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Badgers close out home season with loss

Nov. 21, 2012

11 Minnesota 3, Wisconsin 0
UW Field House • Madison, Wis.
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1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
25 25 25 -- --
21 20 21 -- --

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• Attendance: 2,852

 Stats Leaders
Harms - 12 Kills Mitchell - 11
Palmer - 37 Assists Thomas - 36
Knudsen - .500 Hit %
Mikaelsen - .360
Santana - 10 Digs Hickey - 25
Knudsen/      Harms - 3 Blocks Ording - 4
Harms - 3  Aces -/-
 Stats Comparison
 Kills 46 39
 Hitting Pct. .287 .204
 Assists 44 38
 Service Aces 5 0
 Digs 47 47
 Total Blocks 8 6
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MADISON, Wis. -- The Badgers were hardly intimidated by Minnesota's 22 wins and No. 11 ranking when the Gophers visited the UW Field House Wednesday night. Wisconsin kept every set close, but in the end, could not overcome costly errors, falling in three sets to the Gophers, 25-21, 25-20, 25-21.

"I thought our overall effort was good tonight," head coach Pete Waite said. "We started slow in the first set but came back to tie it midway through. We were just playing in spurts at times and had a few unforced errors as in the service errors. Unfortunately, we had eight service errors and no aces."

Senior Alexis Mitchell led the Badgers (17-15, 5-13)with 11 kills in her final match at the Field House while junior Annemarie Hickey contributed 25 digs--just one short of the all-time record for Wisconsin in three sets. But 16 Badger errors, including eight in the first set, put Wisconsin in a tough position all night.

 Fast Facts
• With loss, Badgers finish home season 6-7.
Annemarie Hickey turns in 25 digs, just one dig shy of the Wisconsin all-time three-set record
• Wisconsin now heads to Purdue to close out the regular season.

In the first set, Wisconsin found itself in an early 6-1 hole before battling back to pull within just one, down 9-8. But from there, Minnesota (23-7, 14-5) opened up a comfortable margin that proved just enough to hold off the Badgers for the rest of the set. Wisconsin never came closer than within two points before dropping the first set, 25-21.

Wisconsin kept the second set closer in the beginning, opening with a 3-3 tie. But a 5-0 Gopher run again broke play open. Minnesota's lead stretched as high as six points before the Badgers were once again able to tighten the score late, trailing 23-20. The Gophers took the final two points in the set though for a 25-20 win and a 2-0 lead.

The Badgers saved their best play for the third set, hitting .290 (13-4-31) as a team in a frame that was close through much of the early going. But once again, the Gophers managed to stretch a thin margin into a comfortable lead mid-way through the set and that was enough for Minnesota. On a night where Wisconsin was always only a play or two away from grabbing the upper hand, the Gophers held off the Badgers' late runs, claiming a 25-21 win and 3-0 sweep.

In addition to Mitchell's 11 kills, junior Julie Mikaelsen added 10 while leading the team in hitting at .360. Courtney Thomas led UW with 36 assists while senior Mary Ording turned in four blocks on her final night in the Field House. Seniors Bailey Reshel finished with eight kills and seven digs.

"I thought Julie Mikaelsen had a great night tonight," Waite said. "She was just really unstoppable from the left side or the right side and Annemarie Hickey put up some big numbers - 25 digs was phenomenal. We just needed more out of everybody defensively."

As a team, Wisconsin hit .204 (39-16-113) and were out-blocked by the Gophers 8-6.

The Badgers now head to Purdue for the team's final match of the season against the No. 22 Boilermakers. A win at Purdue would boost Wisconsin's RPI and give the Badgers NCAA tournament hope.

"We have to practice on Thanksgiving and head to Purdue," Waite said. "We have to give it a shot at Purdue. We said after the match we're not done. We're not done improving, we're not done working to get that win so we're going to keep fighting."

Match time against the Boilermakers is 6 p.m. CT.

Volleyball vs Northwestern
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