MADISON, Wis. — No. 2 Wisconsin (18-1, 9-1) opens the second half of Big Ten play with a split week of action. The Badgers travel to East Lansing, Michigan, on Friday to face Michigan State (13-8, 5-5). First serve is at 6 p.m. CT from Breslin Center. UW returns home on Sunday to face Minnesota (10-8, 6-4) in a Border Battle from the UW Field House. The match airs live on Fox at 3:55 p.m., following the Packers/Viking NFL game and will be the first volleyball match ever to air on the network.
1. LAST TIME OUT: Wisconsin dropped its first match of the season at No. 2 Nebraska, 3-2, on Saturday, snapping its school-record 27-match Big Ten winning streak and 30-set winning stretch. The loss also stopped UW’s 18-0 start, the best in program history.
2. BADGER ROOFING COMPANY: The Badgers have outblocked 18-of-19 opponents this season while tying one foe, ranking sixth nationally and second in the Big Ten with 2.84 blocks per set. In Big Ten matches, UW leads the conference with 3.03 blocks per set. Wisconsin outblocked Nebraska 18-7, including 12 blocks in the second set alone, holding the Huskers to a season-low .130 hitting percentage.
3. TOP DOGS: In Big Ten-only matches, UW has three of the top blockers in the conference. Sophomore Carter Booth leads the Big Ten with 1.56 blocks per set while senior CC Crawford ranks fourth at 1.41 and junior Anna Smrek sits seventh with 1.22 blocks per set.
4. SHUTTING DOWN OPPONENTS: Wisconsin is one of the top teams in Big Ten-only matches, stopping opponents offense. The Badgers lead the conference in opponent hitting percentage (.115), opponent kills (9.91), opponent assists (9.06). UW also leads the conference in opponent blocks (1.34) while ranking second in opponent service aces (0.75) and opponent digs (12.38).
5. STILL THE ACE QUEENS: Despite not scoring a service ace at Nebraska on Saturday, the first time this season UW failed to score from the service line, the Badgers still lead the Big Ten in conference-only matches with 2.22 aces per set. Junior Julia Orzoł leads the conference with 0.53 aces per set after recording a career-high four service aces vs. Ohio State on Oct. 18.