Nothing but treats for Wisconsin


Oct. 26, 2012

Wisconsin 3, Illinois 1
UW Field House • Madison, Wis.
Game Photo

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
 Illinois
25 20 23 22 --
 Wisconsin
22 25 25 25 --
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• Attendance: 3,002
 Stats Leaders
ILLINOIS WISCONSIN
Birks - 13 Kills Mikaelsen - 19
Viliunas - 23 Assists Thomas - 47
Johnson - .364 Hit %
Ording - .412
Beltran - 20 Digs Hickey - 30
Three with 4 Blocks Mikaelsen - 8
Viliunas - 2  Aces Mitchell - 3
 Stats Comparison
ILL WIS
 Kills 46 60
 Hitting Pct. .155 171
 Assists 44 55
 Service Aces 3 5
 Digs 67 82
 Total Blocks 9 14.5
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MADISON, Wis. -- Strange things seem to happen when its Halloween weekend in Madison. Like the disappearing act Wisconsin’s lead performed in the first set. Then there was the Jekyll and Hyde performance the Badgers played between the first and second set. But in the end, the trick was on Illinois (10-11, 4-7) as Wisconsin (16-8, 4-7) treated itself to a sweet 3-1 win (22-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-22) at the UW Field House Friday night.

The first win for the Badgers against Illinois in the teams’ last ten matches, for head coach Pete Waite, the result is a satisfying and much needed victory.

"“I’m really pleased with the way we played tonight," Waite said. "The first set we really had a fast start but we just didn’t stay consistent with it and we started breaking down a little bit. (I have to give) credit to the team – that’s what we’ve been working on is to come back and forget those errors and stabilize."

 Fast Facts
Julie Mikaelsen was just one dig and two blocks away from a triple double. She finished with 19 kills, nine digs and eight blocks
Courtney Thomas finished with her 11th double double of the season: 47 assists, 11 digs
• The win is the first for the Badgers over Illinois in the last 10 matches

The Badgers took a commanding 10-4 lead to open up the first set, a reversal of early-set woes that have plagued Wisconsin as of late. But an 11-3 Illinois run turned the tables on the Badgers and they could not claw back from there. Wisconsin did show fight in the end. Down 24-18, the Badgers fought off four-straight set points before Illinois finally took the set 25-22.

In the second set, Wisconsin once again took a significant lead to open play, mounting an 11-6 lead, boosted by two service aces from senior Alexis Mitchell. This time though the Badgers held on to that lead, never trailing throughout the entire set. UW’s largest lead of the set came at 22-13 before the Badgers took a 24-17 lead. The Illini fought off three set points this time, but Wisconsin was not to be denied, claiming a 25-20 win.

The Badgers and Illini found themselves locked in a battle for most of the third, facing 11 lead changes in the set. Wisconsin took a 5-1 lead early before Illinois came back to force a 5-5 tie. The teams traded points before coming back to a 17-17 tie. From there, it was back and forth with both teams sitting in a 23-23 tie late. But back-to-back kills from sophomore Courtney Thomas and junior Julie Mikaelsen gave the Badgers the narrow 25-23 set win at 2-1 match lead.

The Badgers took firm hold of momentum following that third set and they carried it through to the fourth. Wisconsin never trailed in the fourth set, opening up a seven point lead late, up 19-12. Illinois attempted a comeback, but would come no closer than two points. Up 23-21, the Badgers took two of the final three points to claim the set 25-22 and the match.

Mikaelsen had a frightenly spectacular night on the court, falling just short of the rare triple double. Mikaelsen tied her career high with 19 kills while also contributing nine digs, eight blocks and a .390 hitting percentage (19-3-41).

"Jules (Mikaelsen) had a monster night, that was great for her in a lot of ways," Waite said. "It wasn’t just the swings she took, she made a lot of great sets, great saves in the back court, chasing things down so she did really well and obviously some other people had some record nights."

Mitchell was the only other Badger with double-digit kills, finishing with 14, as the Badgers hit just .171 (60-31-170) as a team. Wisconsin held Illinois to just .155 (46-20-168) as the Illini were led by Liz McMahon (16) and Jocelyn Birks (13) in kills.

Junior Annemarie Hickey meanwhile finished with season-high 30 digs, just three shy of her career high. Sophomore Caroline Workman added 12 saves.

As a team, the Badgers finished with 14.5 blocks to Illinois’ nine. Wisconsin also tallied five service aces, which three of them coming from Mitchell.

“The team was due," Waite said. "We’d seen spurts of their abilities and they sustained it and they met the goals we talked about during the week. That was really important for them to do so I’m real proud of them.”

Wisconsin looks to put together its first Big Ten winning streak of the year when Northwestern visits the Field House Sunday at 1 p.m. The Badgers defeated the Wildcats 3-1 earlier this season. A victory Sunday for the Badgers would surpass the team's win total from last season.

ON WISCONSIN
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