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First-set comeback sparks sweep

Wisconsin 3, North Dakota State 0
UW Field House • Madison, Wis.
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1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
20 20 23 -- --
25 25 25 -- --
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• Attendance: 2,474
 Stats Leaders
NDSU Wisconsin
Joki - 15 Kills Chapman -12
Yager - 23 Assists Thomas - 36
Whalen - .400 Hit %
Mikaelsen - .450
Joki - 19 Digs Hickey - 17
Lambertson - 3 Blocks Ording - 4
Two with 1  Aces Three with 1
 Stats Comparison
 Kills 39 49
 Hitting Pct. .187 .228
 Assists 39 47
 Service Aces 3 3
 Digs 68 60
 Total Blocks 5 6.5
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MADISON, Wis. - Coming back from a 10-point deficit in the first set, the Wisconsin volleyball team rode that momentum en route to a 3-0 sweep over North Dakota State (2-6) at the UW Field House Saturday afternoon. The Badgers improved to 7-1 on the season with a 25-22, 25-20, 25-23 win over the Bison (2-6).

Wisconsin dug itself a hole early in the first set, falling behind 16-6. Head coach Pete Waite called a timeout to settle his team and they responded, stringing together six-straight points behind the service of junior libero Annemarie Hickey.

 Fast Facts
Courtney Thomas earned her fourth-straight double-double with 36 assists and 10 digs
• The win was the first for the Badgers over the Bison. NDSU had previously beaten Wisconsin 3-1 back in 1988.
• Both teams finished with three service aces and five service errors

Down 16-12, the Badgers won seven of the next 10 points and tied the set on a service ace from senior middle blocker Alexis Mitchell. Sophomore outside hitter Ellen Chapman gave the Badgers their first lead on the next point with a kill, one of five for Chapman in the set. Wisconsin then took five of the last six points, winning the set 25-20 on a kill from junior right side hitter Julie Mikaelsen

Providing a spark for the Badgers was senior outside hitter Bailey Reshel. Inserted by Waite mid-way through the first set, Reshel turned play around with five kills and a .455 hitting percentage.

"She came and did a nice job, getting us rolling in that first (set)," Waite said. "We want to get Crystal (Graff) more playing time and kept her in there in the third (set) and (Crystal) did well ball handling in the back row. She was actually part of that rally too coming back."

Wisconsin and North Dakota State battled even early in the second set, tied 6-6. A 7-2 Badger run gave UW breathing room and the team never looked back. The Badgers never led by more than five points for the remainder of the set as the Bison held tough, closing the gap to three at 21-18. Reshel again proved strong, contributing a kill and a block to maintain the lead and UW took the set on a Bison service error.

In the third set, the Badgers fell behind early again, trailing 8-4. Sophomore defensive specialist Caroline Workman sparked four-straight points with her serving to bring Wisconsin to 9-8 before Graff served five straight points, pushing the Badgers to a 13-9 lead.

Once again, the Bison held strong, never allowing the Badgers to take more than a four-point lead for the remainder of the set. Wisconsin served for match point at 24-20 but North Dakota State took three straight points before Graff finished off the match with her third kill of the match.

Waite stressed his team has room for improvement.

"Obviously, to mature we've got to not start that way [in the first set] and even in the third set we had a good lead and let them come back a little bit," Waite said. "It's a matter of staying hungry from the beginning to the end."

Chapman led the Badgers with 12 kills, adding three digs, while Mikaelsen finished with 11 kills and a .450 hitting percentage. Hickey led Wisconsin with 17 digs, while also contributing six assists.

Sophomore setter Courtney Thomas earned her fourth-straight double-double turning in 36 assists and 10 digs. Thomas set the Badger offense to a .228 hitting percentage (49 kills - 16 errors - 145 attempts) after UW hit just .177 in the first set.

North Dakota State's Brynn Joki led all players with 15 kills and 19 digs.

The Badgers finish play at the InnTowner Invitational tonight at 7 p.m. when they take on in-state rival Milwaukee.

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