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No. 12-seed Badgers sweep Milwaukee in NCAA tournament first round

Milwaukee 12 Wisconsin 3, Milwaukee 0
2013 NCAA Tournament - First Round
UW Field House • Madison, Wis. • Attendance: 2,874

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1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
11 14 15 -- --
25 25 25 -- --
 Stats Leaders
Ruiz - 8 Kills Chapman - 12
Price - 24 Assists Carlini - 39
Neuberger - .500 Hit %
Nelson - .538
Ruiz - 13 Digs Two tied - 10
Neuberger - 2 Blocks Two tied - 5
Ruiz - 1  Aces Carlini - 4
 Stats Comparison
 Kills 29 45
 Hitting Pct. .137 .461
 Assists 29 43
 Service Aces 1 8
 Digs 37 40
 Total Blocks 2.0 11.0
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Dec. 6, 2013

MADISON, Wis.-- In its first NCAA tournament match since 2007, the 13th-ranked and 12th-seeded Wisconsin volleyball team put on a commanding performance, sweeping in-state rival Milwaukee 3-0 Friday night in the UW Field House. The Badgers grabbed a 25-11, 25-14, 25-15 victory to advance to 24-9 on the season and make their way to the second round of the tournament on Saturday. Wisconsin will face California at 6 p.m. in the Field House for the right to advance to the Champaign, Ill., Regional.

"I thought we were efficient," head coach Kelly Sheffield said. "I thought we were aggressive while keeping our errors down. I don't care who you are playing against, when you only have four attack errors and nobody has more than one, that is a pretty efficient night." 

 Fast Facts
• Wisconsin hits a season-high .461 (45-4-89)
Lauren Carlini records career-high four service aces
• Wisconsin out-blocks Milwaukee 11-2

"I thought our ball control was really good and our serving pressure was consistent after we got into the match," said Sheffield. "We got a lot of blocks. It is one of those matches where we obviously stuffed the stat page here. (It was a) good match and we are looking forward to tomorrow night."

The Badgers said this week that they were ready to make some noise in the NCAA tournament. With that in mind, they sounded off on the Panthers, who finish the season 18-11.

"I think one of the things you are worried about is this is a group that hasn't been in a tournament environment before," added Sheffield. "So you try to build their confidence and let them know that all year long you are prepared for the NCAA tournament. We played really good teams and then you let them know you don't have to play perfect in the tournament."

Wisconsin put on its most dominant offensive performance of the season, recording a season-high team attack percentage. The Badgers out-hit the Panthers .461 (45 kills - 4 errors - 89 attempts) to .137 (29-16-95). It was the second-highest team hitting percentage for a UW team under 25-point rally scoring.

Two players recorded double-figure kills for the Badgers. Junior Ellen Chapman led all players with 12 kills on a .440 (12-1-25) attack percentage. Fellow junior Deme Morales followed closely behind, tallying 11 kills and hitting .476 (11-1-21). Middles Dominique Thompson and Haleigh Nelson each added seven kills apiece for Wisconsin. Nelson, who was recently named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team, hit an impressive .538 (7-0-13), and Thompson hit .462 (7-1-13).

On the service line, Lauren Carlini made it clear why she deserves her recent Big Ten Freshman of the Year award. The 6-2 setter recorded a career-high four service aces for the Badgers. Wisconsin tallied eight total service aces compared to just one by Milwaukee.

The Badgers were equally powerful on defense, out-blocking the Panthers 11-2. Nelson and Chapman shared match-high honors with five blocks apiece while Carlini and Thompson followed up with four blocks each.

Wisconsin also out-dug Milwaukee 40-37. Senior Annemarie Hickey and Morales tied to lead the team with 10 digs apiece, giving Morales her 16th double-double of the season.

"It is really exciting winning the first match and getting to move on to the next game," said senior Annemarie Hickey. "We've been saying all year that the train stops at one game and after we win or lose that game, the train keeps moving. So tonight we were really just focusing on the train keeping moving for us and we are really excited about that and we have California tomorrow which we are really excited about and we are going to bring it."

Milwaukee was led on both offense and defense by freshman Myanna Ruiz. The Racine, Wis., native recorded eight kills and a match-high 13 digs for the Panthers.

Milwaukee took an early 6-5 lead in the first set, but Wisconsin went on a 4-0 run to make it 9-6, and it dominated thereafter. Freshman Lauren Carlini served seven straight to extend the Badgers lead to 17-9, recording three service aces during the run. Four blocks and five total service aces solidified a 25-11 win in the first set for the Badgers.

Wisconsin took the initial lead in the second set and did not look back. With a 13-10 lead, the Badgers went on an 8-2 run to extend their lead, making it 21-12. Wisconsin put up five blocks and hit .440 (13-2-25) on the set to help give them a 25-14 victory.

The Badgers once again took the lead in the third set and held on tight, leading the Panthers the entire period.

California advanced to the second round by sweeping No. 15 North Carolina 25-20, 25-18, 25-20 in the first round.

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