Wisconsin Badgers volleyball: UW upset 3-1 by No.12 Purdue after poor start

The Wisconsin Badgers No.3 volleyball team (10-2 Big Ten, 18-2 overall) saw Ghosts start against the No.12 Purdue Boilermakers (8-4, 16-5) on Sunday after midday, and the nightmarish start led to the Boilermakers’ upset 3-1 (20-25, 22-25, 25-20, 26-28) victory despite a furious comeback.

Purdue sprinted to take a 17-6 lead in the first set against the Badgers, who were troubled by Boilermakers’ block and couldn’t get any momentum on either side of the ball. Wisconsin only hit 0.159 in that opening set – well below their season average – and despite coming back to four points from PU, the Boilermakers got a deserved first set victory.

Although Purdue struggled with serve errors during the game – the team finished with 11 overall over the four sets – the serves that initially kicked the Badgers, and the Boilermakers finished with four aces in total and Wisconsin struggled to stay in the system. offense.

Not to mention the fantastic work of the Boilermakers on the block to start the game. In the first two sets, Purdue managed 10 blocks before ending with a total of 16, passing the Badgers by nine. First-year center blocker Raven Colvin made 11 blocks as she was a nuisance to the UW offense, especially rookie Julia Orzoł.

The freshman star struggled in this game to break through the block and had some really hesitant swings as if afraid of making another mistake. While Orzoł recorded 11 kills, she only hit 0.045 in those early fights.

Two players who didn’t wrestle were fifth year Grace Loberg and second year Jade Demps. Loberg led the way for Wisconsin with 15 kills and had a .282 winning percentage while putting up some really big swings for UW.

Meanwhile, Demps was replaced early by rookie Anna Smrek, who struggled after her superb performance against Nebraska. The North Carolina sophomore fired 13 kills at home in just three sets of play, and also had kills for the Badgers.

Loberg and Demps both were huge in Wisconsin’s third win. UW found itself in an 8-2 hole at one point, but kills from the two outside hitters saw the Badgers return to the set as Demps secured a knockout to tie the frame 12-12.

Sophomore Devyn Robinson also found something in the third set, including providing a block for the Badgers. The Iowa native had 10 kills and four blocks, but really helped the Badgers late in the set to a 25-20 victory, and perhaps gave something to build on.

Robinson’s regular center-tackle partner Dana Rettke has had an unusually poor night. The four-time All-American never started despite nine wins, and had a shocking run in the final set that killed the game for UW.

Despite a 24-22 lead, Wisconsin spat out a few points before staying alive and forcing a 26-26 tie. A Purdue overpass gave Rettke the prep for a kill, but his shot sailed wide to give the Boilermakers a 27-26 lead. Purdue sewed the set and the game to the next point, dooming the Badgers to a second loss of the season.

For Wisconsin, the Badgers still lead the Big Ten thanks to a 3-2 loss of their closest rival, Nebraska, to Minnesota. UW also completed a four-game streak against ranked opponents and will have the chance to catch their breath with tilts against Northwestern and Basement Iowa dwellers this weekend.

Although Rettke and Orzoł struggled, Grace Loberg and Jade Demps really stepped up the attack, while libero Lauren Barnes recorded a career-high 33 digs as she strengthened in the last few games.

But in a conference as tough as the Big Ten, there’s always another defeat lurking just around the corner. And Wisconsin will have nightmares this Purdue Block Halloween night and late missed chances.

UW will return to Field House to host Northwestern and Iowa this weekend on Friday and Saturday nights.

About Marc Womack

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