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Badgers fall 3-2 to Illini

Sept. 23, 2012


20 Illinois 3, Wisconsin 2
Huff Hall • Champaign, Ill.
Game Photo

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
23 25 22 25 9
25 23 25 22 15
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• Attendance: 3,209
 Stats Leaders
Wisconsin Illinois
Graff -16 Kills Birks -20
Thomas - 57 Assists Luhrsen - 60
Ording - .417 Hit %
Johnson - .700
Hickey -22 Digs Beltran - 27
Ording - 6 Blocks Johnson/ McMahon - 4
Workman/ Thomas - 2  Aces Three with 2
 Stats Comparison
 Kills 65 73
 Hitting Pct. .262 .270
 Assists 61 72
 Service Aces 6 8
 Digs 72 75
 Total Blocks 11 7
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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The Wisconsin volleyball team lost a hard-fought, 3-2, match to No. 20 Illinois Sunday afternoon at Huff Hall in Champaign, Ill., ending a 12-game winning streak.

Down two sets to one, the Badgers (13-2, 1-1) mounted a fierce comeback late in the fourth set to force a fifth, but fell in five, dropping their first Big Ten match of the season to the Illini (7-5, 1-1), 23-25, 25-23, 22-25, 25-22, 9-15.

“I thought we really battled the whole time,” head coach Pete Waite said. “To be beat this Illinois team on their home court we just needed to be more consistent.”

 Fast Facts
Crystal Graff had a career-high 16 kills
Courtney Thomas turns in her second double-double of the weekend with 57 assists and 10 digs.
• The loss snaps Wisconsin's 12-game winnig streak.

Up two sets to one, Illinois jumped out to a big lead in the fourth set, with Wisconsin taking on the comeback roll to tie the match with a 25-22 set win. The Illini opened play with a 15-10 advantage before the Badgers went on a 5-0 run to tie the set.

The Illini regained a 22-20 lead but the Badgers closed out the set with another 5-0 run for the win. A big kill from sophomore Courtney Thomas gave the Badgers a 23-22 lead and Mitchell extended that lead to 24-22 with a kill of her own. Mikaelsen finished off the set with a block to tie the match at 2-2.

Illinois grabbed an early 8-4 lead in the fifth and final set, extending that margin to 11-6 and eventually 14-8 to force match point. The Badgers sparked a long rally that ended in a net violation for Illinois to extend the match, but an Illini block on the next point sealed the match, a 3-2 loss for the Badgers.

“But I did like the fact that we battled in the fourth and came back,” Waite said. “Because that would have easily been a set where we laid down and been done and the match was over. But we battled back to extend it to a fifth set and just couldn’t quite get on track and stop their hitters at the end.”

The Badgers controlled play for most of the first set but could not hold off a late rally from the Illini, dropping the set 25-23. The Badgers jumped out to early 8-3 and 12-8 leads on the backs of kills from sophomore outside hitter Ellen Chapman and senior middle blocker Alexis Mitchell.

With Wisconsin leading 18-13, Illinois went on a 9-4 run to tie the set at 22-22. The Illini found themselves serving set point at 24-22 before sophomore outside hitter Crystal Graff came up with a kill to narrow the gap to 24-23.

Illinois outside hitter Jocelyn Birks was there on the next serve however, coming up with the kill to give the set to Illinois.

Wisconsin again jumped out to a big lead early in the second set, but this time held off a late Illinois rally to grab a 25-23 win, tying the match a 1-1.

A kill by senior Mary Ording put the Badgers up 7-3 in the second set, with Wisconsin eventually stretching that lead to 11-5 off a kill from Mitchell. The Badgers held a large margin late, leading 22-17 off another kill from Ording, before finding themselves serving set point up 24-20.

The Illini made another late run though, taking three points in a row before a costly Illinois hitting error gave the Badgers the set.

The third frame saw another early advantage for Wisconsin, holding an 11-9 lead before the Illini went on a 5-0 run, forcing a Badger timeout. Out of the break, Wisconsin reclaimed composure with three points in a row for to tie the set at 14.

The two teams traded points before a Badger attacking error gave Illinois two in a row for a 20-18 lead. The Illini stretched that lead to 22-19 before junior Julie Mikaelsen narrowed the gap to 22-20 with a kill.

The Illini were too strong though, taking three of the last five points for a 25-22 set victory and a 2-1 match lead.

Graff led the Badgers with a career-high 16 kills, adding nine digs. Ording turned in a team-high .417 hitting percentage while also contributing six blocks.

Thomas grabbed her second double-double of the weekend with a career-high 57 assists and 10 digs. Junior libero Annemarie Hickey led all Badgers with 22 digs while sophomore defensive specialist Caroline Workman added 11.

As a team, Illinois led the Badgers in kills, 73- 65, as well as hitting percentage .270 to .262. The Badgers also out-blocked the Illini, 11-7. Illinois had eight service aces on the day to Wisconsin’s six, while both teams committed eight service errors.

“Overall our hitting percentage was .262 and that’s strong—I’ll take that any day,” Waite said. “It’s just some of the other errors or points we’re giving the other team, that’s what hurt us in the end.”

The Badgers now head back home to kick off their 2012 home conference season against Penn State this Friday and Ohio State on Saturday. Both matches start at 7 p.m.

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