After going 2-0 this past weekend, the No. 4 Wisconsin Badgers’ (11-1) volleyball team will continue their Big 10 conference play against the unranked Iowa Hawkeyes (2-12). Wisconsin is 3-1 in conference play and Iowa is 0-4.
The Badgers were ranked No. 5 last week and were able to move up in the rankings after a sweep against the No. 7 ranked Minnesota Gophers (now ranked No. 8) and a four set win against the Illinois Fighting Illini. The win against the Gophers added to the Badgers home winning streak, which now stretches 26 games.
After this impressive weekend, the Badgers swept the Big 10 awards for the week. Freshman Julia Orzoł was named both the Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week. Fifth-year senior Sydney Hilley was named the Setter of the Week for the third time this season, while fellow fifth-year senior Lauren Barnes was named the Defensive Player of the Week for the first time this season and third time in her career.
This matchup is the first between the Badgers and Hawkeyes since Nov. 22, 2019. Their last match was played at the UW Field House and Wisconsin secured the W in three sets. Last season’s match between the two teams was canceled due to COVID-19.
Iowa senior Courtney Buzzerio is one to watch in the front row, averaging 4.415 kills per set. Buzzerio has played in every set so far this season and plays all the way around. The 6’5” right side also averages 1.66 digs per set. Senior Maddie Slagle leads the team in digs, averaging 3.321 per set, and has made an appearance in every set so far this season.
Julia Orzoł has been a stand out player recently for the Badgers. Orzoł now leads the team in kills per set, averaging 3.68, and is second in overall kills this season, with 103. This is especially impressive considering she has only played in 28 of the 41 sets this season.
Barnes had a remarkable weekend in the back row. With 23 digs against Minnesota on Friday and 26 against Illinois on Sunday, Barnes surpassed 700 career saves.
As a team, the Badgers have been seeing a decrease in service errors in the past few matches. They had 17 service errors in their only loss this season against Maryland, and have kept the service errors under ten each match since.
The Badgers will play the Iowa Hawkeyes at the UW Field House on Wednesday at 6 p.m., in an attempt to continue their at-home winning streak.