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Badgers cage No. 17 Cardinals to win the NDSU Classic

Game Photo
Louisville  Wisconsin 3, 17 Louisville 0
Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse • Fargo, N.D. 

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1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
15 21 20 -- --
25 25 25 -- --
 Stats Leaders
Mattingly - 9 Kills Thomas and Thompson - 11
George - 24 Assists Carlini - 28
Ewing - .667 Hit %
Nelson - .556
Welch - 15 Digs Carlini - 12
Jenkins and Mattingly  - 2 Blocks Thompson - 7
Welch - 2  Aces Thomas - 3
 Stats Comparison
 Kills 31 40
 Hitting Pct. .086 .275
 Assists 29 34
 Service Aces 2 6
 Digs 41 46
 Total Blocks 4 9
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Sept. 7, 2013

FARGO, N.D. -- The Wisconsin volleyball team improved to 6-0 on the season with a 25-15, 25-21, 25-20 win over No. 17 Louisville (2-3) in the championship match of the NDSU Classic on Saturday evening.

The Badgers’ win over the Cardinals is the highest ranked team UW has defeated since downing No. 6 Penn State on Nov. 6, 2011. Wisconsin also has its best start of a season since 2010, when the Badgers began the campaign with an 11-0 record.

 Fast Facts
• Wisconsin holds Louisville to a .087 attack clip
• The win over No. 17 Louisville is the highest ranked team Wisconsin has defeated since downing No. 6 Penn State on Nov. 6, 2011
• Wisconsin's 6-0 start is the best since an 11-0 opening in 2010

Junior Courtney Thomas was named the NDSU Classic MVP while senior Annemarie Hickey and sophomore Taylor Morey each earned spots on the all-tournament squad.

Wisconsin’s defense was stifling in the match, holding Louisville to a .087 (31-22-103) attack clip. The Badgers outblocked the Cardinals 9-4 and outdug Louisville, 46-41.

UW also hit .275 (40-12-102) and recorded five service aces.

“We came out, we played well, and we kept our foot on the pedal,” first-year head coach Kelly Sheffield said. “We didn’t let up at all. We are proud of this team. What I was really impressed with was when we jumped on them. We kept the pressure on them. We didn’t make a lot of errors, we didn’t get soft and we were physical. That was great.” 

Thomas and junior Dominique Thompson each posted a match-high 11 kills while hitting .391 and .400, respectively.

“Once we give Courtney some reps hitting against a block in practice, it is going to be good,” Sheffield said. “She set the tone out of the gate.”

Freshman Lauren Carlini, the 2012 Gatorade National Player of the Year, recorded the first double-double of her college career with a match-high 28 assists and a team-high 12 digs in just her second UW start.

“We dug a lot of balls tonight,” Sheffield said. “Lauren was very good defensively. Everyone, especially the back row played tough.”

The trio of Thomas, sophomore libero Taylor Morey and junior Deme Morales each tallied nine digs, while Thompson collected a team-high seven block assists.

In the first set, the Badgers jumped out to a 10-2 advantage as Thomas tallied four kills while the UW defense forced four attack errors during the run. Wisconsin won the set easily, 25-15, while hitting .310 during the frame and holding Louisville to a .051 attack clip.

The second set was closer as UW prevailed 25-21. Thompson tallied six of her 11 kills in the stanza, while Hickey added three putaways.

Wisconsin enjoyed a hot start to the third stanza taking an early 8-2 lead en route to winning the frame, 25-20.  The Badger defense held the Cardinals to a .057 hitting percentage while forcing eight attack errors during set.

The win marked the second straight tournament the Badgers have won after winning the Pepperdine Invitational on Aug. 30-31.

“They are staying together,” Sheffield said about his team. “We are grinding, we are learning how to be a team that just grinds. I like those types of teams. I like those teams that are tough and work through adversity.” 

The Badgers kick off the home season next weekend, hosting the InnTowner Invitational in the UW Field House on Friday-Saturday, Sept. 13-14. Wisconsin takes on Kansas, Milwaukee and Bowling Green in the round-robin tournament.

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