No. 4 Wisconsin extends win streak to 10 with 3-0 win over Purdu - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

No. 4 Wisconsin extends win streak to 10 with 3-0 win over Purdue

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Even against tough competition on the road, balanced play at the net has proven successful for the Wisconsin volleyball team as the fourth-ranked Badgers kept their Big Ten Conference winning streak alive with a 3-0 sweep of No. 13 Purdue Wednesday night in West Lafayette, Indiana.

The 28-26, 25-16, 25-19 victory marks the first time Wisconsin (19-2, 10-1 Big Ten) has defeated Purdue (18-5, 8-3) in West Lafayette since 2007. The sweep also extends the Badgers' set win streak to 22, as the team has now claimed its last seven matches by 3-0 scores.

Blocking again was the key for Wisconsin, as the Badgers outblocked Purdue 10.5-1 behind seven blocks by senior Dominique Thompson. Junior Taylor Morey and senior Deme Morales added to the defensive effort with 13 and 11 digs, respectively, helping keep Purdue to a .203 (45 kills – 18 errors – 133 attempts) overall attack percentage.

Three Badgers put up double-figure kills, led by senior Ellen Chapman with 16. Freshman Kelli Bates added 13, while Thompson chipped in 11 to help push Wisconsin's hitting percentage to .379 (50 kills – 6 errors – 116 attempts).

“Our hitters are just getting smarter,” UW head coach Kelly Sheffield said. “They're adding to their game, and they're feeling more confident and comfortable with their game. And Lauren (Carlini) did a really good job running the offense tonight.”

UW's set winning streak was in danger right off the bat as four straight kills by Purdue left the Badgers trailing 15-11 in the opening frame. The relentless Purdue attack continued as another 5-0 rally by just a few points later extended the Boilermakers' lead to 21-14.

But UW refused to give in, as senior Courtney Thomas and Chapman each put down two kills during a 5-0 Badger streak. After alternating the next six points on kills, the Badgers stopped Purdue's set-point opportunity with a big block that resulted in an even score at 24-24.

After Purdue claimed the next point with a kill, each team made a mistake that granted Purdue a second chance to win the set. But Thompson sent a line-drive to the floor, resulting in the ninth tie score of the set at 26-26.

Sophomore Lauren Carlini took control of the set from there, putting away her first kill of the match to give Wisconsin a chance to take the set. One was all it took, as Carlini again found a hole in the defense to award the Badgers a 28-26 set victory.

The second set began like the first one ended, with the teams trading points. With the score tied 7-7 Wisconsin took the next five points on two Purdue attack errors and two Badger blocks.

Purdue tried to bounce back, sending home four kills in the next seven points to narrow the Badgers' lead to 15-13. But Chapman wouldn't allow it, as she marked three kills during the 7-0 Wisconsin streak that ensued, giving the Badgers a comfortable 22-13 advantage.

After the Boilermakers committed their fifth service error of the match, Bates drove home a kill to push Wisconsin to a 24-15 lead. Purdue managed just one more kill before Thompson swung and connected with a set from Carlini to close the set at 25-16.

The third set began much like the first two, as tough hitting performances by both teams kept the score close. The rivals continued to trade off points at the net until they reached their 12th tie score of the period at 18-18. A Purdue attack error on the next point proved to be a launching point for Wisconsin as the Badgers took off on a 5-0 run that included two big stuffs.

Purdue's Annie Drews made a final attempt to keep the Boilermakers in the game with a kill on the next point, but one more swing from Thompson set up match-point for Wisconsin. Purdue made its 18th attack error of the match to hand UW the 25-19 win.

“We're happy with how we played,” Sheffield said. “This was a good performance for us. It was really against a good team. I think sometimes as coaches you sit there and you try to find all these things to get on your team about, but with this match it's hard. It wasn't perfect at all, but it was a darn good match for us.”

Wisconsin hits the road again Saturday as the Badgers take on Indiana at University Gym in Bloomington. The match begins at 6 p.m.


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