The No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers volleyball team continued their electrifying start to the season with a dominant 3-0 sweep over Indiana Sunday afternoon at the Wisconsin Field House.
Wisconsin started their quest for a fifth straight Big Ten title in impressive fashion. Coming off a sweep of Northwestern Friday night, the Badgers did much of the same on Sunday, brushing aside a Hoosiers team that came into the Field House with an 11-3 record.
The Badgers jumped out to a 14-6 lead and, with three kills from Devyn Robinson, boosted their advantage to 17-7. The Badgers reached match point with minimal stress, holding a 24-12 lead. Robinson ended any hope of a Hoosier miracle with a kill to secure the first set.
The second set was much more competitive, with Indiana pushing Wisconsin for the first time all afternoon. This set featured nine ties, forcing the Badgers to work harder this time around. The set was knotted up at 17, and Wisconsin used a 3-0 run to create a little bit of separation and gain a 20-17 lead.
Indiana would pull within one point at 24-23, creating the possibility that the set would have to go beyond 25 points. However, Anna Smrek ended any hope of that with a kill to end the set and hand Wisconsin a comforting 2-0 lead.
After trailing 1-0 at the beginning of the third set, Wisconsin did not trail again. They held steady leads throughout the set and opened up a lead as big as 19-12 because of a service ace from CC Crawford. The Badgers faced little trouble the rest of the way and won the match with a kill from Robinson.
Wisconsin is now 11-0 on the season with two wins coming in Big Ten play. This is their second best start to a season in program history. Though they still have a ways to go, they could still reach the program’s best ever start. That was 16-0 in 2021, the year they won the national title.
Wisconsin had minimal trouble with the Hoosiers Sunday and were powered by Smrek, who continues to impress more and more each game. Smrek led the way with 10 kills, followed by Robinson and Sarah Franklin with nine each.
Coach Kelly Sheffield continues to be content with her team’s performance.
“Indiana does a really good job of their game of aggressive serving and defensively, they're really, really good,” Sheffield said. “They get in long rallies and have a setter that flings it all over the place. A real key is coming out and being able to match that. You have to be able to stay with that and it sounds pretty simple that you ought to be doing that every match, but even more so when you're playing them. I thought we did a really good job with their big servers and passing.”
Wisconsin will now turn their attention to Wednesday, when they will travel to Columbus and take on No. 21 Ohio State at 7 p.m.