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Badgers fight hard but fall to No. 22 Ohio State

Sept. 29, 2012

22 Ohio State 3, Wisconsin 1
UW Field House • Madison, Wis.
Game Photo

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
 Ohio State
25 25 19 25 --
21 11 25 20 --
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• Attendance: 2,631
 Stats Leaders
Ohio State Wisconsin
Hole -23 Kills Chapman - 14
Peterson -36 Assists Thomas - 32
Leary - .390 Hit %
Chapman - .262
DiSalvatore - 25 Digs Hickey - 19
Danks/ Kacsits - 5 Blocks Mitchell - 8
Hole -2  Aces --
 Stats Comparison
 Kills 61 42
 Hitting Pct. .212 .103
 Assists 59 38
 Service Aces 3 0
 Digs 75 57
 Total Blocks 9 15.5
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MADISON, Wis. - Despite coming back with a third set victory after trailing 2-0 in the match, the Wisconsin volleyball team couldn't maintain its momentum, falling to No. 22 Ohio State 3-1. The Buckeyes downed the Badgers 25-21, 25-11, 19-25, 25-20 in the UW Field House on Saturday night.

After suffering a close 25-21 first-set defeat and a tough 25-11 loss in the second set, Wisconsin wasn't ready to lie down against the Buckeyes.

 Fast Facts
Alexis Mitchell finished with 8 blocks, just one shy of her career-high
• This was the third-straight 3-1 decision between the two teams.
• The Badgers' 15.5 blocks were second-best this season. Wisconsin had 16.5 blocks against Long Beach State.

"The first two sets were tough," said Head coach Pete Waite. "I think in ways there might have been some hangover from the match last night, just as far as not being in rhythm, not being confident. It took them a while to become a team again. We talked in the locker room, we were fighting each other more than we were fighting the opponent."

When the Badgers emerged from the locker room for the third set, they entered the floor with a renewed focus. The teams traded points with neither taking more than a two-point lead until Alexis Mitchell put down one of her five kills in the set to give Wisconsin a 19-16 lead.

A block by Mitchell on the next point stretched that lead to 20-16. Four points later sophomore Courtney Thomas, junior Crystal Graff and sophomore Ellen Chapman combined for one of the UW's nine blocks in the set to put the Badgers up six (23-17). Chapman then sealed the set with a kill.

"In the fourth, they come out, you would have thought that we be down and out in three sets," Waite said. "But we came out in the third and did a nice job of just playing the way we're capable of playing and we know we can do that."

The Badgers couldn't maintain their momentum in the fourth set as Ohio State opened up with a 4-1 margin. The Buckeyes upped their lead to 11-7 before a kill from Chapman and an OSU attack error brought the score to within two (11-9). OSU took four of the next five points to take a 15-10 advantage and Wisconsin would get no closer than three the remainder of the set.

Ohio State out-hit Wisconsin .212 (61 kills - 28 errors - 156 attempts) to .103 (42-26-155) for the match. But Badgers looked tremendous at the net, outblocking the Buckeyes 15.5-9.0.

Chapman led the Badgers with 14 kills while Mitchell added 12. Ohio State was led by Mari Hole and Kaitlyn Leary, who finished with 23 and 21 kills, respectively. 

For the second night in a row, Thomas fell just short of a double-double, finishing the match with 32 assists and nine digs. Junior Annemarie Hickey led Wisconsin with 19 digs, while Mitchell came out on top among all players with eight blocks.

"I think that our passing was a lot better tonight than it was last night," Mitchell said. "We were handling balls really well, so we were able to get a lot of one-on-one blocks and put the ball away more."

Wisconsin also failed to score on a service ace for the second straight match while getting aced three times. The Badgers were also outdug 75-57.

"We've been better in the past," Waite said. "But Ohio State is a good team and they took advantages of some of those things. Just looking at the stats, for us to beat somebody in blocking 15.5-9, that's very good. It's just there's other aspects of our game that we have got to improve on."

The Badgers find themselves back in Madison again next weekend for a pair of matches against their neighbors across the lake, Michigan and No. 24 Michigan State, on Friday night and Sunday afternoon.

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