Last Updated 11:22 PM, October 27, 2021

No. 3 Wisconsin volleyball sweeps No. 6 Nebraska, hands Huskers first Big Ten loss

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College volleyball rankings: Nebraska jumps to No. 5, Georgia Tech enters latest Power 10
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2:50 am, October 28, 2021

Wisconsin secures sweep over Nebraska with 25-23 set three win

No. 3 Wisconsin had won five straight and has now made six straight against Nebraska. Wisconsin pulled off a sweep over No. 6 Nebraska with a 25-23 win from behind in set three. The win was a dominant outing for the Badgers, a statement win in the Big Ten, and it was all on the road in a very hostile environment at the Devaney Center. The Badgers ended the Huskers' undefeated record in the Big Ten and put themselves in a great position to win the conference this season. 

Both the Badgers and Huskers are now 10-1 in the Big Ten.

Wisconsin outhit the Huskers .229 to .148. Anna Smrek recently transitioned into a right side hitter for the Badgers and had a huge match with a team-leading 12 kills on .647 hitting. We were impressed by how much of an impact Julia Orzol has been making as a freshman, and now we have Smrek as another weapon. Dana Rettke turned it on after a slower start and ended up with 11 kills. Sydney Hilley, though, did a great job of executing their game plan, as she posted 37 assists and 16 digs. 

The Badgers tied it back up after trailing the Huskers with a monster swing from Julia Orzol. Hilley was setting a phenomenal match for the Badgers, per usual, and even notched three kills of her own. She made the biggest of differences for the Badgers. Hilley and Rettke were out on the court firing up their team, keeping them calm and composed, and they sparked a comeback and retook the lead. Rettke gave the Badgers match point off of the slide and the Huskers fought off two set points, but a Nebraska attacking error sealed the deal. 

Despite being swept, the Huskers still looked really, really good. It wasn't that anything other than the fact that the Badgers are and played insanely high-caliber volleyball. Madki Kubik, Lindsay Krause and Lauren Stivrins each posted nine kills apiece on the match. 

2:37 am, October 28, 2021

Nebraska leads 12-8 in set three, looking to avoid the sweep

The Badgers have been looking good and consistent, but the Huskers took its first lead since set one with a 8-7 then 11-7 lead on a 6-0 run. Their offense started clicking on all cylinders, the crowd was brought right back into it and the Badgers called a timeout. Kayla Caffer was a huge part of that run. 

Smrek came out of the timeout and ended the run, but the Huskers are looking much better now in and they are looking to avoid the sweep. For the Badgers, the third set is often their achilles heel. Let's see if it is tonight. 

2:16 am, October 28, 2021

Wisconsin takes 2-0 lead with 25-19 win in set two

Wisconsin took set two 25-19 to take a 2-0 lead on the match. 

The Devaney Center quieted has the Badgers went on a 5-0 run to take a 24-17 lead and set up set point. The Badgers got into a groove and started to cruise at the end of the set. The Huskers called a timeout at the Badgers set point and then came out and posted two consecutive points. But Smrek finished it off for the Badgers and Wisconsin took a 2-0 lead on the match. 

They outhit the Huskers in set two .231 to .064 — the biggest differential in the set. Smrek is now up to nine kills on .667 hitting, Loberg has seven kills, and Dana Rettke is catching up with five kills now on the match. The Huskers are mostly struggling with hitting efficiency right now and fell victim to a huge momentum shift at the end of set two. 

The Badgers are playing in a hostile environment, but right now they are doing a great job at silencing them. 

1:54 am, October 28, 2021

Wisconsin leads 15-11 in set two

We have got quite the tight set here in the Devaney Center. Despite three Nebraska service errors, it has been point for point for the most part in set two. Wisconsin just went on a 3-0 run though to take a 15-11 lead after a long rally resulting in a Husker point was overturned on a challenge that the ball was down earlier in the point. 

Lauren Stivrins and Dana Rettke have been big components this set, and it has been great seeing the All-Americans facing off. The Huskers have come back before though and are still right in this one in set two. 

1:27 am, October 28, 2021

The Badgers battle to take set one, 26-24

The Badgers took set one after a tremendous effort by Nebraska to get back into this set and almost take it for themselves. 

After tying it up, the Huskers amped up their own serving game and took their first lead of the set. The defenses started to come alive, we saw some crazy pancakes and defensive plays with some highlight saves by Lauren Barnes. There was an amazing ally that ended with Wisconsin freshman Anna Smrek hammering one down. The 6'9 freshman is one inch taller than Dana Rettke (crazy), and has been making an impact on the court as of late. 

The Huskers tied it up at 20 again, and the crowd erupted behind them. We were tied up again at 22 before Dana Rettke got her first kill of the set — she clearly wanted the ball and Sydney Hilley gave it to her, but she will need to turn it on moving forward. The Huskers, though, got right back in it, and all of a sudden this thing was tied at 24. The Badgers then got two consecutive points with set point given to them on a lift call on Nebraska. So the Badgers took the set and John Cook was very unhappy on the call. 

Smrek, that 6'9 freshman that we haven't seen much of all season, is leading the Badgers with five kills on .833 hitting. That's right. Behind her Devyn Robinson and Grace Loberg have four kills apiece. The Badgers should be really happy they got a 1-0 lead on the match without Rettke leading the stat boards. 

For the Huskers, Ally Batenhorst is leading with four kills on .250 hitting. 

1:09 am, October 28, 2021

Nebraska ties up set one at 15 after falling behind early

The Badgers started out this match serving the Huskers out-of-system and jumped out to a 5-1 lead. Both teams started out hitting really well, but the Badgers were hitting over .500 early. The Huskers knew that the Badgers would be lethal from the service line, but need to find a way to terminate balls this match while out of system. 

Kayla Caffey has been a big spark for the Huskers to end some lengthy Wisconsin service runs. The Huskers went on a 4-0 run to get right back into this set and within two points, then tied it up at 15. They adjusted quickly and we are all tied up.  Here is one of those Badger aces ⬇️

12:29 am, October 28, 2021

Nebraska vs. Wisconsin, pregame

First serve for Nebraska vs. Wisconsin is set for 9 p.m. ET in Madison, Wisconsin. Tonight's matchup will have a big impact on the Big Ten standings, and put the winner in a great position moving forward. The Huskers are currently 10-0 and the Badgers are 9-1 in the conference. We will see two great middles face off across the net with the Husker's Lauren Stivrins and Badger's Dana Rettke. 

Nebraska has been on a roll lately, but will have to put it all together tonight against its highest ranked opponent since its last loss. 

Nebraska Volleyball
8:55 pm, October 26, 2021

How to watch Nebraska vs. Wisconsin

Wisconsin volleyball
  • Who: No. 3 Wisconsin at No. 6 Nebraska
  • Time: 9 p.m. ET
  • Date: Wednesday, Oct. 26
  • Location: Lincoln, Nebraska (Devaney Center)
  • TV channel: Big Ten Network
  • Click or tap for live stats here

 

8:54 pm, October 26, 2021

Nebraska vs. Wisconsin, previewed

Nebraska

First of all, the Huskers are now 10-0 in the Big Ten. They are the last undefeated Big Ten team and just took down Purdue last weekend, knocking the Boilermakers out of the AVCA top 10. The winner of this game will be in a great position to win the Big Ten, considering that Wisconsin only has one loss in the Big Ten. The Huskers have been on an upswing ever since they solidified their lineup and got Lauren Stivrins back from injury — their leader and All-American middle blocker. The Huskers have been looking good all around: Madi Kubik has been performing at a high level, they are getting great production out of the middle, and Lexi Rodriguez has been killing it in the backcourt as of late. But they have not faced Wisconsin yet, the No. 3 team in the nation. 

In past years, especially in 2019, Wisconsin was the Huskers' Achilles heel. They just couldn't get past them, falling to the Badgers three times that season. In fact, all three losses were sweeps. That was the year Wisconsin made it to the national title match before falling to Stanford. 

The Badgers have been dominant since then, and they were the No. 2 team this year before they fell in a surprising and uncharacteristic loss to Maryland. You might be able to credit that loss to 19 service errors for the Badgers ... practically a whole set worth of points in errors. That has not happened again. They have dominated everyone else they've faced. We all know Dana Rettke leads this team — she is a powerful force at the net and a big-time leader — so we always love to see her and Lauren Stivrins face-to-face. Julia Orzol has also risen as a key factor for the Badgers. When she's on, they are usually looking really good. She has a wicked jump serve as well. 

I think the Badgers will immediately look to attack the Huskers from the service line, get them out-of-system and off the net. But, you know John Cook will be expecting this and getting his Huskers ready for it this week in the gym. Nebraska is looking to prove themselves as the Big Ten volleyball leader, agains the No. 3 team in the nation. Let's see how it pans out. 

Here are 3 more must-watch matches this week, previewed.

8:33 pm, October 26, 2021

How Wisconsin and Nebraska match up, statistically

Here is how Wisconsin and Nebraska match up in terms of team statistics. The Badgers seem to run a slightly more efficient offense with some better attacking numbers, they are pretty even blocking, and Nebraska has the slight edge defensively.  

Wisconsin TALE OF THE TABLE Nebraska
17-1 (9-1) Record (ACC) 16-3 (10-0)
No. 3 AVCA ranking No. 6
Def. Penn State, 3-2 Last time out Def. Purdue, 3-1
.305 Hitting percentage .245
14.7 Kills per set 13.7
.144 Opponent hitting .146
2.5 Blocks per set 2.4
14.3 Digs per set 16.1
104/148 Aces/Service errors 103/128
Dana Rettke, 228 (3.74 k/s) Kills leader Madi Kubik, 216 (3.28 k/s)
Sydney Hilley, 752 (12.10 a/s) Assist leader Nicklin Hames, 629 (10.48 a/s)
Lauren Barnes, 251 (3.98 d/s) Digs leader Lexi Rodriguez, 281 (4.19 d/s)
8:32 pm, October 26, 2021
Nebraska jumps to No. 5 in latest Power 10 rankings
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8:29 pm, October 26, 2021

Latest AVCA rankings

Wisconsin and Nebraska ranked in the top 10 of the latest AVCA poll. Despite a lower ranking and three losses on the season, Nebraska is currently 10-0 in the conference and sitting on top of the Big Ten standings. 

Through games Oct. 25, 2021

RANK

TEAM

POINTS

RECORD

PREVIOUS

1 Texas (61) 1,597 17-0 1
2 Louisville (3) 1,539 20-0 2
3 Wisconsin 1,471 17-1 3
4 Pittsburgh 1,364 18-2 4
5 Kentucky 1,321 15-3 5
6 Nebraska 1,239 16-3 9
7 BYU 1,214 19-1 8
8 Washington 1,115 15-3 10
9 Ohio State 1,071 16-4 6
10 Baylor 1,010 13-4 11
11 Minnesota 947 12-6 12
12 Purdue 909 14-5 7
13 Penn State 852 14-6 14
14 Georgia Tech 770 17-3 13
15 Stanford 706 12-6 15
16 UCLA 688 15-3 17
17 Oregon 589 15-5 16
18 Western Kentucky 483 20-1 19
19 Utah 426 13-6 18
20 San Diego 323 14-4 21
21 Tennessee 292 16-4 20
22 Washington State 261 12-7 22
23 Florida 207 13-6 23
24 Creighton 186 20-3 24
25 Pepperdine 60 15-4 25