Record-breaking night for Badgers volleyball team with sweep of - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Record-breaking night for Badgers volleyball team with sweep of Buckeyes

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COLUMBUS, Ohio. --The second-ranked Wisconsin volleyball team clinched its 17th-straight Big Ten victory to move to 26-2 overall and break the school record of consecutive Big Ten wins. The Badgers, who started their conference winning streak with a sweep against Ohio State, swept the Buckeyes on Friday night with a 25-17, 25-15, 25-22 win. UW improved to 9-0 in road matches and 9-2 against ranked opponents.

After taking the first two sets in commanding fashion, the Badgers needed to rally in the third. UW fell behind 7-2 but behind a kill and service ace from freshman Kelli Bates, the Badgers cut the Buckeyes lead to 14-10 and began the turnaround.

Two OSU errors and a kill by senior Ellen Chapman helped to cut the Badger deficit down to one point, making the score 15-14. Another attack error from Ohio State helped Wisconsin to tie it up at 16-16 before UW stole the lead off a kill from Carlini.

The Buckeyes didn't give up without a fight. Taylor Sandboothe posted two back-to-back kills to give OSU the lead once again (18-17) until another hard hit from Chapman tied it up again.

OSU relinquished their lead for the final time after two attack errors put UW up 22-20. The Buckeyes grabbed two more points off of a service error from Bates and a hit by Erin Sekinger, but it wasn't enough. Wisconsin finished off the set with swings from Thomas, Bates and Chapman.

The Badgers finished the third set hitting .375 with 15 kills. Bates posted a set-high five kills and Chapman added four kills in the third set.

Defensively, we picked it up a notch in the third set,” Wisconsin head coach Kelly Sheffield said. “I thought our ball control was great and I thought we were spectacular from a passing standpoint. I thought our effort was good.

“We missed some defensive assignments, too many frankly. We missed serves at times we shouldn't have been missing serves but I thought our effort to get up in the match was good.”

The Badgers were dominant in the first set despite committing five service errors to begin the match. Carlini found Nelson for the last kill of the set to end it 25-17.

UW cleaned up their play in the second set by starting with a smooth service ace from junior Taylor Morey. Sophomore Lauren Carlini followed Morey's lead by serving up two aces of her own to push the Badgers up 6-1 early in the second set.

The Badgers kept that momentum through the second set with impressive performances from senior Courtney Thomas and Bates who combined for nine of the Badgers' 13 kills in the set.

The Badgers also put up 4.5 blocks in the second set and finished outblocking the Buckeyes 9.5-7.0. OSU became the 13th straight opponent UW has outblocked in a match.

Bates led the Badgers for the second-straight match with an impressive 13 kills. She has now had double-figure kills in 14 matches.

In storybook fashion, senior Ellen Chapman put down the last kill of the night to seal the win and etched her name in the UW record books as fifth all-time with 1,409 kills.

The Badgers are back in action on Wednesday at Rutgers. With a win against the Scarlet Knights, who stand last in the Big Ten standings, the Badgers can clinch the Big Ten title.

“It's important because this is a great conference,” Sheffield said. “There are not a lot of people who can say they have won this. We respect what this league is about and how difficult it is. We can smell it and the players are highly motivated about it.”

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