The Badgers rolled through Maryland, out hitting the Terps .237 to .077.
Haleigh Nelson led all players with 11 kills and five blocks, hitting for .529 for Wisconsin. Molly Haggerty and M.E. Dodge each recorded nine digs apiece.
Libero Kelsey Wicinski picked up a match-high 17 digs while Ashlyn MacGregor put down six blocks for the Terps. Gia Milana led Maryland with nine kills.
Courtesy of Wisconsin Athletics
MADISON, Wis. – For the first time since 2013, the Wisconsin volleyball team opened the Big Ten Conference season 2-0 after sweeping Maryland on Saturday night in the UW Field House. The third-ranked Badgers downed the Terrapins 25-12, 25-18, 25-21, one of only three teams to go undefeated the opening weekend.
“What we knew about Maryland,” UW head coach Kelly Sheffield explained, “was this was going to be a team that we were going to be under a lot of stress in with our passers, and that proved to be the case. These guys, they serve just so well, they put so much pressure on you with where they are going, the pace they are putting on the ball and they are dropping in some short serves.
“I thought our passers did really good, at times they were bending but they didn’t break. I thought we battled really well back there.”
The Badgers hit .237 percent (39 kills – 16 errors – 97 attempts) while out blocking the Terrapins 9-8 and out digging them 44-37. UW held the Terps to a .077 hitting percentage (30-22-104) through three sets.
Senior Haleigh Nelson led all players in kills (11) and blocks (5) while also hitting a match-high .529 percent (11-2-17). Redshirt senior Romana Kriskova recorded nine kills while freshman Molly Haggerty tallied eight.
Haggerty and fellow freshman M.E. Dodge led the Badgers with nine digs apiece, followed by senior Lauren Carlini with seven. Freshman Sarah Dodd also recorded a career-high four digs.
Wisconsin (10-1, 2-0 Big Ten) needed little time to warm up, running to an 8-1 lead with the help of four consecutive service aces from Carlini, tying her career high.
“I was just trying to move the ball around a little bit and not give people the same looks over and over again and get them in a rhythm,” Carlini explained. “I was just trying to keep them on their toes and keep people moving around and balls were falling. It’s good because it builds momentum for the team and just gets a rhythm going for the match so it’s a good start.”
Maryland (8-6, 0-2) looked to change that momentum after consecutive kills cut the Badgers’ lead to 13-6, but commanding kills from Kriskova, sophomore Tionna Williams and junior Kelli Bates kept Wisconsin in the lead, 16-6. The Terps survived two match points until Nelson put away the first set-winner.
Maryland put up a fight to start the second set, keeping tight the Badgers through 6-6 with a kill from senior middle blocker Ashlyn MacGregor. UW quickly pulled away, however, forcing UMD to use a timeout during a 6-0 Wisconsin run. A Carlini kill at 19-12 forced another Terrapin timeout, after which the teams battled through point-for-point rallies until an attack error gave Wisconsin the 25-18 set win and a 2-0 set lead.
“Things got a little rough in the second and third sets but we really stuck with it in our effort,” Nelson said. “Our focus never fell off, we just made a few errors and just weren’t clean but I think that happens sometimes in matches.
“Like Kelly said, Maryland is a team that fights really hard and they’re a team that will have that happen and then turn up their game and go even harder. Even though those last two set scores were a little bit closer, I’m still proud of how our team played.”
The Badgers held Maryland to a negative .026 hitting percentage (7-8-38) in the second set, despite being out blocked 6-3 in the period.
“We weren’t in system a lot and that had a lot more to do with their ability than something we weren’t doing,” Sheffield said. “I felt we just battled and we stayed with it. When we were in system we were able to do some things, when we were out of system we tried making good swings on the ball and keep defending.”
Maryland took its first and only lead in the third set when a kill by sophomore outside hitter Liz Twilley put the Terps ahead 6-5. The Badgers responded with a 5-0 run, but UMD stayed close behind and re-tied the game at 15 after winning a long rally. Wisconsin held court, outblocking Maryland 5-2 in the final set, and pulled off the sweep with a block from Carlini and Williams to complete the sweep.
The Badgers begin a stint of road games on Friday, traveling to West Lafayette, Indiana, to face No. 14 Purdue, then head to Bloomington to play Indiana on Saturday. First serve against Purdue is set for 7 p.m., while the match at Indiana has a 5 p.m. start.
Courtesy of Maryland Athletics
MADISON, Wis. – The Maryland volleyball team challenged No. 3 Wisconsin in the third set, but ultimately fell to the Badgers in straight sets Saturday evening. Wisconsin won by set scores of 25-12, 25-18, 25-21.
“Credit to Wisconsin, they’re a really good team,” head coach Steve Aird said. “I’m proud of the way this team fought hard in the third set and kept battling. We have a really young squad, and this was a huge learning lesson being thrown into Big Ten play with two of the top-ranked teams in the nation.”
Sophomore libero Kelsey Wicinski led the match with 17 digs and senior middle blocker Ashlyn MacGregor led the match with six blocks. Freshman outside hitter Gia Milana paced the Terps with nine kills.
All-American setter Lauren Carlini served four straight aces to help Wisconsin to a 7-1 lead in set one. MacGregor and Milana posted kills, but the Badgers forced a Maryland timeout at 18-8. Sophomores Angel Gaskin and Liz Twilley tried to kickstart the Terps’ offense late in the set, but Wisconsin closed the set on a 4-1 run to win 25-12.
Maryland posted six blocks in the second set as the Terps challenged the Badgers more, holding the home team to a .086 hitting percentage. Milana posted a pair of kills as the teams tied early on before Wisconsin took a 10-6 lead. Junior middle blocker Hailey Murray combined with Gaskin and setter Whitney Craigo for a pair of blocks as the Terps trailed 17-11. Craigo served an ace after posting a block with MacGregor and Maryland pulled within 22-17 on a Wisconsin error. The Badgers closed the set 25-18 on a Terrapin error to take a 2-0 match lead.
Murray led Maryland with six kill on a .857 clip as the Terps battled with the Badgers. The Terrapins took their first lead of the match at 6-5 on a Twilley kill. Wisconsin went on a 5-0 run to retake the lead, 10-6. Gaskin and MacGregor notched a block to pull within two, 11-9. Kills from Murray and Milana helped the Terps pull closer, tying the set at 15-15. The Badgers began to pull away late, and Maryland called timeout at 22-18. Murray and Milana notched kills, but a 3-0 Badger run ended the set, 25-21.
The Terps travel to Iowa on Wednesday for an 8 p.m. match on BTN Plus.