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No. 15 Badgers upset No. 5 Michigan State

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Michigan State 15 Wisconsin 3, 5 Michigan State 1 
UW Field House • Madison, Wis. • Attendance: 4,327

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1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
 Michigan State 25 19 16 18 --
 Wisconsin 20 25 25 25 --
 Stats Leaders
Wicinski - 16 Kills Chapman - 14
Kelsay - 25 Assists Carlini - 36
Reinig - .180 Hit %
Carlini - .385
Moster - 26 Digs Hickey - 27
Mathews - 10 Blocks Carlini - 5
Two tied - 2  Aces Four tied - 1
 Stats Comparison
 Kills 44 51
 Hitting Pct. .122 .239
 Assists 43 45
 Service Aces 6 4
 Digs 61 63
 Total Blocks 10.0 8.5
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Oct. 20, 2013

MADISON, Wis. -- After a disheartening loss to No. 16 Michigan on Friday, the Wisconsin volleyball team bounced back to beat No. 5 Michigan State 20-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-18 in front of 4,327 fans at the Field House Sunday afternoon. This marks the team's first win over a top-five opponent since 2006. The Badgers improve to 16-4 overall and 5-3 in the Big Ten Conference for sole possession of fifth place.

"That's a really talented team that we beat today," said UW head coach Kelly Sheffield. "The only way our team is going to be able to win is  ...  with really good serves and really good ball control, knowing our assignments and being very tough and hard-nosed defensively. I think we were great in all of those areas. That's why we were able to come up with the win."

 Fast Facts
• First win over top-five opponent since sweeping No. 2 Penn State in 2006
Annemarie Hickey leads all players with 27 digs
Ellen Chapman records double-figure kills for 17th time this season

Wisconsin won the match with its back-court defense, outdigging the Spartans 63-61, behind a match-high 27 digs from senior Annemarie Hickey. Junior Deme Morales added 14 digs for UW.

"Annemarie Hickey was special defensively," said Sheffield. "She's executing the game plan, she's in the right spot and then she just sticking her nose in there. She was great."

The Badgers also won with their serve. Despite getting aced a season-high six times, UW aced the Spartans four times and forced them out of their offense numerous times with tough serves. Service errors were also key as Michigan State (17-3, 6-2) recorded 13 errors, compared to nine for the Badgers. 

"Michigan State, when they're in system, they're unstoppable," said Sheffield. "As good as our backcourt is, we're not good enough where we're going to be able to cover that much ground if there setter has all the options. Our serving really put a lot of pressure on them, I think we did a really good job of taking them out of system and that's key." 

Wisconsin also won on offense as all six starters recorded at least five kills with two Badgers recording double-figure kills. Junior Ellen Chapman put up 14 for her 17th double-figure match of the season, and junior Courtney Thomas followed with 10 kills. Deme Morales (9), Haleigh Nelson (7), Lauren Carlini (6) and Dominique Thompson (5) rounded out the offense.

"I think that's just our team the whole year," said Hickey of the teams' style of play. "I think we're a really good defensive team going up against a really good offensive team. We really wanted just to get the ball out to Lauren and get good transition hits."

As a team, the Badgers recorded an overall attack percentage of .239 (51 kills - 18 errors - 138 attempts), their highest since a win against Indiana on Sept. 28.

Carlini led the team in both assists and blocks. The freshman put up 36 assists on offense as well as a team-high five blocks and five digs on defense.

The Spartans hit .122 (44-26-147) for the match and was led by Lauren Wicinski with 16 kills. Chloe Reinig added 12 kills. MSU also outblocked the Badgers 10 to 8.5, behind 10 block assists from Alexis Mathews.

"Our passers were on point tonight," said Carlini of her team's offense. "I feel like I didn't have to move at all tonight, so that was definitely good and it's easier to run the offense when you have three option passes. I just did a lot of eye-checking tonight and kind of seeing where the middles were going and looking at the matchups. Again, our hitters were hitting great shots tonight. They were moving the ball around and did an awesome job."

The Badgers looked more than refreshed coming off Friday's loss. Despite dropping the first set, the team took hold of the reigns to beat Michigan by six-or-more points in each of the next three sets.

Wisconsin kept it fairly close in the first set which featured six ties, but was unable to hold the lead by more than one point. The Badgers trailed 21-18 before Michigan State began to pull ahead late two win. Though each team recorded four service errors, four aces were what set the Spartans apart and ensured the set win. 

After going back and forth with the Spartans to start the second set, the Badgers began to break away for the win. Wisconsin went on an 8-2 run to take a 17-11 lead. A four-point run brought the Spartans back in it, but the Badgers were relentless, eventually taking a six-point lead and winning 25-19 to tie the match.

The Badgers took control of the third set and did not let up, gaining a 10-point lead at 20-10. Michigan State hit .000 (9-9-39) in the set against a Wisconsin offense that put up a .265 attack percentage (12-3-34). Two blocks and two services aided UW's win.

The fourth set started out close, but Wisconsin once again took control to pull off the win. The Badgers recorded their highest attack percentage of the match, hitting .294 (13-3-34) against a Michigan State offense that hit .154 (14-8-39). Four of the Spartans' team service errors came in this set to help Wisconsin win 25-18.

"In this conference, you've got a lot of opportunities to get knocked around and a lot of opportunities to do the knocking around as well," said Sheffield. "None of us were really happy with the way that we played the other night, not just the loss but the way that we played.

"And we're trying to establish some type of identity. Every team, every year is establishing an identity and we think we're probably a blue-collar, grind-it-out team. I mean, who are we kidding? That's this school, that's this state. You think of the great teams and the great sports over the past and that's kind of been their personality, and we're trying to take that personality on ourselves."

The last time Wisconsin beat a top-five team was on Oct. 27, 2006, when it swept No. 2 Penn State in the Field House.

The Badgers are back in action Wednesday as they host Big Ten rival Minnesota. Game time is 7 p.m. in the UW Field House. 

Badger Classic
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