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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, February 24, 2024

Wisconsin claims top spot in the Big Ten with two conference victories

This weekend Wisconsin took on Rutgers at Jersey Mike’s Arena and then traveled to University Park to challenge No. 14 Penn State. The Badgers came away with two wins, 3-0 and 3-2. Rutgers went down easily in three sets, but Penn State proved to be a ch

Wisconsin had beat Rutgers in three sets (25-13, 25-12, 25-12) just a week prior at the UW Field House. On Friday, Wisconsin (23-3, 17-1 Big Ten) faced Rutgers again (7-21, 1-15 Big Ten) and dominated offensively with almost double the amount of kills. Wisconsin started off with a strong 8-0 lead, which included a service ace from Izzy Ashburn, two kills by Devyn Robinson, one kill by Julia Orzol and four blocks. 

The Badgers recorded 13 kills in the first set while holding the Scarlet Knights to a negative .167 hitting percentage. 

Later in the set, Wisconsin went on a five point run to take the lead 23-9 and a few points later, Robinson had the final kill to take the set. Robinson put away 10 kills, just behind Orzol (13).

The Badgers recorded an impressive 16 kills in the second set and were able to hold the lead throughout the set. The Scarlet Knights were able to keep it close and brought their hitting percentage up to .205 but it was not enough to overcome the third-ranked Wisconsin team. 

Wisconsin managed a match-high .385 hitting percentage with 11 kills and only one error. Their longest streak was eight points and they took the final three points in a row. Rutgers only tallied 10 points in the third set.

The Badgers totaled seven aces, two from Ashburn who also led both teams with 26 helpers. Including 10 digs, Ashburn put up her fourth double-double of the season. 

The following day, Wisconsin headed to University Park to face No. 14 Penn State.

After the Rutgers match, as Wisconsin headed to Pennsylvania, Wisconsin head coach Kelly Sheffield said, "The Penn State team we are about to see tomorrow is a very different team than the one we saw at our place and we are excited for what comes our way."

The Badgers lack of errors helped propel them to their ninth road win. They recorded only two errors in the first set, while Penn State had nine errors.

The first set started off close but Wisconsin went on an early nine point streak to gain a 15-5 lead. Penn State managed to gain back some ground but it was not enough, so the Badgers took the first set 25-19.

Penn State controlled much of the second set and were able to pull out a 25-22 win. They put away 19 kills off 39 attempts. Once again, the Badgers only had two errors but the Nittany Lions still dominated.

Wisconsin led early in the third set, 7-3 and later increased their lead to 17-6 with a five point run. Kills from both Orzol and Robinson and a service ace by Ashburn helped the Badgers to gain an 11 point lead. 

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Penn State managed to get within two points, 20-22, but two final kills from Danielle Hart secured the third set win, 25-23. 

Heading into the fourth set, Wisconsin led 2-1 and the Nittany Lions fought to stay in the match. 

The match went back-and-forth until it was tied at 10 before Penn State began to pull away. The Nittany Lions managed to win four points in a row, with a kill by Kashauna Williams, followed by a service ace from Williams then a kill by Alexa Markley and a Wisconsin attack error.

They held the lead for the remainder of the set, and Williams gave Penn State the third set win with another service ace, 25-18.

In the fifth set, knotted at 2-2, the first team to 15 points wins the match.

Both teams had a similar number of kills and errors, Wisconsin with a .333 hitting percentage and Penn State managing a .294 hitting percentage. 

The Badgers grabbed the first two points of the last set and continued to take an early 5-1 lead. A kill from Robinson improved Wisconsin’s score to 7-3. However, Penn State bounced back with a five point run.

The set was knotted at 8.

Penn State had back-to-back kills to take the lead 10-8, but Wisconsin went on their own five point streak soon after.

The Nittany Lions gave the Badgers a point from a service error, and then Wisconsin followed with four consecutive kills – coming from Hart, Orzol and two from Robinson. With the lead 14-11, the Badgers needed only one more point to win the match.

A final block from Orzol and Hart gave Wisconsin the 15-12 fifth set win, earning the match victory over Penn State.

With this win, Wisconsin extended its win streak to 16 matches, the current longest win streak in the conference, as well as the fourth longest on the UW match win streak record list. 

The Badgers also improved to 9-3 against ranked teams this season, which is the most wins by any team in the nation. UW leads the Big Ten with a 17-1 record, with only two matches to go in the regular season.

The third-ranked Wisconsin Badgers head to Lincoln to face No. 5 Nebraska on Friday, Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. Earlier in the season Wisconsin bested Nebraska at the UW Field House 3-0. 

The following day, Nov. 26, Wisconsin challenges No. 8 Ohio State in Columbus at 6 p.m. for the final regular season match. 

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