The Wisconsin volleyball team began their three-game away series by facing Indiana on Wednesday, Oct. 5. They swept the Hoosiers, winning 25-23, 25-18 and 25-19. Sarah Franklin had a match-high 13 kills, followed by Danielle Hart who totaled 10. Wisconsin out-blocked Indiana 13-4 and grabbed their 14th-straight match win against the Hoosiers.
The Badgers headed to West Lafayette on Saturday to take on No. 11 Purdue. Entering the match, Purdue had an eight game win streak and was undefeated in the conference and at home, 5-0 and 8-0 respectively. Wisconsin put a damper on their alumnae day as they took the match 3-1.
Wisconsin fell early in the first set, down 0-5, and was only ever able to get within four points of Purdue. The Badgers hit .176 percent while the Boilermakers managed a .313 percentage. Purdue also had two aces in the set which helped them gain a lead of 10 later on in the game.
Purdue dominated the first set at their home court but was unable to do the same in the second set. The Boilermakers put up a zero hitting percentage with eight kills and eight errors. They also had four service errors this set while Wisconsin had three service aces. Purdue managed to hold on to the lead for the majority of the set, but Wisconsin controlled the rest after it was tied at 15. The Badgers went on to win 25-19.
There were three lead changes and four ties throughout the set, but Wisconsin took 10 of the last 14 points in the game. The Badgers also had three of their four aces in the second set, from Gulce Guctekin, Julia Orzol and MJ Hammill, with each ace coming at a crucial time. Sarah Franklin came up clutch with five kills of Wisconsin’s total 12 kills in the set.
Heading into the third set — the match tied 1-1 — both teams hoped to gain the advantage with a second set win. There were an impressive 10 ties and seven lead changes throughout the game, until it reached 12-12. The Badgers went up 18-14 and then 23-16, as they were able to hold on to win the third set 25-19.
Wisconsin tallied eight kills and two aces in their final 13 points to take the win. The 25th point came from Devyn Robinson, with the kill assisted by Izzy Ashburn. Wisconsin also managed to increase their hitting percent to .237 in the set while holding Purdue to .133.
The Badgers led 2-1 as they started the fourth set on the West Lafayette court. This set was a nailbiter with nine lead changes and 15 ties, most of which came in the final points of the match. The teams’ first tie was at 3-3 and went back and forth until a tie at 10-10. Then, the Boilermakers gained a three point lead, 15-12, but were unable to hold on to their lead as Wisconsin tallied five points in a row, giving them the lead.
The lead did not last long, as Purdue’s Hannah Clayton put down a kill to bring the game to 19 all, followed by four more ties – and then Purdue was up 25-24. With Purdue at set point, Devyn Robinson managed her fourth kill of the set to knot the game at 25. The Badgers had two service errors in these final set points but totaled three kills and a service ace. The service ace by Julia Orzol gave Wisconsin their final point and the set win 30-28.
In the fourth set, Wisconsin had 21 kills while holding Purdue to a .089 hitting percentage as they totaled nine kills with five errors.
The Badgers improved to 4-3 against ranked teams this season, as Purdue is the highest-ranked team they have defeated this year. Sophomore Julia Orzol tied her career-high 19 kills, while also adding 10 digs. MJ Hammill led the team with three aces, followed by Gulce Guctekin who had two. Freshman Guctekin put up a match-high 22 digs which gave her multiple 20-plus dig matches of the season.
“They had everything going their way, and nothing going ours. Everything was one-sided in that first set and I thought we did a great job battling,” head coach Kelly Shefield said following the game. “Defensively, I think we were really gritty, we had quite a few blocks and dug like crazy, and I am proud of a lot of them."
While their defense kept them in the match, UW’s offense is what ultimately gave them the win. For the first time this season, Wisconsin had four players record 10 or more kills in a match – Julia Orzol (19), Sarah Franklin (15), Anna Smrek (10) and Devyn Robinson (10).
The Badgers improved to 11-3 overall, seventh in the nation, and 5-1 in the Big Ten with a four-game win streak. In their conference, Purdue, Wisconsin and Ohio State are all tied for second — just behind Nebraska who is undefeated at 6-0 in the league.
Wisconsin travels to Iowa City to take on Iowa at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 14. Iowa is 1-5 in the Big Ten and tied in last with three other teams.
After Wisconsin faces Iowa, they will end their away-game series and travel back to the UW Field House to battle Michigan on Sunday, Oct. 16.