The #3 Wisconsin Badgers did easily moved to 2-0 in the Big Ten with a 3-0 (25-9, 25-15, 25-10) victory over the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers. They probably did not need to be firing on all cylinders to get the win in such a mismatched outing. It might not even raise eyebrows for Kelly Sheffield to use the match to give some less-experienced players some valuable court time. With that being the case, it might not be too concerning to see that Danielle Hart, a redshirt freshman, got the start at middle blocker in lieu of Grace Loberg. This match is such a prime opportunity to make such a move. Hart ended up registering 11 kills and 5 blocks (1 solo, 4 block assists) in the sweep.
What might concern Badger fans is that Hart was on the court because Loberg was resting an injured leg. No details have been released about the nature or severity of the injury, other than wiscnews.com, who called it an “ailing leg.” In any occurrence, her absence could be cause for concern as they face #8 Minnesota on Wednesday in a key conference showdown.
Loberg said she will be ready to play on Wednesday, but it remains to be seen of the pain causing her to miss the match will have a lingering effect, or if Sheffield was truly just giving her a rest. Loberg is 2nd on the team with 3.66 points per set. This includes her 3.18 kills per set average.
Madison Duello also contributed 11 kills for Wisconsin on Saturday. This was in addition to 2 service aces and 2 block assists. She and Hart both led the match with 14 points total. Sydney Hilley led the Badgers with 36 assists while setting Wisconsin to an impressive .455 hitting percentage. Molly Hagerty led the team with 10 digs.
Wisconsin improved to 9-1 overall with a 2-0 record in the Big Ten Conference.