Wisconsin volleyball extends Big Ten win streak to 12 with win o - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Wisconsin volleyball extends Big Ten win streak to 12 with win over Michigan

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The Wisconsin volleyball team showed persistence in its first five-set triumph of the season as the fourth-ranked Badgers (21-2, 12-1) downed Big Ten Conference opponent Michigan 25-20, 24-26, 25-19, 21-25, 16-14 Friday night at the Cliff Keen Arena.

“[The girls] are not happy with how they came out and played,” Sheffield said. “But they are really excited and happy that they were able to stick together and play tough when the other team had a lot of momentum and confidence, and we were able to win on somebody else's court. They're very happy and excited about that and they should be.”

Wisconsin remains on top of the Big Ten as the victory marks Wisconsin's 12th straight win in conference play and the team's best conference winning streak since 1997. The Badgers also remain undefeated on the road against conference opponents with a 6-0 record.

The Badgers outblocked their ninth straight opponent, putting up 14 total blocks compared to Michigan's five. Senior Courtney Thomas and sophomore Haleigh Nelson led the blocking effort with six stuffs apiece.

Nelson also tallied a team-best 16 kills, matching her career high as the Badgers recorded a .268 (57 kills – 19 errors – 142 attempts) hitting percentage overall. Freshman Kelli Bates added 13 kills, including the match winner, while Dominique Thompson added 10 putaways.

The Wolverines had three players in double figures, including a match-high 21 from Adeja Lambert. Michigan recorded more kills than UW but hit just .223 (72-33-175).

“Michigan played really well, they were a handful tonight,” UW head coach Kelly Sheffield said. “They gave us all we could handle, that's for sure.”

Sophomore Lauren Carlini marked her 12th double-double of the season with 48 assists and a team-best 14 digs. Carlini also added two of the Badgers' five aces. Kt Kvas also scored twice from the service line.

U-M recorded six aces but also had 13 service errors.

Wisconsin broke open the first set on back-to-back kills by Nelson that sent the Badgers on a 6-1 run, giving them a 15-12 UW advantage. Bates and Ellen Chapman each put away a kill while Kvas served an ace in a 3-0 run that extended the Wisconsin lead to 22-16. Michigan managed to tally two more kills before Nelson took the reins with two line-drives that claimed the 25-20 set victory for Wisconsin.

Nelson marked five kills as the Badgers hit .346 (13-4-26) in the first. UW outblocked UM 3-1, helping hold the Wolverines to a .167 (12-7-30) attack percentage.

In the second set, the Badgers led 20-16 before the Wolverines battled back late to tie the set at 23. U-M held off UW's set point with a kill by Lambert that knotted the score at 24-24. Michigan claimed the next two points on kills, resulting in a 26-24 set win that ended Wisconsin's set-winning streak at 26, one short of the school record.

The Badger offense slowed in the second as the team's hitting percentage dropped to .200 (12-5-35) while Michigan upped its percentage to .267 (18-6-45). Both teams recorded two service aces and two blocks.

With the score tied at 15 in the third set, the Badgers went on a 3-0 run that created a lead they would not relinquish. Michigan's serving struggles came into play again near the end of the set, as the Wolverines made two service errors in three points to set up a UW set-point at 24-19. One chance was all Wisconsin needed as a Badger block awarded the 25-19 set win to UW.

A balanced blocking effort propelled the set win for UW as four Badgers each put up two blocks to help outblock UM 5-0 and sink the Wolverines' hitting percentage to .132 (14-9-38). Meanwhile, Wisconsin's attack percentage soared to .476 (11-1-21).

The Wolverines came out on fire at the net in the fourth set, tallying six kills and a block in the first 12 points of the fourth set to take an early 9-3 lead. The Michigan push continued through the heart of the period as three consecutive kills pushed U-M's lead to 17-11. Thompson tried to close the gap, sending home three kills in six points to narrow the U-M lead to 21-18. Nelson fired two rockets to the floor soon after but it wasn't enough as Lambert delivered the final blow with a kill that secured the 25-21 win for Michigan.

Michigan outshone UW at the net in the fourth, hitting .432 (20-4-37) while Wisconsin hit .270 (14-4-37).

The momentum swung Michigan's way at the start of the final set as the Wolverines put away three kills on a 4-0 run to take a 5-2 lead. U-M held the advantage until a kill by Bates was followed with back-to-back Wolverine attack errors to knot the score at nine.

The intense dual raged on as alternating kills and errors brought four more tied scores. With the score balanced at 14-14, U-M sent a shot out-of-bounds to give Wisconsin a chance to win the match. Bates took advantage of the opportunity, sending home the match-winning kill to claim a 16-14 set victory, and extend UW's winning streak to 12 matches.

Both squads had a hard time keeping their attacks in-bounds in the final set, as Wisconsin hit .087 (7-5-23) while Michigan marked a .040 (8-7-25) hitting percentage.

The Badgers have one day of rest before taking the court against Michigan State at the Sunday at the Jenison Field House in East Lansing, Mich. The match begins at noon.

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