Stanford 3, Wisconsin 0 Â Dec.
Stanford 3, Wisconsin 0ÂDec. 11, 2004
Â GREEN BAY, Wis. - The University of Wisconsin volleyball team ended its season with a 30-18, 31-29, 30-26 loss to sixth-ranked Stanford in the NCAA Regional final. The Badgers finish their season at 22-10 while the Cardinal advance to the NCAA final four with a 28-6 record. "It was a tough match for us today coming off a very emotional a match last night," Wisconsin head coach Pete Waite said. "The team did everything we told them. In the first game we were a little flat, but then we started waking up a bit and the second game was close. I was really proud of the way they battled considering what they went through last night." After an up-and-down regular season, Wisconsin came on strong at the end of the year and advanced to the Elite Eight level of the NCAA tournament for only the fourth time in program history. "It's been a fantastic season," Waite said. "To look at the number of new people in the lineup this year on the team, and how young they were, we've come a long way." Wisconsin could not stop Stanford's offensive power as the Cardinal pounded down 62 kills compared to only 49 for the Badgers. Stanford was led by player of the year candidate Ogonna Nnamani, who had a match-high 27 kills. As a team Stanford recorded .362 hitting percentage compared to .180 for Wisconsin. The Badgers were led by juniors Aubrey Meierotto and Sheila Shaw, who both put down 13 kills. The Cardinal also swarmed in the backcourt with four players posting double-digit digs. Stanford totaled 59 digs while Wisconsin had 48 saves. Wisconsin's freshman libero, Jocelyn Wack, who was named to the regional all-tournament team along with senior Jill Odenthal, led all players with 16 digs. After not recording a block in the first game, the Badgers came back to total nine stuffs in the match, led by Shaw's six. The Cardinal had 13 team blocks. Wisconsin had an outstanding showing at the service line, recording three aces, all from Meierotto, and only two errors. The Cardinal had only one ace and three errors. The Badgers fell behind early in game one and never recovered. Nnamani led the Cardinal with four early kills to put her squad up 9-4. Wisconsin cut the lead to one (9-8) off two service aces from Meierotto, but Stanford took advantage of Wisconsin errors, increasing its lead to double-digits including the 30-18 final. Nnamani finished with 10 of Stanford's 21 kills in the period as it hit .526 compared to Wisconsin's .064 mark. The Cardinal also outblocked the Badgers 4-0 in the frame. "It just seemed like we were a little out of gas," Waite said. "The emotion wasn't there, and they were trying everything they could to get it going." Despite trailing 9-3 early, Wisconsin got back on track in the middle of game two. Behind four team blocks, the Badgers out-scored the Cardinal 8-2 to tie the game at 11. The game was close through a 16-16 tie before Stanford used its block to take a three-point lead (19-16). Shaw put down four kills and Meierotto added two kills to again pull the Badgers even at 24. The score was knotted again at 26 and at 28 before the Badgers served for game point at 29-28 following a block from Odenthal and Shaw. Two Stanford kills combined with a UW hitting error gave the Cardinal a 2-0 lead in the match. Shaw and Meierotto both had six kills in the period as the Badgers improved to a .192 hitting percentage. "I'm glad in the second game they did wake up," Waite said. "I think if we would've gotten that game then the match might have been much different." Game three was an even tighter battle than game two with nine ties. With the score knotted at 25, the Cardinal took advantage of three UW errors to go up 29-25 on two Stanford blocks and a Wisconsin back-row attack. A Shaw kill held off the first Cardinal match point, but a kill from Kristin Richards gave Stanford the win. "This NCAA Tournament provided great experience for (our team)," Waite said. "Now they know what it feels like. Now they know how to handle themselves a little bit better. "We're thrilled with what we did this year and we're looking forward to the future."