We were so much better [yesterday] than we were [today]. Barnes was certainly leading the way. That was certainly her best match of the season, no doubt about it.”
Wisconsin will take on No. 4 Nebraska Friday and Saturday night at home.