MADISON, Wis (UW Athletics) -- In a battle for the 2019 Big Ten Conference title, the fifth-ranked Wisconsin volleyball team took a big step closer with a sweep of No. 6 Nebraska on Sunday afternoon. The Badgers downed the Huskers 25-19, 25-22, 25-21, needing only one more win to clinch a share of the conference championship.
In the offensive battle, Wisconsin (21-5, 17-1) put on a hitting clinic, connecting on .333 percent (54 kills – 13 errors – 123 attempts) of its attacks with three players tallying double figures. Junior Molly Haggerty shared match-high honors 16 kills while Dana Rettke and Madison Duello chipped in 12 and 10 kills, respectively.
Nebraska’s (23-4, 15-3) Lexi Sun also put away 16 kills but she was the only Husker to hit double figures as the visitors hit .241 (39-13-108).
Junior Sydney Hilley put up an impressive 48 assists in the match and added eight digs, just two short of her ninth double-double of the season.
The Badgers outblocked Nebraska, 8-4, behind five stops by Rettke and four from Duello, while also finishing with a 48-44 edge in digs. Lauren Barnes led UW with 12 saves while Tiffany Clark added 11 digs.
Wisconsin also did not give up a service ace in the match while scoring four times from the serving line. Barnes, Hilley, Clark and Izzy Ashburn all scored a service ace for the Badgers.
Straight from the court
“I thought that was a great college volleyball match. There was a lot of high-level play on both sides of the net. I thought both teams applied pressure to the other. Defensively, I thought we were awfully good out of the gate. Our ball control was solid, we passed a pretty good number there. Syd (Hilley) was fantastic, really keeping them off balance with her play calls and who she was setting.
“Our transition game was pretty solid. I think that was one of the reasons why they had quite a few net violations. You apply pressure by keeping the ball off the ground and hitters working, setter making really good choices and keeping things balanced. I thought it was really hard for them to figure out what (Syd) was doing. I thought the effort that Molly (Haggerty) gave us, she has had a rough week being sick, and to take 43 swings took a heavy load for us swinging wise. We needed every one of them, it was a good team win against a really good team and we're going to enjoy this one right now before we start thinking about our next matches."
- Coach Kelly Sheffield
"Yeah, I'm not feeling too good, but I don't care. If I was feeling great instead of feeling like this, I knew I was going to play and I knew I was going to play for my team. I don't think I really let down too much, I didn't want anyone to notice that I was sick. I think we just played really good as a team and we didn't really think too much like Syd said about the future, we just played in the present."
– Molly Haggerty
Notes to Know:
• Wisconsin won its fourth-straight match over the Huskers, and swept Nebraska for the first time in a season.
• The Badgers wrap up their home Big Ten season with a perfect 10-0 record, the first time since 2001 that UW is undefeated at home in conference play.
• UW has defeated seven straight ranked opponents, dating back to Sept. 27.
• Junior Dana Rettke has moved into 15th on the UW all-time career kills list with 1,149.
The Badgers wrap up the regular season on the road, traveling to No. 8 Penn State and Rutgers next weekend. Wisconsin takes on the Nittany Lions on Friday at 5:30 p.m. CT from Rec Hall in University Park, Pennsylvania, live on the Big Ten Network. On Saturday, UW takes on Rutgers at 6 p.m. from College Avenue Gym in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The bracket for the 2019 NCAA Championship will be announced on Dec. 1 live on ESPNU at 7:30 p.m. CT.