No. 1 Wisconsin (16-0) beat No. 16 Brigham Young University (17-3) in three sets (25-20, 25-17, 25-12) Saturday, showcasing the team's depth behind outside hitter Molly Haggerty. After beating the Cougars, the Badgers will advance to the Elite Eight for the third consecutive year.
Haggerty was the backbone of Badger success in Saturday's match, contributing a team high 14 kills without a single error. The red-shirt senior finished the match with a .500 hitting percentage.
“I thought that was one of Molly Haggerty's best matches of her career,” head coach Kelly Sheffield said. “Not just with the number, but the presence that she had, she was in absolute beast mode.”
Middle blocker Dana Rettke saw some of her worst numbers of the season Saturday, putting down just 6 block assists, 6 kills and finishing the match with a hitting percentage of .095.
“I think something really special about our team is how balanced we are,” Hilley said. “If someone's not having a great offensive night, other people can take a load.”
As Rettke, the AVCA Northeast Regional Player of the Year, continued to struggle throughout the match, the rest of the Badgers were given the chance to demonstrate their depth.
Middle blocker/right side Devyn Robinson had 11 kills and a .500 hitting percentage on the night. Outside hitter Grace Loberg had eight kills, two service aces and eight digs for the Badgers.
“I just love how I have so many options and everyone's so talented,” Hilley said. “No matter where I set I feel confident we can get it down.”
The Badgers came out swinging in the first set, facing one of the more intense matches of their seasons thus far. 7 Badgers contributed to the team’s 15 kills, including setter Sydney Hilley who recorded 3 kills and finished the set with a hitting percentage of .750.
The Badgers also had three service aces from libero/defensive specialist Georgia Civita and setter/defensive specialist Izzy Ashburn.
Much as they have all season, the Badgers put up their best numbers in the third and final set. The team had a collective 18 kills and a hitting percentage of .486, keeping BYU to .152. Haggerty had eight of those kills, dominating the Cougars in the third set.
“I think throughout the match I was just trying to see different shots that were open and just moving it around,” Haggerty said. “I think as a hitter if you become too predictable and hitting in the same areas, it’s pretty easy to stop me and so I think that's something that I've really gotten better at throughout my years here is just kind of expanding my range with my hitting.”