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No. 16 Badgers shucked by No. 11 Nebraska

Game Photo
Nebraska 11 Nebraska 3, 16 Wisconsin 1
UW Field House • Madison, Wis. • Attendance:5,307

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1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
 Nebraska 18 25 25 25 --
 Wisconsin 25 20 23 19 --
 Stats Leaders
Robinson - 21 Kills Two tied - 15
Pollmiller - 50 Assists Carlini - 42
Robinson - .439 Hit %
Morales - .270
K. Rolfzen - 17 Digs Two tied - 15
Hall - 8 Blocks Thomas - 4
Three tied - 1  Aces Three tied - 1
 Stats Comparison
 Kills 56 56
 Hitting Pct. .248 .208
 Assists 55 50
 Service Aces 3 3
 Digs 63 62
 Total Blocks 11 7
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Nov. 8, 2013

MADISON, Wis.-- Despite starting out with a fiery offense, the 16th-ranked Wisconsin volleyball team was unable to pull off a victory, falling 3-1 to No. 11 Nebraska on Friday night in the UW Field House. The Badgers dropped an 18-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-19 decision to the in front of a season-high 5,307 fans. 

With the loss, the Badgers fall to 18-7 overall and 7-6 in the Big Ten Conference, tied for fifth place with Purdue and Illinois.

“I don’t think we played bad, I think we played really hard,” said UW head coach Kelly Sheffield. “I’m proud of the effort that we had. I’m proud of the fact that Haleigh Nelson didn’t practice all week, rolled her ankle, and comes out and puts on a performance that she did. I thought Taylor Morey made some really big plays for us. It doesn’t show up on the stat line but I thought she played really hard and added a lot of energy. There were some good moments there, but we just couldn’t stop their big gun.”

 Fast Facts
Lauren Carlini records 15th career double-double
Deme Morales and Ellen Chapman lead team with 15 kills apiece
• Four Badgers record double-figure kills

The Wisconsin offense started out hot, jumping out to a 7-1 lead in the first set. The Badgers breezed through to a 25-18 win, maintaining the lead the entire time. Wisconsin hit .306 (14 kills – 3 errors – 36 attempts) this set against .152 (12-7-33) from Nebraska.

The Badgers led by as many as three points in the second set and held on until Nebraska tied it up at 16-16. The Huskers were then able to pull ahead and win 25-20, assisted by a Badger offense that tallied four service errors and hit .000 (11-11-46) on the set. Nebraska had five blocks in the set, including two over the last five points.

“I thought we obviously came out and jumped all over them in game one,” said Sheffield. “In game two, I thought we had a shot there. At that 18-19 point range, they managed to forge ahead. Then we had back-to-back service errors and four or five attack errors.

“We just errored ourselves right out of that game. We didn’t force them to work. (The Huskers) were sitting there with the possibility of going 0-2 going into the locker room and being on the road. We didn’t execute.”

The third set was a close one, featuring 14 ties and six lead changes. Both teams hit better than .350, but Nebraska had the advantage with 20 kills compared to 15 from Wisconsin. The Huskers Kelsey Robinson tallied 10 kills while Kadie Rolfzen added seven kills to key the win.

“Kelsey Robinson is going to be the national player of the year,” said Sheffield. “It’s as simple as that. It was two teams that are good and one player on the offensive end that you can set any and every time that you want. She is just better than anybody in the country. Our opponent has that player and nobody else does. That was the difference in the match.”

The once red-hot Wisconsin offense seemed to have lost its spark in the fourth set.  Nebraska took the lead at 3-2 and did not look back, moving onto a 25-19 win. A controversial four-hit call on the Badgers and an ace by Robinson gave Nebraska the win.

Wisconsin recorded a .208 overall attack percentage (56-24-154) against a Nebraska offense that hit .248 (56-20-145) on the night.

Offensively, the Badgers were led by two juniors. Deme Morales and Ellen Chapman recorded 15 kills apiece, putting Chapman just 46 shy of 1,000 career kills.

Nebraska countered with a powerful offensive duo who put up 40 of the team’s 56 kills. Robinson put away 21, 16 of which came in the last two sets, and Rolfzen added 19, with 12 in the last two sets.

Wisconsin struggled to serve aggressively throughout the match. Although the team recorded three aces, the Badgers’ nine service errors came at crucial points in the match.

“I thought they served and passed better then what we did,” said Sheffield of the Huskers. “I thought our team played really hard. There were some rallies and we were throwing our bodies all over the place. We were putting it all out there on the court.”

On the defensive end, Nebraska out-blocked Wisconsin 11-7. Junior Courtney Thomas led the team with four blocks, followed by Nelson and junior Dominique Thompson with three stuffs apiece. The Huskers were led by sophomore Cecilia Hall with eight blocks.

Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week Lauren Carlini tallied her 15th career double-double with 42 assists and a team-high 15 digs, accompanied by three other Badgers in double-figure digs. Senior Annemarie Hickey shared team-high honors with 15 saves while Morales and Thomas each added 10 digs.

The Badgers hit the court again on Sunday as they take on Iowa. Game time against the Hawkeyes is 1 p.m. at the UW Field House. 

Badger Classic
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