MADISON, Wis. – Penn State proved its worth as the No. 1 team in the country, sweeping Wisconsin 3-0 Friday night at the UW Field House. The 25-19, 25-21, 25-7 loss is the first for the Badgers at home this year and just their third all season.
Penn State (13-1, 3-0) set the tone early, taking a 6-2 advantage over the Badgers (13-3, 1-2) in the first set. Wisconsin held tight, coming within one point of the Nittany Lions at 13-14, but that would prove to be as close as the Badgers would come in the set.
Despite eight assists and seven digs from sophomore Courtney Thomas, PSU finished out the set with three straight points to take a 1-0 advantage. Wisconsin hit just .095 (11 kill – 7 errors – 42 attempts) in the set.
The Badgers came out for the second set with a renewed determination, taking an early 6-4 lead. Penn State took the lead five points later, but Alexis Mitchell put down her lone kill of the set to tie the score at 11. From there though, Penn State went on a 5-0 run to open up a comfortable 16-11 lead.
The Nittany Lions led by as many as seven points in the second set, but the Badgers fought back to grab three straight points, to trail 23-20. Penn State took two of the final three points in the set, and despite the Badgers out-hitting the Nittany Lions .333 to .282, Penn State took the set 25-21.
It was all Penn State in the final set. The Nittany Lions out-hit Wisconsin .500 to .000 as the Badgers put up their fewest points ever in a set, losing 25-7. Wisconsin kept the score close early, trailing 5-2, before PSU jumped out to a lead that grew to as large as 18, its final margin of victory.
As a team, the Badgers finished the night hitting .135 (28-14-104), while Penn State compiled a .370 (54-14-108) hitting percentage. Wisconsin out-blocked the Nittany Lions 8.5- 8.0, while PSU came away with five aces to none for the Badgers.
Sophomore Ellen Chapman led Wisconsin with nine kills, while junior Bailey Reshel contributed five off the bench. Thomas finished the match with 23 assists and nine digs. Junior Annemarie Hickey led the Badgers with 10 digs. Senior Alexis Mitchell led all players with six blocks, while Thomas finished right behind with five.
The Badgers get right back on the court to face No. 22 Ohio State Saturday night at 7 p.m. at the Field House.