UW Health Sports Medicine 

Badgers win 12th-straight match


Sept. 21, 2012

Wisconsin 3, Northwestern 1
Welsh-Ryan Arena • Evanston, Ill.
Game Photo

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
 Wisconsin
25 17 26 25 --
 Northwestern
23 25 24 23 --
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• Attendance: 874
 Stats Leaders
Wisconsin Northwestern
Graff -14 Kills Holthus - 18
Thomas - 56 Assists Shalter - 46
Mitchell - .333 Hit %
Duthman - .500
Hickey -25 Digs Shalter - 22
Ording - 5 Blocks Paffen - 5
Four with 1  Aces Three with 2
 Stats Comparison
WIS NW
 Kills 63 53
 Hitting Pct. .207 .168
 Assists 62 51
 Service Aces 4 8
 Digs 90 91
 Total Blocks 10 10
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EVANSTON, Ill. -- The Wisconsin volleyball team opened up Big Ten Conference play by extending its winning streak to 12-straight matches with a 3-1 win on the road over Northwestern in Evanston, Ill., Friday night.

The Badgers (13-1, 1-0) handed the Wildcats (11-1, 0-1) their first loss of the season with three close set victories, 25-23, 17-25, 26-24, 25-23.

 Fast Facts
• The Badgers had a season-high 90 digs Friday night.
Courtney Thomas recorded a career-high 56 assists while adding 12 digs for the double-double.
• Wisconsin wins 12th-straight match

Wisconsin opened a 7-3 edge early in the first set with a service ace from senior middle blocker Alexis Mitchell. After Northwestern closed the gap to 7-6, the Badgers took four points in a row off the serving of sophomore outside hitter Courtney Thomas.

Northwestern came back to cut the Badgers’ edge to 13-11 with both teams playing back and forth volleyball for the remainder of the set. Wisconsin never trailed for the rest of the set though and pulled out a narrow 25-23 victory.

It was the Wildcats who jumped out to an early lead in the second set, taking a 10-5 advantage. A Northwestern service error brought the Badgers to within one point at 11-10, but the Wildcats took six of the next seven points and a 16-11 lead.

Wisconsin never could narrow the gap closer than four points for the remainder of the set as the Wildcats ran away with a 25-17 win.

Tied at a set apiece, the Badgers and Wildcats were never separated by more than five points throughout the entire third set. With Wisconsin up 14-10, Northwestern won six straight points to take a narrow lead. The Wildcats further extended that margin to five, leading 20-15 late.

Wisconsin began to chip away at the deficit though and took nine of the last 15 points, winning the third set with a big block from Thomas and Mitchell for a 26-24 win.

As was the theme of the entire match, Wisconsin and Northwestern fought neck and neck throughout the fourth set, with the set tied at 11. The Badgers went on a 6-1 run thanks in part to the serving talents of sophomore defensive specialist Caroline Workman, who served an ace in the run.

The Wildcats were not ready to lie down, making a comeback to tie the set 19-19. Thomas claimed a kill though on the next point and the Badgers never looked back, edging out another close win, 25-23, to claim a match victory over Northwestern.

Wisconsin finished with four players in double figure kills. Crystal Graff led the Badgers with 14 kills while junior Julie Mikaelsen trailed just behind with 13. Sophomore outside hitter Ellen Chapman and Mitchell each had 12.

“And that’s always the sign of a good team,” Waite said. “We had four in double-digits, just really well balanced and that’s a lot on Courtney Thomas’ shoulders as far as her decision making.”

Mitchell also led the Badgers with a .333 hitting percentage while adding eight digs. Thomas set a new career high with 56 assists and picked up yet another double-double adding 12 digs. Junior libero Annemarie Hickey led all players with 25 digs.

As a team, Wisconsin outhit the Wildcats .207 to.168 while both teams turned in 10 blocks. The Badgers overcame eight service aces from Northwestern while contributing four of their own.

Wisconsin now heads to Champaign, Ill., to take on No. 20 Illinois Sunday in search of a 2-0 start to the Big Ten season. The Illini suffered a 3-0 sweep to Minnesota Friday evening.

“That’s a team coming off the final four last year,” Waite said of Illinois. “But their team is different. And we feel good about this match and taking them on down there and hopefully we beat the Illini.”

Match time is 1 p.m. Sunday and fans can catch the game live at BTN.com.

 

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