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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, October 01, 2022
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Team during an NCAA Volleyball match against Baylor on Saturday August 28, 2021 in Madison, Wisconsin.

Photo by Tom Lynn/Wisconsin Athletic Communications

No. 3 Badgers reign successful in trying Big Ten weekend

During an exciting weekend at home, the No. 3 Wisconsin Badgers (17-1) took down No. 6 Ohio State (16-4) in four sets on Friday before beating No. 14 Penn State Nittany Lions (14-6) in a tense five-set duel on Saturday. These results keep Wisconsin at the No. 3 spot, while Ohio State and Penn State dropped to No. 9 and 13, respectively. 

Wisconsin's match against Ohio State was one of the toughest yet this season for the Badgers, however, they were able to finish the Buckeyes in four sets, 26-24, 25-22, 18-25, 25-14. The Badgers recorded their second-lowest hitting percentage of the season at .239, but they battled back with stellar blocks, out-blocking Ohio State, 19-6. 

The first two sets against the Buckeyes were quite the back and forth battle, the leading team depending mostly on who was making the least amount of errors. The Badgers out-hit the Buckeyes in both sets, .351 to .22 in the first set and .222 to .19 in the second. 

Despite proving dominance over the Buckeyes in the first two sets, the Badgers fell in the third set, 18-25, which was only the eighth set they dropped thus far this season. Ohio State started on an 11-3 scoring run due to defensive issues on the Badgers end. Despite fighting back to only trail 18-15, the Badgers came up short.

Wisconsin battled back in the fourth set, proving themselves to be worthy of their No. 3 ranking. The Badgers held the Buckeyes to .164 (56-32-146), their lowest hitting percentage of the season. Middle Blocker and fifth-year senior Dana Rettke showed up against the Buckeyes, hitting .577 (16-1-26), earning her Big 10 Player of the Week. 

Rettke acknowledged Ohio State, saying that it was good preparation for the postseason. "Ohio State's a great team," Rettke said. "They're super gritty and a really good team and that's the type of team we're going to be seeing in the postseason. I thought we just battled really hard against them tonight."

The battle against Ohio State was only the beginning of the challenging weekend for the Badgers, for they had to face the Nittany Lions in a trying five-set match. The match ended in a Badger win, 25-27, 32-30, 20-25, 25-23, 15-7, upping their school-record home winning streak to 30 matches. 

Despite being down 2-1 sets, the Badgers came out strong in the fourth set, with Freshman outside hitter Julia Orzol putting away nine kills in the fourth set alone. Orzol put away a total of 19 kills, a career-high for the freshman, following Dana Rettke with a team-high of 24 kills in the match. The Badgers continued into the fifth set on a high note, leading them to a win against the Nittany Lions. 

The match may not have been the strongest for Wisconsin, but many Badgers walked away with career-high and season-high records. Fifth-year senior and libero Lauren Barnes had a career-high 29 digs, while also tying her career-high of three aces. Sophomore Devyn Robinson led the team in blocks, totaling 10 blocks and tying her career-best, which she set the night before against Ohio State.

The Badgers are set to face yet another ranked Big Ten team this week. Wisconsin faces the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Nebraska on Wednesday at 8 p.m. 

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