The Wisconsin women's volleyball team continues to win — and dominate — in the month of October. This time, the Badgers took down No. 6 Minnesota for the first time since 2014.
Wisconsin was in control the entire match, and executed its game plan in three straight sets. Dana Rettke and Sydney Hilley were in perfect sync, giving way for Rettke to hammer in 16 kills. Hilley had 39 assists on the match. Rettke didn't miss often, hitting .500 percent.
Alexis Hart led the way for the Gophers with 10 kills, but Stephanie Samedy had lower than her normal offensive showing, with just five kills.
Here's how it happened:
The match didn't take long for the teams to settle in. They came out slugging at each other and swinging hard with a lot of energy. Rettke's first swing was drilled down for the Badgers first point on the board. The Gophers then put together a 4-0 run, and it was looking like Minnesota might be able to take control. The Badgers responded quickly though with a run of their own to tie it at eight, and then they just kept going. Wisconsin racked up seven consecutive points before Minnesota was able to stop the run and make it 12-9. The Gophers kept the score decently close for the rest of the first set, taking a few points here and there from Wisconsin errors. But in the end, Danielle Hart, Molly Haggerty and a pair of Minnesota errors led the Badgers to a 25-18 win in the first set.
The second set looked a little different. Wisconsin immediately made Minnesota scramble. They had three unanswered points to force Minnesota to take a time out with the Badgers ahead 12-7. Then, the Badgers started to dominate. Two kills from Haggerty and a kill by Rettke gave Wisconsin an eight point lead, and the Badgers kept piling it on. Samedy was quieter than normal for the Gophers. Wisconsin kept control, and ended up taking the set in a dominating fashion 24-15.
In the third set, Wisconsin hit .474. Although at one point the teams were tied at nine, the Badgers were able to respond by going on a 4-0 run. Hart kept the Gophers alive, and then Samedy hammered in a few. But the combination of Rettke, Haggerty and Grace Loberg was just too much to handle. The set ended in a similar fashion to how the entire match went, with a Hilley, Rettke connection for the kill. The Badgers took the third 25-20.
What does this mean and what's next?
The Badgers are now 5-0 in an extremely talented Big Ten conference. With this win, they become the team with the most wins over top 10 opponents this year. They do have four losses on the season, but lately, have been playing like a championship caliber team. They will have to play Nebraska and Minnesota again this season. Next week, they face Michigan State.
Minnesota's 10-game winning streak was cut short on Sunday. Next, they will play Northwestern and Illinois, both at home. They too still have to play Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Penn State later this season.