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Volleyball rallies to open season with win

Game Photo
Iona Wisconsin 3, Iona 0
Firestone Fieldhouse • Malibu, Calif. • Attendance: 200

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1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
22 22 18 -- --
25 25 25 -- --
 Stats Leaders
Cembalisty - 7 Kills Chapman - 17
Ziskin - 26 Assists Thomas - 31
Ward - .714 Hit %
Thompson - .444
Warren - 11 Digs Morey - 16
Three tied - 2 Blocks Two tied - 2
Spence - 1  Aces Chapman - 2
 Stats Comparison
 Kills 31 42
 Hitting Pct. .091 .262
 Assists 28 38
 Service Aces 1 5
 Digs 43 50
 Total Blocks 5 5
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Aug. 30, 2013

MALIBU, Calif. -- Coming back from deficits in the first two sets, the Wisconsin volleyball team opened the 2013 season with a 25-22, 25-22, 25-18 win over Iona in the opening round of the Pepperdine Classic in Firestone Fieldhouse on Friday evening. The win gave first-year head coach Kelly Sheffield at 1-0 mark to open his tenure at Wisconsin.

 Fast Facts
• First-year head coach Kelly Sheffield opens 1-0
Ellen Chapman leads all players with 17 kills
Taylor Morey tallies match-high 16 digs

"It's better than 0-1," said Sheffield with his usual sense of humor.

"We played a lineup that we haven't practiced all preseason so there was an awful lot of figuring things out on the fly. We all have to be patient with the process and just have to compete like crazy and try to clean things up as you go. It was a good match for us. I was proud of the way we competed."

Sheffield had only 11 of his 16 athletes available for his first match due to a variety of injuries. Due to the injuries, Sheffield had to switch up his lineup, moving junior Ellen Chapman to the right side and starting Annemarie Hickey and Deme Morales on the left side.

Chapman led all players with 17 kills while Dominique Thompson returned from a redshirt season to add 10 kills.

"Early on, we went to Ellen (Chapman) an awful lot and she put up some big numbers early and Dom put up some big numbers late," explained Sheffield. "I thought our ball control was pretty good for most of the night and that's something we have to lean on. I thought Taylor Morey and Annemarie (Hickey) were pretty steady for most of the night passing."

Morey, a sophomore transfer from Notre Dame, led all players with 16 digs in her first start at libero. Junior Courtney Thomas added 12 digs and Hickey chipped in 11 digs.

The good passing allowed the Badgers to hit .262 (42 kills - 14 errors - 107 attempts) as a team compared to just .091 (31-21-110) for Iona. Thomas added 31 assists in running Wisconsin's offense.

Iona was led by Taylor Cembalisty with seven kills.

Wisconsin rallied from deficits in the first two sets to win. The Badgers trailed 21-20 in the first set before Chapman scored two of the last three UW points for the win. In the second set, Wisconsin trailed 13-8 before coming back to tie the set at 19. The Gaels led 22-21 before UW scored the last four points of the second frame to clinch the set.  The Badgers jumped out to a 10-7 lead in the third set and while Iona cut the lead to two at 17-15, UW got back in control for the sweep.

"'We played clean volleyball at the end of all three games," Sheffield said. "We were being aggressive, we weren't making a lot of errors and we were closing sets out the way good teams do.

"At this point in the season, that tells you an awful lot about the mentality of the team. When it's on the line, you're able to close it out. We didn't panic, we were confident and we played aggressive in those moments."

The win marked the fourth straight season that Wisconsin has won its season-opening match.

UW continues play at the Pepperdine Classic on Saturday with a 2:30 p.m. match vs. Delaware and a 9:30 p.m. match vs. host Pepperdine.

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