After a double sweep in Michigan, the Badger women are heading back home to the UW Fieldhouse to face two ranked Big Ten opponents. No. 3 Wisconsin (15-1) will face No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes (16-2) on Friday and No. 14 Penn State Nittany Lions (13-5) on Saturday.
Wisconsin is 7-1 in Big Ten conference play, while Ohio State and Penn State are both 6-2. This is the first time the Badgers have faced both the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions and the only time they will in the regular season.
Wisconsin took down Michigan State in a quick three sets, 25-20, 25-10 and 25-18. The next day, they swept their other Michigan Big Ten rival, University of Michigan, 25-23, 25-15 and 26-24. Although the University of Michigan game was closer than the Michigan State game, the Badgers still came out of the night with a sweep.
The Badgers hit over .300 in both their matches this past weekend against Michigan State and Michigan. Wisconsin also held the Spartans to a season-low opponent hitting percentage of negative .020, and they only allowed the Wolverines to hit .111.
Ohio State has some heavy hitters in the front row, both of which are pin hitters. Sophomore right side Emily Londot leads the team in kills with 229 so far this season and averages 3.75 kills per set. Junior outside Gabby Gonzales follows in kills with 192 and averages 3.20 kills per set, and junior defensive specialist Kylie Murr leads the team in digs (277), averaging 4.54 digs per set. Ohio State is a strong team all around, making it a fierce matchup for the Badgers.
Saturday’s opponent, the Penn State Nittany Lions, will be another laborious matchup for the Badgers. Senior right-side Jonni Parker is a force to be reckoned with in the front row, leading the team in kills 242 and averaging 3.72 kills per set. Senior setter Gabby Blossom won Big Ten Co-Setter of the Week, her second of the season and fifth of her career. Blossom averages 10.37 assists per set while also averaging an impressive 2.85 digs per set. This past weekend, Blossom recorded a career-high 58 assists and 20 digs against Purdue.
Fifth-year senior Dana Rettke continues to lead the Badgers with 188 kills, while freshman Julia Orzol follows with 142 kills so far, in her debut season. Junior Izzy Ashburn will be looking to reach the 100 aces mark, currently sitting at 98. Ashburn has 29 aces so far this season, and shows no signs of slowing down.
The Badgers will meet the Ohio State Buckeyes on Friday at 8 p.m. and will follow with a match against the Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday at 6 p.m., both at the UW Field House.