Volleyball: Badgers fall to Minnesota in thriller at UW Field House

 

Volleyball: Badgers fall to Minnesota in thriller at UW Field House

first_imgIt took five excruciating sets for the Minnesota volleyball team to dispatch Wisconsin, but the Gophers battled through and put a lid on the Badgers’ comeback with an emphatic 15-11 fifth-set victory.The end result came after the Badgers’ repeated and inspired rallies ultimately fell short through each losing set. Proving they couldn’t overcome a plethora of errors and that playing from behind for much of the match ultimately took its toll.However, it did prove to be one of the more entertaining matches Wisconsin has found themselves in all season.“I thought that was a helluva college volleyball match right there,” UW head coach Kelly Sheffield said. “Two teams totally dominating a set each and then two other sets where two points could’ve gone either way … I thought it was two teams that were embracing the battle and the fight. That was the best we have fought this year.”After cruising to a 25-11 opening set victory, Wisconsin looked to be in control, but woke up a sleeping Minnesota in the process.The Gophers and Badgers tested each other for the entirety of the second set. The largest lead Minnesota held was four points, when they led 21-17 late in the set. Wisconsin wouldn’t allow them to take the set easily though, and clawed back to eventually tie the set at 24-24, but Gophers’ star Daly Santana delivered an admonishing kill that signified she wouldn’t allow the Gophers to lose. Minnesota then took the set on a kill from Paige Tapp.The Gophers would take the third set with ease, 25-16, but then squander two match points in the fourth to let the Badgers force a fifth and final tiebreaking set, which they eventually won.Errors halted many of Wisconsin’s attempted rallies. Usually consistent and reliable players like outside-hitters Kelli Bates and Lauryn Gillis recorded 13 and eight hitting errors, respectively, some of which came at inopportune times. Bates missed a kill late in the fifth set that would’ve changed momentum and closed Minnesota’s lead to one point, then hit a successful kill on the next play, only to then serve the ball into the net and give the Gophers a three point lead.“When you’re getting two teams that are that evenly matched, it’s a couple points here and a couple points there,” Sheffield said. “And some of those errors become really, really magnified.”Lauren Carlini delivered 54 assists while Bates delivered 17 kills, tying her career match-high. Gillis hit 13 kills and two more Badgers hit ten or more kills as well. However, 34 team attacking errors halted the offensive progression.But Sheffield pointed to some positive signs, hopefully areas Wisconsin can exploit going into Saturday’s rematch, such as keeping Santana to hitting only at .162 percent.“At the end of the day, you’ve got to feel like we did a pretty good job defensively on [Santana],” Sheffield said. “What makes her really, really good is she hits the entire court. She makes it really, really tough defensively. She just doesn’t hit the same shot twice in a row. I thought we battled really, really hard.”last_img

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