Volleyball to take on Michigan in rematch at UW Field House

first_imgThe Wisconsin volleyball team is on the verge of history.The No. 4 Badgers (22-2, 13-1 Big Ten) have won 13 consecutive matches, three shy of the record-setting 16 straight winning matches the 1997 Badgers accomplished. In addition to their 13-match win streak, the Badgers have maintained their No. 4-ranking in the AVCA poll for the last three weeks.Wisconsin continued its streak this past weekend with two victories against Michigan, who took them five sets, and Michigan State, who the Badgers disposed of in straight sets.Friday’s match against Michigan (11-13, 6-8 Big Ten) marked the first time the Badgers had played all five sets in a match since Sept. 19, whey they fell to then No. 5 Washington, 3-2. UW head coach Kelly Sheffield thought the tough match against the Wolverines was important for his team as they had been sweeping through their opponents of late.“It was important for us to be tested like that,” Sheffield said. “We didn’t play particularly well, but we survived. And to win at the highest level, you’re going to have nights where things just aren’t going your way, and are you able to battle and stay together and fight and all those things, and I thought we did a really good job with that.”When the Badgers dropped the second set to Michigan Friday, it was the first set the team had lost dating back to Oct. 4 in a string of 26 straight sets. The mark is one shy of the school record of consecutive conference sets won which was set back in 2001.Junior libero Taylor Morey said the team’s mentality isn’t affected by dropping a set here or there.“At the end of the day we just focus on the next point, winning the next ball and executing our game plan,” Morey said. “It’s not necessarily losing sets that gets into our head because ultimately we’re gonna battle and that’s our mentality.“Right now we have to focus on one match at a time.”The Wolverines come to town for a rematch against the Badgers Wednesday night, led by sophomore middle blocker Abby Cole. Cole amassed 20 kills in Friday’s matchup against Wisconsin. On the season, Cole averages 3.64 kills per set and hits at a .384 clip.“We really had a tough time slowing her down. We didn’t slow her down at all,” Sheffield said. “When she didn’t kill, it was almost always because of her own error rather than anything we did.”In that matchup, Wisconsin out-blocked Michigan 14-5. The Badgers’ frontline will have to keep up their blocks to deter the Wolverine attack Wednesday. Senior Dominique Thompson will be responsible for shutting down the 6-foot-5 Cole, while Thompson stands at only 5-foot-11.“We get a scouting report, and we try to follow it and execute it,” Thompson said of stopping Cole. “We train blocking all the time, and we want to do better this next matchup.”Thompson also echoed Morey’s sentiments on focusing on the task at hand despite the impressive winning streak.“We just have a big goal of winning a championship,” Thompson said. “It’s amazing, it’s a great feeling to be able to do what we’re doing, but we’re really just thinking about the final goal and thinking about it one game at a time.”The Badgers and their 13-1 Big Ten record currently sit in first place in the Big Ten standings, one game ahead of Penn State, who are 12-2 in Big Ten play.Wisconsin has already surpassed last season’s conference win total, while they are one win shy of matching the previous season’s regular season win total when they finished 23-9.The Badgers take on Michigan Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. at the UW Field House. The match will be televised live on the Big Ten Network.last_img

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