MINNESOTA PULLS OFF SWEEP OVER WISCONSIN
Minnesota pulled off a huge statement sweep over Wisconsin and the First win over the Badgers since 2018. They pulled off the sweep after storming back from a five-point deficit late in the third set. The win put an end to a six-match losing streak against Wisconsin. Taylor Landfair had a standout night with 17 kills on .394 hitting and McKenna Wucherer followed with nine kills on .333 hitting. The combo of Landfair and Wucherer at the pins is a dangerous duo. Melani Shaffmaster had a masterful night at setter — she posted 39 assists but also SIX kills, including a full out cross-court rip on game-point to seal the sweep.
The Gophers outhit the Badgers .360 to .206 and posted 22 total blocks. Ellie Husemann was a big contributor to the big Minnesota block tonight, with seven to her name.
Sarah Franklin led the Badgers with 14 kills, and Julia Orzol added 11 kills.
The Badgers did NOT want to be swept tonight. They went on a 4-0 run behind THREE service aces from Sarah Franklin to take a 13-11 lead. They rode with the momentum and became the first to 20 on a 3-0 run, up 20-15 with a good five-point cushion. But then came the Gophers. Minnesota fueled a 7-2 run to tie the set up at 22, and all of a sudden a sweep for the Gophers seemed quite possible. Then from there, the set was tied at 24, 25, 26 and 27. The Gophers picked up match point and thought they secured the sweep when Kelly Sheffield challenged the call. The point was given back to Wisconsin, but on the very next play the Gophers sealed the victory without a doubt on a big swing from Shaffmaster.
Minnesota made a huge statement in the Big Ten with this win and responded to the loss against Purdue with an exclamation point. Let's just say Power 10 rankings are not going to be easy after this week in college volleyball.
A 🧹SWEEP🧹 Sunday night! pic.twitter.com/9ziYeDvwgM— Minnesota Volleyball (@GopherVBall) September 26, 2022
Minnesota takes a 2-0 lead on the match
The Gophers are rocking in their home court. Everything is gelling for Minnesota as they take a 2-0 lead on the match with a 25-16 (pretty dominating) win in set two. They hit .400 in the second set compared to Wisconsin's .118 clip. Taylor Landfair and McKenna Wucherer are cruising offensively, with Landfair up to nine kills and Wucherer hitting .417. They are passing well and keeping the offense in system, and it is clearly paying off. Wisconsin now finds themself down 2-0, with a must-win third set coming up.
The Gophers maintained their lead after the 5-0 run. Wucherer and Landfair went back-to-back followed by a Sarah Franklin error to take a 23-16 lead, and then Melani Shaffmaster sent a sneaky one across the net to give the Gophers set point. Another Wisconsin hitting error sealed the deal for set 2.
Minnesota has slight edge in second set
The Gophers are hitting ABOVE .500 to start the second set and the Badgers are hitting north of .300, so we are seeing these two teams side out quicker and clean up their offensive looks. Sarah Franklin has caught up for the Badgers — now up to five kills. The same goes for Taylor Landfair who had a slower start in set 1. The sophomore now has six kills on the match.
The match was point-for-point for a while, before the Gophers went on a 5-0 run to take a 12-7 lead.
Tay will just ｓｎｅａｋ that one right past the block 😎 pic.twitter.com/t1moNlVH3b— Minnesota Volleyball (@GopherVBall) September 26, 2022
Minnesota takes set 1, 25-21
Minnesota took the first set 25-21 after fighting back from a deficit half way through the set. The Badgers outhit the Gophers, but Minnesota kept them off the net with some tough serving. McKenna Wucherer led Minnesota offensively with three kills on .400 hitting, and they were helped out by Wisconsin's five service errors and eight attacking errors.
Minnesota went from being down to tying it up just like that. A 6-1 run put them ahead 17-16, and they kept their foot on the gas pedal with some really tough serving. A kill from the star freshman McKenna Wucherer and two back-to-back Wisconsin attacking errors put the Gophers up 23-20. The Badgers notched a service error and then Minnesota's Rachel Kilkelly posted a service ace to take the set.
Check out the ace to win the set ⬇️
Rachel Clutch-kelly 💪 pic.twitter.com/h10wEWNIv5— Minnesota Volleyball (@GopherVBall) September 26, 2022
Wisconsin leads mid-way through first set
The Gophers started out the match hot with a 4-1 lead before Wisconsin responded with a 3-0 run to tie it up at four-all. From there it was point-for-point for a while before the Badgers started pulling away a little. They were the first to 15, up 15-11. Julia Orzol is having a strong start to the match with a team-leading four kills on .429 hitting, and Danielle Hart has posted three kills on just three swings.
Taylor Landfair is struggling a bit early with just one kill on five swings. Both teams have been a big force at the net, with four total blocks apiece.
Minnesota vs. Wisconsin, previewed
We have another huge Big Ten battle between Wisconsin and Minnesota this week. This one should be REALLY good. The Badgers are coming off of a disappointing loss to Florida, last week. Not only because it was a five-set loss, but because it was in front of an NCAA regular-season record crowd of 16,833 mostly Badger fans at the Kohl Center. The Gators took the first two sets pretty easily, and the Badgers looked totally lost as a team. Danielle Hart was pretty consistent for them, though, leading with 10 kills and eight blocks. Anna Smrek came off the bench and was a huge spark both offensively and defensively, too, but overall the offense struggled. They turned it around a bit and tried to pull off the reverse sweep, but fell short in the fifth. I am looking forward to seeing how they respond in this matchup against another really good team. Earlier this week they pulled off a a big sweep over Northwestern, a promising sign heading into this matchup.
Minnesota also played Florida, and beat them in four sets. But, the Gophers just suffered a loss to Pepperdine in Week 4. Mckenna Wucherer did make her collegiate debut in the match, though, and posted 13 kills. She was a very highly regarded as a recruit coming in, and now that she is back, she should provide a nice boost to Minnesota's offense. Earlier this week, though, Minnesota suffered another L. This time a straight sweep at the hands of Purdue to open Big Ten play. They likely will be looking for vengeance against the Badgers, since they were just barely hanging on to a spot in the top 10 this week BEFORE the loss to Purdue.
Get ready for a good one, tonight!
How to watch Wisconsin vs. Minnesota
Who: No. 6 Wisconsin vs. No. 8 Minnesota
When: 8 p.m. ET
Where: Minneapolis, MN
How to watch: Big Ten Network
Latest Power 10 rankings
Wisconsin and Minnesota remained in our latest Power 10 rankings. These were before this week's matchups — Wisconsin swept Northwestern and Minnesota was swept by Purdue earlier this weekend.
AVCA Rankings — Where Wisconsin and Minnesota stand