Wisconsin Advances To Sweet Sixteen With Win Over Washington State

  0 Alex Smothers | December 02nd, 2016 | Big Ten, College - Women's Indoor, News, Pac 12



In what is becoming a routine in Kelly Sheffield’s four years as Wisconsin Head Coach, the Badgers have advanced to the sweet sixteen of the NCAA Tournament after defeating #25 Washington State in straight sets (25-18, 25-18, 25-17). The Badgers will player the winner of Saturdays match between Ohio State and Kansas State. Washington State finishes their season at 22-12.

“I think our team just keeps getting better and better,” Kelly Sheffield told the media after the game. “”I like the confidence that our team went into this match with. I thought we played each point as it was. I don’t think we got ahead of ourselves, I don’t think we got overly frustrated with things.”

Senior setter Lauren Carlini had 33 assists and set at a .418 percentage while as a team the Badgers attack percentage was at .248. Junior outside Lauryn Gillis led the team in kills with 12.

“Every year we want to be having continued success and building on the previous year,” stated Carlini. “Obviously we made it to the national championship our freshman year and that is going to be our goal every year. It doesn’t matter who is on the team, it doesn’t matter how much turnover there is. We want to help make this a program where we are competing for some sort of championship and have that sustained success over long periods of time.”

All the seniors on this Badger team have reached the sweet sixteen every year of their collegiate career.


Courtesy Wisconsin Athletics

MADISON, Wis. — For the fourth consecutive year, the third-ranked Wisconsin volleyball team will advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Championship with a 3-0 win over No. 25 Washington State on Friday at the UW Field House. The Badgers swept the Cougars 25-18, 25-18, 25-17.

“I think our team just keeps getting better and better,” UW head coach Kelly Sheffield said. “I thought that was a really good win against a team with a coaching staff that I’ve got a lot of respect for and the year that they’ve had and the direction that they’re heading. That’s a hard conference to make the move up like they’ve had and they’ve had a lot of great wins and a lot of talented players over there.

“With that firepower that they have and you hold them to hitting zero those last two sets and under .100 for the match, I think you have to feel good about how our defense is playing, how our serving is doing. It’s a really good blocking team and they didn’t really get going with their blocks but on the other hand I think we did a really good job of getting our hands across the net and finishing our blocks. We were excited about the opportunity that we had tonight and we’re certainly very excited about the opportunity to continue playing.”

Washington State (22-12) came into the match ranked third in the nation with an average of 3.30 blocks per set, but the Badgers, now 27-4 overall, out blocked the Cougars 13-6 and out dug them 43-37 for the match.

“Going into this match, we knew that they were the third-best blocking team in the country,” senior Haleigh Nelson said. “That really fired us up as front-row players and that really gave us some motivation. We talked before the match that we wanted to make it a goal of ours to try and beat them in team blocks over the course of the match. I think the pins really stepped up and made some great plays. There were a lot of big stuffs on their part and I think it’s just when you go up against a team that has a strength like that, it kind of gives you a little extra motivation to see if you can outdo them on that front and I think we definitely performed.”

Nelson led all players with seven blocks, while sophomore Tionna Williams and senior Lauren Carlini stuffed five apiece.

Junior Kelli Bates recorded a match-high 10 digs while Carlini saved nine and sophomore Amber MacDonald contributed five digs.

Carlini put up 33 assist while adding three kills.

Wisconsin’s offense averaged a .248 hitting percentage (42 kills – 15 errors – 109 attempts) and recorded three aces to the Cougars’ one. UW held the Cougars to a .067 clip (29-22-104), forcing WSU to hit .000 in both the second and third sets.

Junior Lauryn Gillis led Wisconsin with 12 kills while adding four blocks. Nelson recorded eight kills and a match-high .533 attack percentage (8-0-15). Williams finished off seven kills while redshirt senior Romana Kriskova and freshman Molly Haggerty each contributed six kills.

Wisconsin started the match with an 11-7 advantage in the first set, forcing the Cougars to take a timeout after a kill from Kriskova. The Badgers went on an 8-3 run, widening their lead to 19-10, then traded points with the Cougars until match point, 24-15. Washington State held off three UW match points with three consecutive kills, but Williams slammed a kill down the line to finish the set, 25-18.

The Cougars kept in hot pursuit of Wisconsin to begin set two, trailing 8-7. The Badgers pulled away on a 6-1 run before forcing a WSU timeout. The two teams split the next 10 points with Wisconsin up 19-13 before the Cougars took their second timeout. Washington State rallied late with another point-for-point battle, but UW held on to its lead for another 25-18 victory and the 2-0 set lead.

Washington State’s offense struggled in the final set after taking an early 3-2 lead on a kill from Casey Schoenlein. The Cougars would not terminate another kill until Kyra Holt cut the Wisconsin lead to 15-7, as their only points came off UW errors. WSU outscored the Badgers 5-3, closing in on the 18-12 Wisconsin lead, but kills from Carlini and Williams and a Haggerty ace kept the nine-point gap, 21-12. Despite being outscored 5-4 over the final points, the Badgers held strong for a 25-17 victory to advance to the Sweet 16.

“I’d say it’s great to go to the Sweet 16 and it’s always such an awesome feeling to advance in the tournament,” Nelson said. “There’s nothing like it all year long, but our end goal is to have the confetti fall Dec. 17. While it feels great to move on, we have a lot more things in front of us and another team coming up next week. It feels good now but it’s time to get back down to it and get to work.”

“First of all Wisconsin is extremely good,” WSU head coach Jen Greeny said. “I’m proud of this team for how far we’ve come into the second round, but Wisconsin is a fabulous team. We definitely couldn’t get our offense going tonight against Wisconsin’s great defense. Excited for Wisconsin to go on and I’m very proud of our team and what we’ve accomplished this year.”

“I think Wisconsin is a fabulous team. I’ll just say right now that they are going to win it all.”

The Badgers return to the UW Field House to host an NCAA Regional on Friday-Saturday, Dec. 9-10. Wisconsin will face the winner of the Ohio State and Kansas State match on Friday, with match times being announced on Sunday. The teams for the other regional semifinal will be decided on Saturday night, following NCAA second-round play.


Courtesy Washington State Athletic Communications

MADISON, Wis. — The No. 25 Washington State University volleyball team (22-12) fell in three sets to No. 3 Wisconsin (27-4) Friday night in the NCAA Second Round at the Wisconsin Field House in Madison. The Badgers won with set scores of 25-18, 25-18, and 25-17.

WSU ended the year with 22 wins, the most wins in 14 seasons and tied for fifth-best all-time in WSU history with the 1988 team. This was the 11th NCAA Championship tournament appearance for the Cougars and WSU Head Coach Jen Greeny has been involved in seven of those appearances: three as a player, three as an assistant coach and in 2016 as a head coach.

Friday night, before 5,898 fans, Kyra Holt led the Cougars with 12 kills and had six digs. Taylor Mims added five kills and one block. Claire Martin and Hailey Bethune each had three blocks. Alexis Dirige and Tani Stephens had nine digs each. Haley MacDonald and Nicole Rigoni combined for 25 assists. Dirige had the lone Cougar ace of the match.

Wisconsin was led by Lauryn Gillis’ 12 kills and four blocks, and Kelli Bates’ 10 digs. Haleigh Nelson led the match with seven blocks while Lauren Carlini had five blocks and 33 assists.

The Badgers hit .248 for the match and held WSU to a .067 hitting percentage. Wisconsin out-hit WSU 42 to 29 in kills, and out-dug the Cougs 43 to 37. The most stinging statistic was the Cougars’ six team blocks to the Badgers’ 13 blocks on the night.

“Wisconsin is a good team but we just kind of fell off on the blocking part and we just needed to be more disciplined,” Holt said after the match.

“First of all Wisconsin is extremely good,” WSU Head Coach Greeny said. “I’m proud of this (WSU) team for how far we’ve come into the second round, but Wisconsin is a fabulous team. We definitely couldn’t get our offense going tonight against Wisconsin’s great defense. I’m excited for Wisconsin to go on and I’m very proud of our team and what we’ve accomplished this year.”

When asked if it was surprising to get out blocked, Greeny said, “Yeah, a little bit. I think they’re such a good offensive team and Carlini does a fantastic job of distributing the ball. We had a couple of times that we were maybe in the right place, just we weren’t pressed over and things like that. But I thought they did a really fantastic job of blocking, better than anything we’ve seen on film or anything like that. That could’ve been a credit to their serving as it was pretty tough so we got pretty predictable and that always helps your blocking game.”

On if Wisconsin reminds her of a team in the Pac-12, Greeny said, “No one really in particular, but a little Stanford, a little Washington, a little UCLA all mixed in there. I think Wisconsin is a fabulous team. I’ll just say right now that they are going to win it all. I can’t bet because I’m in the NCAA, so I won’t bet, but they could definitely do it. And we’ll be routing for them. Tell (Wisconsin head coach) Kelly (Sheffield), he’ll owe me.”

Senior tri-captain Tani Stephens on paving the way for future WSU NCAA appearances said, “I definitely think so. None of us on this team have ever been to the NCAA tournament before and now we have a group of 11 girls who have all seen it now. I think that’s definitely going to help them going into the spring as well as next season and just having seen that before is always helpful.”


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