Gophers bury Badgers


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Game Photo
Wisconsin 11 Minnesota 3, 13 Wisconsin 1
Sports Pavilion • Minneapolis, Minn. • Attendance: 4,431

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Minnesota

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1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
 Wisconsin
26 14 18 23 --
 Minnesota
24 25 25 25 --
 Stats Leaders
WIS MINN
Thompson - 18 Kills Dixon - 15
Carlini - 51 Assists Palmer - 26
Thompson - .345% Hit %
Nora - .370
Four tied - 17 Digs Wittman - 20
Three tied  - 4 Blocks Dixon - 8
Hickey - 1  Aces Lawmaster - 2
 Stats Comparison
WIS MINN
 Kills 62 55
 Hitting Pct. .175 .261
 Assists 58 52
 Service Aces 1 3
 Digs 78 69
 Total Blocks 9.0 14.0
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Nov. 27, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS--Despite claiming the first set, the 13th-ranked Wisconsin volleyball team couldn’t hold on and fell at No. 11 Minnesota 3-1 on Wednesday night. The Badgers fell to the Gophers 24-26, 25-14, 25-18, 25-23 at the Sports Pavilion.

The loss drops the Badgers to 22-9 overall and 11-8 in the Big Ten Conference, falling into fifth place in the league standings.

 Fast Facts
• Four Badgers finish in double-figure kils
• Carlini and Morales record double-doubles
• Four UW players tally 10-or-more digs

“I thought we battled really, really well,” UW head coach Kelly Sheffield said. “That’s what you want to see at the end of the season. We talked to the team that in the first half (of the Big Ten season) we went 6-4 but the second half is going to be tougher with who we were playing on the road. Can we go 6-4 the second half? That’s still on the table, still in front of us with a win on Saturday.”

Wisconsin had four players in double-figure kills but hit only .175 (62 kills – 31 errors – 177 total attempts) in the match, compared to .261 (55-13-161) for the Golden Gophers.

Junior Dominique Thompson finished with a match-high 18 kills, just one short of her career high. Freshman Haleigh Nelson added 14 kills while Deme Morales and Ellen Chapman both put away 11 kills.

“We thought we could have some success (in the middle),” said Sheffield of the play of Thompson and Nelson. “We were able to get it to them an awful lot in game one. We weren’t able to get it to them as much as we wanted after that. When we did, they knew where we were going because we didn’t have a lot of three-option passes.”

Minnesota (26-6, 14-5) had three players in double figure kills, led by Tori Dixon with 15.

Four Badgers also tallied double-figure digs as Lauren Carlini (17), Courtney Thomas (17), Deme Morales (17) and Annemarie Hickey (15) give Wisconsin a 78-69 advantage in digs.

Carlini put up 51 assists at setter, recording her team-best 19th double-double on the season while Morales picked up the 15th double-double of her career.

The Badger offense was stymied by the Gopher block for much of the match. Minnesota outblocked the Badgers 14-9, led by eight from Dixon. Wisconsin was led by Thomas, Nelson and Thompson with four blocks apiece.

“I told the team we’ve had to deal with some tough things but they came out and battled really, really hard in front of a packed house,” said Sheffield. “They didn’t give up on themselves. I thought we were sloppy at times but part of that was how good Minnesota is. We had a lot of hitting errors but their block will get you thinking.”

Neither team led by more than two points in the first set, which featured 22 ties. The Gophers broke a 23-23 tie and served for set point at 24-23 but a kill by Chapman knotted the set again. A block by Thomas and Nelson followed by a kill by Nelson put UW up 1-0 in the match.

“In set one, I thought we were passing the ball really, really well but we didn’t serve very well,” said Sheffield. “We have to find ways to put more pressure on them. We came back and found a way to squeak out game one.”

Minnesota jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the second period but the Badgers came back on an 8-1 run to take a 10-9 lead. Thompson had three kills and a block to key the rally. Two straight kills by Adrianna Nora put Minnesota up for good at 12-10 as the Gophers hit .364 (15-3-33) for the set.

“They served a lot tougher and we weren’t getting good swings because our passing broke down in a big way,” said Sheffield of his team’s play in the second set. “You give (Minnesota), where you’re not putting much on the ball, they are just transitioning and pounding it. That was the case. We couldn’t put anything on the ball and their transition offense was pretty good.”

Despite remaining close for the first half of set three, the Gophers broke open the period, scoring three straight to go up 15-12. Minnesota had five blocks in the set, including two to put it up 16-13. UM put the set away with its offense as it had only one attack error in the period, hitting .298 (15-1-47) for the set.

Wisconsin got its early-match form back in the fourth set as the period was tied 10 times, including at 19-19. Dixon scored two straight kills to put the Gophers up 21-19. UW cut the lead to 21-20 on a kill by Morales but Minnesota would go up and serve for match point at 24-20. The Badgers held off three match points but another kill by Dixon sealed the win.

Wisconsin wraps up the regular season on Saturday, playing at Northwestern. First serve is at 7 p.m. from Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill.

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