Tuesday, July 23, 2024

No. 2 Wisconsin volleyball strolls past Illinois: Highlights, Report

MADISON, Wis. — The No. 2 Wisconsin volleyball team set a formidable school record with 17.0 team blocks in a three-set match, overpowering Illinois with a 25-13, 25-13, 25-12 sweep on Saturday night at the UW Field House.

The Badgers’ defensive dominance was on full display, stifling the Fighting Illini to a .000 hitting percentage, a season-low for any Wisconsin opponent.

Saturday night’s win saw Wisconsin improving to 22-1 on the season overall and 13-1 in Big Ten conference play. The defeat saw Illinois falling to 13-11 overall and 8-6 in conference.

Devyn Robinson finished with 13 kills for Wisconsin, with Sarah Franklin, Anna Smrek, Carter Booth each finishing with seven.

Izzy Ashburn had 19 assists along with nine digs, Julia Orzol added eight digs and MJ Hammill contributed 10 assists for the Badgers, who have won four straight wins losing on Oct. 21 to then-No. 2 Nebraska, which remains undefeated on the season and is now ranked No. 1 in the country.

Raina Terry led Illinois with nine kills, seven digs and two service aces, while Jessica Nunge finished with seven kills. Brooke Mosher added 19 assists with eight digs in the defeat for the Fighting Illini, who had their six-game winning streak snapped.

Wisconsin Volleyball Dominants From The Start

The match began with a 6-0 run for the Badgers, sparked by a kill from Temi Thomas-Ailara. 

The duo of Carter Booth and Anna Smrek was instrumental in extending the lead, forcing an Illinois timeout with the score at 12-4. 

Despite a brief rally by Illinois, which cut the deficit to 17-11, Wisconsin closed the first set with an 8-2 run for a comfortably start. 

The second set mirrored the first, with Wisconsin’s Ashburn serving nine consecutive times to propel the Badgers to a 25-13 victory. Devyn Robinson was a standout, contributing three kills during the run.

The Badgers continued their dominance into the final set, with Robinson and Sarah Franklin leading the charge with four kills each, culminating in an 8-0 run to complete the sweep.

Wisconsin Volleyball in Big Ten action
Wisconsin Volleyball in Big Ten action

Robinson’s performance was particularly noteworthy as she led with 13 kills, hitting an impressive .684 for the match. 

The Badgers’ offensive efficiency was matched by their defensive execution, with Booth contributing 10 blocks, tying for second all-time in school history.

Wisconsin’s victory was a testament to their depth and versatility, with multiple players stepping up to carry the offensive load. Head Coach Kelly Sheffield emphasized the correlation between their effective serving and blocking, which kept Illinois’ offense predictable and under control.

The win ties Coach Sheffield with Pete Waite as Wisconsin’s all-time winningest coach in Big Ten play.

The No. 2 Wisconsin volleyball team’s next challenge will be on the road against Maryland, followed by a matchup with No. 16 Penn State.

Meanwhile, Illinois will be aiming to shake off the defeat to the Badgers at Iowa on Nov. 10, followed by a trip to No. 1 Nebraska, two nights later.

Gary Smith, Lead Sports Writer
Gary Smith, Lead Sports Writerhttps://www.world-track.org
One of SportingAlert.com main contributors and associated staff member. Focus on presenting the best possible news, views and reviews from college and pro sporting events all across the globe. Smith is a track and field writer, who covers several meeting around the world. He is also a regular contributor for TrackAlerts.com and World-Track.org.
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