Friday, 22 September 2023

NCAA Womens Volleyball

Badgers take a bite out of the No. 3 Gators


GAINESVILLE, Fla. —  It’s been a year of comebacks for the No. 1 Wisconsin volleyball team. The Badgers (9-0) did again on Sunday, fighting back from a 0-2 deficit in the match to beat No. 3 Florida in a five-set thriller, 15-25, 22-25, 25-21, 25-22, 15-13.  Even more impressive was that UW did it in front of a Florida program record crowd of 10,323 fans at the Stephen O’Connell Center.

After dropping the first set 25-15, UW improved in the second set but fell behind 2-0 in the match. It was a must-win situation from here on out as Wisconsin. The Badgers carried over the momentum they built late in the second set to take a 13-4 lead in the third set. Florida held off two Badger set points but couldn’t stop the balanced UW offensive attack that hit .406 in the period.

Wisconsin led for most of set four but it wasn’t until a 3-0 run put the Badgers up 16-11, a lead they wouldn’t relinquish to force a decisive fifth frame.

Set five was highlighted by seven ties and four lead changes. Wisconsin broke a 10-10 tie with a 3-0 run behind the serve MJ Hammill. A kill from Franklin and an ace from Hammill forced a Florida timeout at 13-10. Florida sided out but the Badgers got it right back with a kill from Smrek to make it 14-11. The Gators held off two match points but Smrek, who had four of the Badgers’ eight kills in the set, had a kill for point, set and match.

Smrek finished with a match-high 16 kills while Sarah Franklin and Devyn…

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