Wisconsin takes down Nebraska 3-1 to win share of Big Ten title for third consecutive year
Wisconsin took down Nebraska in four sets with a 25-18 victory in the fourth. When it was all on the line, Dana Rettke rose to the occasion. The super senior, All American totaled 18 kills on .484 hitting and seven blocks to lead her team to the win and a share of the Big Ten title after a slow start. Grace Loberg was phenomenal all night with 14 kills on .250 hitting, and Devyn Robinson came up big with seven blocks. Sydney Hilley broke the all-time career assists record at Wisconsin after dishing out 48 assists tonight. After hitting really low to start the set, the Badgers ultimately outhit the Huskers .225 to .168.
The Badgers were the first to 20 in the fourth set on a 4-0 scoring run. They seemed to be all over the court, just completely dominating. The crowd was in it, the players were in it, and they were rolling. Nebraska called a timeout but Giorgia Civita came out and notched two service aces in a row followed by a missile from Rettke to make it match point.
The Huskers, though, fought off three match points before Wisconsin head coach Kelly Sheffield took a timeout to regroup. But, Rettke hammered one down to take the set and win the match in four sets.
Despite the loss, the Huskers had a great match and were phenomenal in the first set. But, they were unable to keep it up as the Badgers continuously got better as the night went on. Madi Kubik led with 15 kills followed by Lauren Stivrins with nine. They had an impeccable night from the service line with 10 aces, but were unable to hold on to their early momentum while playing in a hostile environment.
Wisconsin continues upward trend in the fourth set
Let the trend continue — the Badgers are on fire. Wisconsin was hitting .394 to Nebraska's .000 clip and leading 9-4 when John Cook called a timeout to allow the Huskers to regroup. The Badgers have gotten into a groove and they are consistently getting better as the night goes on. Rettke got another one to extend their scoring run to four out of the timeout, she is now up to 13 kills on .435 hitting, which takes over the team-high from Loberg.
Hilley, who is having a great night and broke the Wisconsin career assists record, also recorded an ace. Here it is:
Wisconsin wins pivotal third set 26-24
The Badgers took a pivotal set three 26-24 after a hard-fought battle. They take a 2-1 lead on the match after losing by a landslide in the first set. Loberg has a team-high 12 kills followed by Rettke who is now up to 10 kills on .471 hitting with five blocks. Robinson has been big-time as well with eight kills and six blocks. The Badgers hit .256 to Nebraska's .136 hitting efficiency in the third.
Sydney Hilley tied the Wisconsin all-time career assists record with 5,833 assists. And of course, she did it with a beautiful assist to her fellow super senior and roommate, Rettke. The monumental kill tied the set up at 18, before Robinson picked up another block to take the lead. Loberg picked up her 11th kill to get the Badgers within two, and Nebraska took a timeout. The Huskers got it within one out of the timeout, but Anna Smrek who came up so big for the Badgers in the last Wisconsin-Nebraska matchup, hammered one down out of the middle to give the Badgers match point. Right when you think its over though, the Huskers get two in a row with yet another ace to tie it up. They are up to EIGHT service aces on the match.
Finally though, the Badgers notched two in a row with a Rettke kill and a monster shot from Loberg to take a 2-1 lead on the match. Quite the turnaround for the Badgers after struggling in the first. The Huskers are still dominating from the service line, but you can tell the Badgers are starting to turn it on from the line. They are notoriously a great serving team, but Nebraska has been handling it well. Kubik leads the Huskers with 12 kills followed by Lauren Stivrins who is now up to eight kills on .412 hitting.
Wisconsin starting out strong in third set
The Badgers have turned the tide in the third set ... they have even got their first service ace of the match. The Badgers are hitting .556 to Nebraska's .214 clip in the third, a big change from the first two sets. Loberg has got some serious help right now as the Badgers are doing a better job staying in system and getting their middles involved. Robinson is absolutely hammering balls down out of the middle, she is up to eight kills now on the match. They are still missing their usual contributions from Orzol, but they are all-around playing better. Defense on both sides of the net is on fire, too.
For Nebraska, Keonilei Akana has been a huge spark with now five aces on the match. With her behind the service line, they can make things happen, and Madi Kubik now has 12 kills on the match. This is absolutely a battle, but the Badgers have a 14-11 lead in set three.
Wisconsin ties up the match 1-1
We are tied up now after the Badgers rallied to take the second set 25-23 in a hard-fought battle. They were even the whole way until Wisconsin came alive towards the end of the set. Loberg still leads the Badger scoring effort but Devyn Robinson is now up to six kills on .231 hitting with four blocks and Dana Rettke is up to five kills.
The Badgers went on a 3-0 scoring run to take the lead 22-20 late in the second set, and boy did that get the Field House into it. The Huskers had the edge the whole set but the Badgers took it back by storm with a big stuff block from Robinson. The Huskers called a timeout then tied it up again at 22. They battled for the next few points before Robinson hammered one down for the win in set two.
We are clearly going to have a battle here, with a share of the Big Ten championship on the line. The Badgers started out slow in the first set, with a lot of things out of whack, but the win in set two was vital for them, and we have a pivotal third set upcoming. Here is that big Robinson block I mentioned ⬇️
Wisconsin and Nebraska even so far in set two
The Badgers needed a change of tune in the second set and they needed it fast. Energy levels looked low in the first set compared to their usual fire, but they are turning it around in the second. For one, the blocking game has come alive, with four blocks compared to Nebraska's zero. And secondly, Dana Rettke is firing up her team. Loberg has yet to let up either, now with six kills and hitting over .400.
Hitting is a lot lower for both teams in this second set, but despite Wisconsin playing a LOT better, we are still even, which is a really good sign for Nebraska. As of right now, this set is a total battle. The Badgers refuse to give up another, and the Huskers want to run away with this thing.
Nebraska rolls in first set, wins 25-14 for 1-0 lead
The Huskers just rolled through the Badgers for a 25-14 win in the first set. They take a 1-0 lead on the match. They dominated the serve and pass game with four aces in the first set. On top of the aces, their tough serving had Wisconsin totally off-balance and out of rhythm. The Huskers on the other hand were in complete control, passed great, and hit .462 as a team because of it. The typically aggressive service game from Wisconsin was pretty nonexistent in the first, instead of aces they had two service errors.
Kubik and Lauenstein had four kills apiece and both hit over .400. Nicklin Hames had her whole team at her disposal. The Badgers put up their lowest scoring output in a set all season long with 14 points. Dana Rettke had little action all set with just two kills on two swings. Loberg had four kills, but Orzol, a typically high scorer for the Badgers had no kills on -.667 hitting.
RODDY + K2 = YES. pic.twitter.com/QuBkpSuH0m— Husker Volleyball (@Huskervball) November 26, 2021
Nebraska leads Wisconsin 15-10 early in set one
Wisconsin came out hot right out the gates with three Grace Loberg kills. She is looking dynamic on the left pin to start out this match. However, the tides can change quickly. Nebraska tried out a new starting lineup yet again tonight, this time with Whitney Lauenstein's name on the list. Lauenstein came up big against Penn State last week and head coach John Cook mentioned that she had been doing great at practice, so he gave her the start tonight.
She got three kills early, and now has four kills on .500 hitting behind Madi Kubik with four kills on .800 hitting. Loberg has been the star for the Badgers with Julia Orzol starting out slow and little action for Dana Rettke. She just took her first swing of the match for her first kill. The Badgers are struggling with some unforced errors, and the Huskers are very much so not .... hitting .556 on the match so far.
How to watch Nebraska vs. Wisconsin
Wisconsin and Nebraska meet Friday night in a battle for first place in the Big Ten. The teams are tied for first at 15-3 going into the match, with Purdue in third at 14-4. Here's how you can watch:
- Time: 5:30 p.m. ET
- Date: Friday, Nov. 26
- TV channel: Big Ten Network
- Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Previewing Wisconsin vs. Nebraska
The race for the Big Ten comes down to this week. Nebraska and Wisconsin are tied at 15-3 in the conference, and both will be fighting for the Big Ten title and automatic qualification. The Huskers have two extremely tough matchups this week to close out the season against Wisconsin and Purdue. The Big Ten is incredibly challenging, and I could see both of these matchups going either way. Wisconsin swept Nebraska earlier in the season, Nebraska took down Purdue for a huge four-set win, and then Purdue upset Wisconsin. I mean how can you make any predictions in this conference?
You always love to see the matchup between Lauren Stivrins and Dana Rettke at the net. The Badgers are hot coming off of an exhilarating win over Minnesota in five sets. They will face Nebraska in their last test this week, barring any unforeseen circumstances against Indiana, and they will be looking for the win to not only win the Big Ten but also secure a top four seed in the tournament with the chance to host the third and fourth rounds if they advance there. Dana Rettke posted 21 kills in the win over Minnesota, but it was Jade Demps and Devyn Robinson that were huge parts of the seven-point comeback in the fourth set. They will need to come up big again against Nebraska. Nebraska is of course looking for a favorable seed in the eyes of the committee, and they have both Wisconsin and Purdue.
The Boilermakers are hot coming off of two wins over both Wisconsin and Minnesota this week to storm back into my Power 10 rankings. Caitlyn Newton came up big in both games, and Purdue's block was incredibly strong. They will be up against two of the best blocking teams in the nation.
How Wisconsin and Nebraska match up, statistically
Here's what the numbers say about the Badgers and the Huskers.
|WISCONSIN||TALE OF THE TABLE||NEBRASKA|
|23-3 (15-3)||Record (Big Ten)||21-6 (15-3)|
|No. 5||AVCA ranking||No. 11|
|Def. Minnesota, 3-2||Last time out||Def. Penn State, 3-0|
|14.8||Kills per set||13.8|
|2.5||Blocks per set||2.5|
|15.0||Digs per set||17.2|
|Dana Rettke, 318 (3.49 k/s)||Kills leader||Madi Kubik, 304 (3.45 k/s)|
|Sydney Hilley, 1,121 (12.05 a/s)||Assist leader||Nicklin Hames, 893 (10.63 a/s)|
|Lauren Barnes, 390 (4.19 d/s)||Digs leader||Lexi Rodriguez, 401 (4.41 d/s)|
Wisconsin rises in new Power 10
Wisconsin is up to No. 3 in our Power 10 rankings, behind only undefeated Louisville and also Texas.
Check out our blurbs on the Badgers.
3. Wisconsin (4)
I moved the Badgers up ahead of Pitt. Here is the why. They came back ferociously to take down a crazy good Minnesota team in five sets on Sunday. They rallied back from a 17-10 deficit in the fourth set and then still had to fight off multiple Minnesota match points before winning the fourth and forcing a decisive fifth set. The resilience and execution they showed at crunch time, against a team that I consider to be one of the strongest in the NCAA, was impressive. Again, I think this Wisconsin team is incredible when they have all of their pieces working together. Pitt and Wisconsin are neck and neck for me, and both have a big battle left. The Panthers still have Louisville next week, and Wisconsin has Nebraska, so this will of course be re-evaluated in just a few days' time. But, I wanted to reward the Badgers for a win in a well-fought battle this week.
Latest AVCA rankings
Wisconsin is the Big Ten's highest-ranked team in the most recent AVCA poll, coming in at No. 5. Nebraska is No. 11, as the Big Ten claims five of the first 11 spots.
Here's the complete poll: