Saturday, 30 September 2023

NCAA Womens Volleyball

Serving Up Six: Badgers open season in Minnesota

Serving Up Six: Badgers open season in Minnesota

MADISON, Wis. — No. 2 Wisconsin (28-4 in 2022) opens the 2023 season on the road at the Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge in Minneapolis this weekend. The Badgers face No. 15 Baylor (25-7) on Friday at 4:30 p.m. and TCU on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. from Maturi Pavilion on the University of Minnesota campus. Both matches air live on Big Ten Network. 

1. BADGERS SWEEP FLAMES: Wisconsin swept UIC 25-13, 25-12, 25-18 in an exhibition on Saturday afternoon in the UW Field House. The two teams also played a fourth set with Wisconsin winning 25-19. The Badgers dominated the match at the net, hitting .284 (38 kills – 15 errors – 81 attempts) for the first three sets while holding UIC to negative .051 (17-21-78). The Badgers saved their best for last, hitting .405 (19-4-37) in the fourth set.

 Wisconsin was one of the nation’s best blocking teams in 2022, ranking second with 3.08 blocks per set. Junior Caroline Crawford ranked second on the team with 1.43 blocks per set, which ranked 14th nationally and sixth in the conference. Anna Smrek and Devyn Robinson are not far behind, with 1.11 and 1.08 blocks per set, respectively. Transfers Carter Booth and Temi Thomas-Ailara will add to the Badgers strong front line, as Booth ranked fifth in the Big Ten last season, averaging 1.48 blocks per set. 

 Wisconsin returns a balanced offensive attack with four hitters averaging 1.6 or more kills per set. Redshirt sophomore Sarah Franklin led the team and ranked seventh in the Big Ten with 3.51 kills per set. Junior Devyn Robinson chipped in 2.69 kills per set and sophomore Julia Orzoł added 2.44 kills per set. Right-side hitter Anna Smrek chipped in 1.66 kills per set. Transfer Temi Thomas ranked second in the Big Ten last season with 4.33 kills per set while Carther Booth averaged 2.02 kills per set in 2022. UW also returns three players who hit better than .300 last season. Smrek and Robinson both hit .318. Middle blocker Caroline Crawford connected on .305 percent of her attacks. Booth ranked fourth in the Big Ten, hitting .360.

4. LEADING THE BIG TEN: Wisconsin led the Big Ten in three team statistical categories during the 2022 season. In all matches, the Badgers led the conference with a team hitting percentage of .267 and 18.00 points per game. Wisconsin also ranked second in hitting percentage…

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