Badgers get back to winning ways

first_imgJEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoThe No. 25 University of Wisconsin volleyball team was looking to go 1-0 starting the second half of their season. It did just that last night, beating Northwestern in three straight sets.“It gave us a little confidence boost,” junior outside hitter Brittney Dolgner said. “It shows that we can do it. We can play Badger volleyball again, and it’s really nice to prove ourselves like that.”UW was able to break a four-game losing streak — one of the longest of head coach Pete Waite’s tenure at Wisconsin — to improve the team’s record to 15-8 (5-6 Big Ten). The streak started two weeks ago when the Badgers were swept on the road against Purdue and Illinois, and it continued last weekend against No. 1 Penn State and Indiana.“It’s not a lot of fun,” Waite said. “You have to battle. You have to find ways to get people on track, to get the right mentality, just to get the right work ethic out there on a consistent basis, and that is what we have been searching for.“I think tonight was a good start.”Wisconsin was led by Dolgner, who had 11 kills and a .400 hitting percentage. Freshman middle blocker Elle Ohlander also contributed nine kills and a solo block. Overall, the Wisconsin offense hit .274 and had 45 team kills despite going up against the Northwestern junior libero Kate Nobilio, who is second in the Big Ten in digs, averaging 4.83 per set.The Badgers defense was the story of the night, limiting the Wildcat offense to just a .119 hitting percentage while recording six blocks. As a team, Wisconsin also had 39 digs, including 15 by sophomore libero Kim Kuzma.“I think we did a nice job keeping their hitters down a little bit,” Waite said. “[Their] hitting percentage as a team was down, and it wasn’t because of our blocking. That was OK, but our defense was pretty solid, so Nikki [Klingsporn] was able to set some nice balls and keep the hitters in tempo.”Wisconsin started the match off strong, defeating Northwestern 25-20 in the first set. In that set, both Ohlander and Dolgner had five kills each and the defense was able to limit the Wildcats to just a .162 hitting percentage.In the next two sets, the Badgers won 25-19 and 25-21, respectively. In the second set, the defense came out strong, limiting the Wildcats to a negative hitting percentage. Wisconsin won the third set despite a late rally by Northwestern.Wednesday’s victory comes off a short week of practice for the Badgers. After last Sunday’s loss to Indiana in four games, the Badgers only had two days to prepare for Northwestern but were happy to get back on the court.“I think we all have to compete and we all have to get out there and play even though we had a short week of practice,” sophomore setter Nikki Klingsporn said. “We were a lot more fresh since we only had a couple days of practice, but we came out there and brought a lot of heart and passion.”The Badgers will only have a few days to practice again and prepare for their Halloween matchup against Michigan State, which will take place Friday night at the Field House.last_img read more