No. 4 Badgers halt Hoosiers in 3-0 sweep, extend win streak to 1 - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

No. 4 Badgers halt Hoosiers in 3-0 sweep, extend win streak to 11

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Another fierce defensive performance was the key for the Wisconsin volleyball team as the fourth-ranked Badgers (20-2, 11-1) downed Indiana (14-10, 5-7) in three sets Saturday night at the University Gym in Bloomington, Ind.

The 25-18, 25-15, 25-18 victory marks 25 straight set wins for the Badgers. Wisconsin has also won 11 consecutive matches in the Big Ten Conference, holding on to its spot at the top of the conference with an 11-1 record.

The Badgers outblocked the Hoosiers 12-8 behind senior Dominique Thompson's seven blocks. Junior Taylor Morey led the team with 10 digs in a defensive effort that held Indiana to a .000 (26 kills – 26 errors – 91 attempts) hitting percentage, the lowest of all Wisconsin opponents this season.

Thompson tallied a team-best nine kills, followed by freshman Kelli Bates and senior Ellen Chapman with eight and seven, respectively.

“We didn't play well, we didn't play to the standards we hold for ourselves,” UW head coach Kelly Sheffield said. “We don't really look too much into the scores or the wins and losses, we try to play the game the right way. I thought at times we were getting a little bit angry instead of fixing things.

“I guess the positive is that you play pretty poorly and still come out with a 3-0 win on somebody's else's court.”

Wisconsin struggled to keep their hits in play early on, as three UW attack errors helped push IU to a 5-2 lead early in the first set. Indiana had similar difficulty soon after, as an illegal hit and two out-of-bounds strikes put Wisconsin on a 4-0 run to take the lead 10-9.

The score remained close until back-to-back Badger blocks started a 5-0 run for UW that widened Wisconsin's lead to 21-16. The Hoosiers scored only two more points in the set, as Thompson and Nelson each drove home kills to set the score at 23-18.

Carlini took control from there, as the sophomore followed a service ace with a kill to finish the 25-18 win for Wisconsin.

Wisconsin hit .206 (14-7-34) in the first behind Thompson and sophomore Haleigh Nelson with three kills each. Indiana outblocked UW 4-3, but hit only .029 (9-8-34) in the set.

The teams alternated the first couple points of the second set before the Badgers went on a 4-0 streak on two kills and an ace by Thomas that gave UW a 9-4 lead. The Hoosiers tried to battle back, but Thompson and Carlini put away kills soon after in another 4-0 run that left Wisconsin leading 14-7.

Indiana found a hole in the UW defense with a service ace that narrowed the Badgers' lead to 17-13. Thompson capitalized on the IU service mistake that followed, connecting for two kills that regained a comfortable 20-13 lead for Wisconsin.

The second period ended like the first, as IU scored just two more points before the Badgers rallied four straight points on two kills and two Indiana attack errors to close the set 25-15.

Wisconsin put up two blocks to IU's one in the second set, helping hold the Hoosiers to a .031 (8-7-32) attack percentage. The Badgers upped their hitting percentage to .265 (14-5-34) as Thompson and Bates led the team with four kills each.

A string of errors from the Indiana squad, both from the service line and at the net, was followed by a Badger block to give Wisconsin an early 5-2 lead in the third set. IU retaliated with two consecutive kills and a block that brought the Hoosiers within one.

But Wisconsin brought strong hands to the net, putting up three quick blocks and a kill in a 6-0 run that brought the score to 16-7. The teams ran into difficulty behind the service line soon after, as UW made four service errors while IU made two over the next eight points.

Some back-and-forth ensued, but Indiana made up some ground near the end of the set with three kills and an ace that set the score at 23-16 in favor of UW. The game-winning strike came just three points later as Chapman sent a rocket to the floor to mark the 25-18 Wisconsin win.

The Hoosiers struggled at the net in the final set, hitting a negative .080 (9-11-25) after being outblocked 6-3 by the Badgers. Bates, Thompson and Chapman each tallied two kills as the team hit .200 (8-4-20).

The Badgers have almost a week to prepare for their next match, a Big ten match-up against Michigan next Friday at the Cliff Keen Arena in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The match begins at 6 p.m.

“We've played some good volleyball recently, we've been a team that's been pretty consistent in our effort and how we've played,” Sheffield said. “Maybe it's a little bit unfair that you're getting on them for having a match where everybody was pretty poor but that's what you do as coaches. Tonight wasn't really pretty and we've got to sit on that for a long week, and maybe that's ok so we can get refocused for the Michigan schools.”

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