Wisconsin 3, Cal 0 Dec. 3,
Wisconsin 3, Cal 0Dec. 3, 2005
MADISON, Wis. - Senior co-captains Aubrey Meierotto and Sheila Shaw both had double-figure kills in their final home match as 13th-ranked Wisconsin defeated 16th-ranked California 30-23, 30-22, 30-25 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday night at the UW Field House.
Wisconsin (25-6) advances to the NCAA Sweet 16 on Friday in College Station, Texas, against sixth-seeded Notre Dame (30-3). The Fighting Irish advanced with wins over Dayton and Northwestern in the first and second rounds, respectively.
"That's a very good Cal team," said head coach Pete Waite. "I think we slowed them down considering how much they like to score. We just played solid. We never got behind, we were never under a lot of stress but just played real good volleyball."
Wisconsin outhit California in the match .283 to .116 with the Golden Bears hitting above .100 only in game three.
Meierotto led the match with 14 kills on 24 attempts and a .500 hitting percentage while Shaw registered 10 kills off 16 attempts, converting .438 on the attack. Jackie Simpson set up the Badger attack with a match-high 37 assists and provided five blocks on defense.
While the stats don't reflect it, Waite pointed to the Badgers' performance at the service line as a key to the match. Wisconsin had three aces and seven service errors while Cal had two aces and four service errors.
"When you're serving, you just can't give them an easy serve or they're just going to ram it down your throat," said Waite. "You have to go accurately and aggressively to certain zones. One part of our game plan is that their libero (Jillian Davis) is a very good passer and we were really trying to avoid her all night."
The Badgers frustrated the Golden Bear offense throughout the match. A match-high nine blocks from sophomore middle blocker Taylor Reineke helped Wisconsin outblock Cal 12-8.
California (19-11) had two players with double-figure kills as well. All-Pac-10 Conference player Angie Pressey led the Bears with 12 kills and added 11 digs. Morgan Beck added with 10 kills.
"I wasn't shocked," said Waite of how his team controlled the match. "We saw them on tape and saw them play last night. I thought they were very similar to the UCLA team we saw earlier this year. They were playing where they really rely on just a couple of players. I thought we were a more balanced team and that we played a faster paced game."
Wisconsin set the tone for the match in the first game, building a 12-6 advantage. California came back to tie the game at 17 before three consecutive kills from Shaw during a 4-1 UW run, earning it a 25-20 lead it would never lose. Meierotto keyed the Badger attack in the game with five kills on seven attempts for a .714 hitting percentage.
"It''s tournament time and everybody wants to be up right away and try to get the upperhand, and get on top of the other team and try to get them down," said Waite of the Badgers' early lead. "You're feeling the other team out. You're trying to get used to the pace of the game."
Jocelyn Wack had eight digs in the first game and led the Badger defense with a match-high 15. Wack extended her double-figure digs streak to 62 matches, the second-longest such streak in NCAA history and only one match short of the record.
After trailing 4-5 in the second game, a kill from Audra Jeffers and a pair of Cal attack errors gave Wisconsin a 7-5 lead it would never lose. The Golden Bears managed only eight kills on 39 attempts for a negative ..103 hitting percentage in the game. Three blocks from Reineke and two from Simpson highlighted Wisconsin's defensive effort.
Cal rallied out of the locker room in game three behind the play of Pressey. The 5-8 outside hitter had eight kills on nine attempts for a ..889 attack percentage, guiding the Bears to a .350 mark. Pressey kept Cal within one or two points of Wisconsin until a Bear error and a service ace by Wack put the Badgers up 27-23. Two kills from Meierotto before the match-winning kill from Shaw wrapped up the seniors' home careers.
"Pressey came out in the third game and showed us what she can really do, but at that point I think it was a little too late," said Waite.
"We really had some solid momentum and a lot of confidence in ourselves. I think it says a lot about the character of our team to stand up to whatever they gave us, whether it was blocking at the net or defensively making some plays, and just keeping our composure."
The Badgers take on the Fighting Irish in one regional semifinal match. Big Ten Conference foe and 14th-seeded Purdue (25-8) takes on third-seed Washington (28-1) in the other semifinal match.
"The feeling right now is pretty indescribable," said Shaw. "It is awesome to get a win here and to know that we are going to Texas to play in the Sweet 16 and hopefully we can continue our journey to the final four."
-- Courtesy Wisconsin