Ohio State Buckeyes Coming off of a loss to Indiana on Nov. 5, their third in four games, Ohio State’s chances of making a third-consecutive Sweet 16 appeared slim.
If there is one lesson to be learned from the first two rounds of the 2016 NCAA tournament, it is that Wisconsin’s defense succumbs to no one. One night after holding its first round opponent Howard to an abysmal .050 hitting percentage in a winning effort Thursday at home, Wisconsin’s defense continued to dominate, as the No. 3-seeded Badgers (17-3 Big Ten, 28-4 overall) dismantled the Washington State Cougars (12-9 Pac-12, 22-13 overall) in a 25-18, 25-18, 25-17 sweep at the Field House Friday night. Wisconsin stymied Washington State from top to bottom, shutting the Cougars down at every turn.
The Badgers were all business Thursday night, as they treated their fans to a dominating performance in the first round of the NCAA Tourney.
The Badgers (17-3 Big Ten, 25-4 overall) are headed to their fourth straight NCAA Tournament as the No. 3 seed, the highest seeding in program history, behind the coaching of Kelly Sheffield and the leadership of senior Lauren Carlini. The two came to Madison at the same time back in 2013 and led the team to a national championship appearance, and they hope to one-up that accomplishment with a national title in their final year together.
As the 2016 regular season winds down and the NCAA Tournament looms near, the Wisconsin Badgers are playing about as well as they could have hoped. After earning a pair of resounding wins at home this past weekend, Wisconsin (16-2 Big Ten, 24-3 overall) heads into its regular season finale on a tear.
The No. 3 Wisconsin Badgers (14-2 Big Ten, 22-3 overall) have another grueling weekend ahead of them as they will take on No. 18 Michigan (10-6, 21-7) and No. 13 Michigan State (12-4, 23-5) at the UW Field House. If Wisconsin is to extend its win streak over the weekend, the defense will need to be on the top of its game.
With a tough five-set victory over Purdue that extended the UW volleyball team’s win streak to five straight matches, No. 3 Wisconsin (12-2 Big Ten, 20-3 overall) appears to be hitting its stride just as the end of the regular season approaches. This weekend, the Badgers will hit the road and venture across the border to take on Illinois (7-7, 14-11) Friday night and then head to Evanston to face Northwestern (1-13, 8-18) Saturday night. Just over three weeks ago, Illinois was ranked inside the top 25 and sported a 7-2 conference record.
When Amber MacDonald made her Wisconsin debut in the fall of 2015, it not only signified the start of her college volleyball career, but also put an end to the whirlwind journey which came before it. Born and raised in Alpharetta, Ga., the Badgers’ defensive specialist/libero first expressed interest in UW during her sophomore year of high school, when she took a trip to watch the Badgers in the 2013 Final Four in Seattle.
After gaining a commanding two set lead, No. 3 Wisconsin (12-2 Big Ten, 20-3 overall) was driven to the brink of defeat Saturday night, needing late-match heroics in a decisive fifth set to put away the Purdue Boilermakers (5-9, 15-10) by a score of 25-22, 26-24, 22-25, 16-25, 15-10.
The Wisconsin Badgers (11-2 Big Ten, 19-3 overall) came away from Columbus, Ohio, with another win over a ranked opponent, No. 22 Ohio State (5-8, 15-10), despite being without star freshman Molly Haggerty, who was out with a leg injury. Wisconsin got behind early in the first set, losing 12-8, but went on a late five-point run to earn a 19-16 lead.
Coming off back-to-back wins at the field house this past weekend, No. 3 Wisconsin (10-2 Big Ten, 18-3 overall) will put its current three-match win streak on the line against a pair of Big Ten rivals this week. The Badgers will begin play on the road as they travel to Columbus for a Wednesday night matchup with No. 22 Ohio State (5-7, 15-9). Then, after a quick turnaround, the team will return home to host Purdue (4-8, 14-9) this Saturday. After effectively containing star blocker Haleigh Washington in the victory over Penn State, Wisconsin will be charged with a very similar task in defending Taylor Sandbothe of Ohio State.
After a statement win against Penn State Friday night, No. 4 Wisconsin (10-2 Big Ten, 18-3 overall) picked up another win Sunday afternoon, defeating Big Ten cellar-dwellar Rutgers (0-12 Big Ten, 4-11) in straight sets by a score of 25-14, 25-18, 25-23 at the UW Field House. Beyond the favorable outcome on the scoreboard, this contest turned out to be a landmark occasion for a couple of Badgers, namely senior middle Haleigh Nelson and senior setter Lauren Carlini.
The No. 4 Wisconsin Badgers (8-2 Big Ten, 16-3 overall) return home for another tough weekend of Big Ten play featuring yet another powerhouse, taking on No. 10 Penn State (9-1, 17-4) and Rutgers (0-10, 4-19). The first match of the weekend will be against the Nittany Lions on Friday, the Badgers fifth top 10 matchup of the season.
The Wisconsin Badgers (8-2 Big Ten, 16-3 overall) continued to struggle against the top competition in the country this weekend, falling to No. 1 Nebraska (8-1, 17-1) in straight sets.
The No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers (6-1 Big Ten, 14-2 overall) faltered at home in front of a sold out crowd against No. 3 Minnesota (6-1, 14-2) for their first Big Ten loss of the season. The Badgers took an early lead in the first set 6-4 after trading points with Minnesota to start the game, but the lead was short-lived as the Gophers went on a five-point run to take a 9-6 lead.
The No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers (6-0 Big Ten, 14-1 overall) have a tough slate of games ahead of them this week, taking on No. 3 Minnesota (5-1, 13-2) on Wednesday and No. 18 Michigan (4-2, 15-3) in Ann Arbor, Mich. on Saturday, Oct. 15.
Wisconsin (5-0 Big Ten, 13-1 overall) dominated from the get-go against Rutgers (0-5, 4-14) Wednesday evening to remain undefeated in the Big Ten and extend its winning streak to eight games. The Badgers started the match on fire, jumping out to a 17-5 lead in the first set, and senior Lauren Carlini scored eight straight points to lead the team to a 25-6 set win.
The Wisconsin Badgers volleyball team continued its steady rise through the ranks of the nation’s elite this week, moving up one spot in the latest version of the AVCA coaches poll released Monday.
The Badgers (4-0 Big Ten, 12-1 overall) remained undefeated in the Big Ten after an exciting weekend that included a nail-biting win over No. 14 Purdue (11-4, 1-3) and a dominating victory against Indiana (12-5, 1-3). Wisconsin took on the Boilermakers Friday in its seventh ranked matchup of the season.
Opening conference play with a 2-0 record for the first time since 2013, No. 3 Wisconsin (2-0 Big Ten, 10-1 overall) hopes to remain in the upper echelon of a loaded Big Ten hierarchy with road matchups against No. 14 Purdue (1-1, 11-2) and Indiana (1-1, 12-3) this weekend. In a year in which expectations for the volleyball team already appeared extraordinarily great, Wisconsin has gone on to set a seemingly impossible high standard for itself to start 2016.