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Volleyball sweeps Notre Dame at Big Ten/ACC Challenge

photo of the volleyball team huddling on the court
Wisconsin 6 Wisconsin 3, Notre Dame 0
Big Ten/ACC Challenge
Sports Pavilion • Minneapolis, Minn. • Attendance: X,XXX

Notre Dame
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  1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
25 25 25 -- --
 Notre Dame
16 17 16 -- --
 Stats Leaders
Chapman - 12 Kills Smith - 6
Carlini - 28 Assists Muzzonigro - 17
Chapman - .440 Hit %
Kuhn - .231
Morey - 15 Digs Johnson - 8
Nelson - 5 Blocks Fry - 3
Carlini - 3  Aces Two tied - 1
 Stats Comparison
 Kills 41 24
 Hitting Pct. .346 .100
 Assists 36 22
 Service Aces 8 2
 Digs 35 25
 Total Blocks 7 6.5
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Aug. 30, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS -- Another outstanding offensive performance led the sixth-ranked Wisconsin volleyball team to a 25-16, 25-15, 25-16 win over Notre Dame at the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Badgers improve to 2-0 on the season.

"I thought last night we really excited about playing but I don't think we were locked in about competing," head coach Kelly Sheffield said. "I know there was a difference in us from how we played last night."

 Fast Facts
• Badgers hit .346 as a team
• Chapman leads all players with 12 kills
• Morey tallies match-high 15 digs

After recording just three blocks in a 3-0 win over Louisville on Friday, the Badgers outblocked the Irish 7-6, recording four blocks in the first set alone. Wisconsin edged Louisville 41-39 in digs on Friday but dominated the Fighting Irish, 35-25, in the back row.

"No question (the defense) was better," explained Sheffield. "We felt like even though we won last night, we probably won based on talent and offense. We felt like we lost the back-court battle defensively. We felt like we lost it at the net defensively."

Sophomore Haleigh Nelson led Wisconsin against Notre Dame with five blocks while junior Taylor Morey recorded a match-high 15 digs against her former team.

The Badgers again had a dominating performance on offense, hitting .346 (41 kills - 13 errors - 81 attempts) while holding Notre Dame to just .100 (24-16-80).  

Senior Ellen Chapman keyed the Badger offense, putting away a match-high 12 kills. The outside hitter also hit .440 with only one error on 25 attempts. Freshman Kelli Bates had the best match of her young career, tallying eight kills while hitting .357 (8-3-14).

"(Bates) has some ability," said Sheffield of his only freshman. "She's working hard and trying not to be a freshman. Everyday she's getting a little bit better and getting more comfortable. She had a nice day and she should feel good about it. It was a good match for her."

Sophomore Lauren Carlini put up 28 assists at setter and also led all players with three service aces.

"I thought Lauren executed the game plan really well," Sheffield said. "I thought she read the right stuff. For the most part, I thought we did a good job of recognizing their (blocking) schemes and making them pay."

Behind Carlini's three aces, the Badgers scored eight times from the service line. Morey added a career-high two aces while Chapman, Bates and Courtney Thomas all served an ace. Wisconsin gave up just two service aces while Notre Dame has 10 service errors, compared to eight errors by UW.

"We're trying to be a team that serves tough for six rotations," said Sheffield. "We did a good job and we kept pressure on them for the most part tonight."

Three early service aces put the Badgers up 9-1 in the first set. Carlini had two aces to key a 7-0 run by UW to give it the largest lead of the set. Chapman keyed the offense late in the set, putting away six kills on 11 attempts with no errors.

Notre Dame took a 2-1 lead in the second set, the first time in the 2014 season that the Badgers have trailed. Morey added her second service ace of the match to put UW up 5-2. Wisconsin led 19-10 before two straight Irish blocks brought Notre Dame within three (19-13). Two straight errors by UND and kills by Bates and Thompson put the set away.

Sheffield was able to go to his bench in the third set as his team broke open the set early on. UW led 6-4 before a kill by Dominique Thompson capped off a 3-0 run. Another 3-0 run, keyed by an ace and kill from Bates, put Wisconsin up 12-6. Sheffield started substituting with 14 out of 15 players seeing action.  

"We've had a great first two matches," said Chapman. "I think this upcoming week we'll get back in the gym and start working on the things we need to improve on."

Sheffield agreed with his senior. "I learned that we have a lot of work to do but it was a good start for us."

The Badgers continue the non-conference season next weekend, traveling to the Northern Colorado/Colorado State Classic on Sept. 5-6.

Volleyball vs Minnesota
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