Badgers Volleyball survives Michigan in 5-set marathon

Winning streaks aren’t easy to keep, but so far in Big Ten play the No. 4-ranked Wisconsin Badgers have made it look really easy. That wasn’t the case on Friday night, but UW (21-2, 12-1 B1G) found a way to grind out a road win in a 5-set marathon at the University of Michigan, 25-20, 24-26, 25-19, 21-25 and 16-14.

It was the Badgers’ 12th straight in Big Ten play, their longest conference winning streak since the 1997 season. UW has already tied its conference win total from last season, and it still have seven conference games left to play. The Badgers also moved to 6-0 on the road in the Big Ten, with its lone conference loss coming to Penn State at the UW Field House to open conference play.

The win is all that ultimately matters, but UW’s ease with which it had been winning came to an end as Michigan took the second set of the night and ended the Badgers 26-set winning streak as well.

Just how close was the contest? The Badgers hit .268 while Michigan finished close behind at .223 on the night. Ultimately, it came down to the team that made the fewest errors on the night, and just as it has been all season long, that team was Wisconsin. UW’s pressure caused 33 errors to just 19 for the Badgers on the night.

That wasn’t the only impressive part of UW’s game on Friday night, as they also outblocked the Wolverines 14-5 on the way to victory.

Sophomore setter Lauren Carlini also played a big role in the effort, putting up 48 assists to just one setting error on the night. Carlini set up three Badger players who finished with double figure kills — Haliegh Nelson (16), Kelli Bates (13) and Dominique Thompson (10).

Thompson and Nelson were great two-way players in keeping the streak alive, as both recorded six blocks apiece to go along with the double-digit kills.

Wisconsin will stay in Michigan this weekend, taking on the Spartans of Michigan State on Sunday at noon CT.

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadger and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, 32flags.com as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10.com