- Wisconsin defeats Texas 3-2 (21-25, 24-26, 25-23, 25-21, 20-18)
- Wisconsin improves to 7-1
- Texas drops to 8-2
There was just no quit in the #6 Wisconsin Badgers Sunday.
Playing on the road against the #2-ranked team in the NCAA, the Badgers went down two sets after a heartbreaking 24-26 loss in the second set, but stormed back to win three straight sets and complete the upset.
Host Texas took the first set 25-21, ending things on a kill from senior Paulina Prieto-Cerame, then eked out that second set on back-to-back kills from the senior, who looked like a Badger-killer in the early goings.
With all the momentum in the world, Texas appeared ready to steamroll its way to a 9th win on the season with a 9-5 lead early in the third. But Wisconsin fought back hard, coming back from 22-23 late to rattle off three straight points, two of them from Keili Bates.
Bates also ended the fourth set after an 8-5 closing run from the Badgers, and suddenly things were all knotted up 2-2.
The thrilling 5th went back and forth. Playing only to 15 in the final set (with either team required to win the set by at least 2), Texas threatened first, going up 15-14 on a Prieto-Cerame kill. Then Wisconsin rattled off two points and put Texas on the defensive 16-15, but the Longhorns managed to pull back into a tie.
Finally, all the way at 18-18, Wisconsin got a break on a Texas attack error, then won an exciting final point on a combination block from Tionna Williams and Lauren Carlini.
In all, Wisconsin’s Bates racked up 15 kills and 15 digs, while freshman Molly Haggerty had 20 kills and 14 digs. Haleigh Nelson reached a career milestone of 500 blocks over her four years, and Carlini notched 54 assists.
Texas’s Micaya White crushed a game-high 23 kills and also had 11 digs.
AUSTIN, Texas – No. 2 Texas Volleyball fell in a thrilling five-set match against No. 6 Wisconsin, 3-2 (25-21, 26-24, 23-25, 21-25, 18-20), on Sunday afternoon inside Gregory Gymnasium. With the loss, the Longhorns move to 8-2 on the season.
Three Longhorns registered double-digit kills. Freshman Micaya White posted a career-high 23 kills, hitting a team-high .302 percent for the match, along with three solo blocks and a block assist. Junior Ebony Nwanebu and Senior Paulina Prieto-Cerame posted 17 and 16 kills, respectively.
Senior Chloe Collins notched her third double-double of the season with 55 assists, her highest of the year, and 11 digs.
Junior Cat McCoy registered a team-high 19 digs while sophomore Morgan Johnson and White led with five total blocks apiece.
Wisconsin led early in the first until a kill from Collins tied things at three. Neither team would lead by more than two points until the Horns went on a 6-2 run to take a 18-14 lead and force a Badger timeout. Texas would extend its advantage to as many as five, but Wisconsin would take the next three points to make 20-18 Longhorns. The Horns never let the Badgers closer than that, and three kills from White and a closer from Prieto-Cerame handed Texas set one, 25-21.
In set two, the Longhorns got off to a strong 8-3 start and maintained at least a two-point margin until the Badgers went on a quick 4-1 run to make it 14-13 Texas. Consecutive Prieto-Cerame kills and a double block from Collins and freshman Orje Agbaje got things back in control for the Longhorns, 18-14, but back-to-back Wisconsin kills sent Texas into a timeout holding an 18-16 advantage. The Badgers fought their way back, tying things at 24, but Prieto-Cerame notched two closing kills to give Texas the 26-24 win in the second set.
The third set started out identical to the first, with things squared at three, before the Horns went on a 6-2 run to take the 9-5 advantage. Wisconsin slowly chipped away at the Texas lead, and a Badger ace tied things once more at 14. From there, it was a two-point set until Wisconsin went on a 7-2 rally to take the third set, 25-23.
After a tie at eight in the fourth set, Wisconsin went on an 8-2 rally to take the 14-10 lead. The Horns continued to chip into the Badger margin, and a block assist and kill from Johnson lessened the deficit to 17-16 Wisconsin. After the Badgers nabbed the next six points, Texas answered with a 4-0 spurt of their own, but it wasn’t enough as Wisconsin closed the fourth set, 25-21.
The Horns found their strength behind White in the final set, who gave the Longhorns their first four points of the set to lead 4-3. After things were squared at six, Texas went on a 3-0 run to take the 9-6 advantage. The Badgers continued to battle back, responding well off three-straight match points to tie things at 14. The teams continued to trade points, heading deep into extra points, but in the end Wisconsin was able to hold off the Horns and take the match, 20-18.
The Badgers were led by junior Kelli Bates with 15 kills and senior Lauren Carlini with 54 assists.
Up next, the Longhorns will open Big 12 Conference play in Morgantown, W.V. as they take on the Mountaineers of West Virginia on Tuesday, Sept. 20. The match is set for 6 p.m. ET.
Texas Head Coach Jerritt Elliott
On what happened in the fifth set: We’ll, we didn’t execute–14-11 is all we can ask for. We made some big errors. We had some opportunities with transition swings and we kind of just put our heads down and took poor swing after poor swing.
On whether he anticipated Wisconsin being this tough of a match: Yes. They’re the number six team in the country and there’s a reason for it and that’s why we scheduled it, to learn about ourselves a little bit and get ourselves in position to get ready for conference. We knew they would be tough.
On what the team needs to work on: Just consistency. We had spurts where we were really good. We got a little erratic and our touches got bad and took some poor quality swings. We just have to be consistent for longer periods of time.
Senior Setter Chloe Collins
On having five opportunities to close the fifth set and still losing: I think it was just a matter of executing at that point. We had a lot of opportunities to end the game there and we just couldn’t get the job done at the end.
On where the team stands after a second loss to a top ten team: I think we still stand in a really good point. It’s still early in the season for us and we’re still growing as a team and we can learn from this experience. A loss has always been good for us and we’re just going to get back in the gym and work on it.
On what happened after a sweep of Wisconsin looked eminent after two sets: Wisconsin definitely stepped up their game. They did a really great job. I think there were just some moments during the third set that we just didn’t execute when we needed to. We didn’t take care of the little things when we needed to and it all started to add up at the end.
Freshman Outside Hitter Micaya White
On what experiencing a fifth-set game for the first time was like: It was exciting. I didn’t feel that it was any different than if we’d played three or four, but I just tried to use the crowd to my advantage and use their energy.
On what contributed to the high number of blocks the Texas team had: Just memorizing the scouting report and their tendencies was really good on picking good blocking spots.
No Wisconsin release available as of publication