Michigan state of mind: UW sweeps

first_imgBRYAN FAUST/Herald photoReturning home to the UW Field House for the first time in almost a month, the UW women’s volleyball team got to cleaning right away, sweeping a pair of Big Ten matches this weekend.The 14th ranked Badgers defeated Michigan St. (30-22, 30-25, 30-26) Friday and No. 24 Michigan (30-24, 30-19, 30-16) Saturday to remain undefeated in Big Ten play and improve their record to 13-2.”I think there always is that pick up in intensity when the Big Ten comes around,” senior Amy Bladow said following Friday’s game. “I definitely think that in the locker room we know that every game is important, every night, and every team that comes here to play us or where we go wants to take a win off of us.”Saturday night, in front of a season-high 4,679 fans, UW rolled to a 3-0 victory behind standout performances by Carlini and freshman Brittney Dolgner. Dolgner continued her improved play of late and led the Badgers in scoring, registering a team-high 13 points on 11 kills and four blocks. “Since I am one of the shorter girls, I need to go around the blocker and … I am getting used to getting around the blocker better,” Dolgner said of leading the team in kills each of the last two Saturdays. In game one, UW jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead thanks to the strong serving of Carlini, who registered two service aces during a five-point run. The Badgers would never relinquish the lead en route to a 30-24 victory.More than just control of the game, UW held control of the match across all three games, a fact head coach Pete Waite believes can be attributed to the maturity and confidence of a roster laden with upperclassmen. “Part of [playing with swagger] is being home and it makes them feeling extra good, but they have been doing it on the road as well,” Waite said. “I think that comes with the maturity on the team and the fact there are a lot less weaknesses in the group.” Game two saw Michigan change their defense up, substituting Megan Bower in as libero in place of Kerry Hance. “I don’t think so,” Waite opined as to whether the change in libero was the factor in the early tightness of the second game. “That’s a good team … even coming into this match [U of M] changed some positioning as far as outside hitters, but we try and not let that affect us.” UW seized control of the see-saw second game during a stretch keyed by junior Taylor Reineke. Starting with a kill to make the score 14-12 in favor of UW, Reineke then teamed with Dolgner on a block. Two points later, Reineke took her turn serving and won four straight points — including an ace immediately following a U of M timeout. Game three was UW’s most complete of the weekend, as they dominated the entire game. The Badgers led 7-1 before U of M head coach Mark Rosen burned the team’s first timeout. The timeout did little to faze the Badger’s attack, as UW stretched the lead to 10-2 before U of M regained their footing, albeit only briefly. U of M won the next two points, but Erin Penn’s kill to bring Big Blue to within six at 10-4 would be the last point the Wolverines would score before the game was well out of reach. UW won 11 of the next 12 points, including the next eight, to build an insurmountable lead. The UW run was again uninterrupted by a U of M timeout. “The team is just really locked into each other right now,” Waite said of the sustained runs. “I think they are really playing as a unit, and when you do that, it is really hard for opponents to score.” In their first Big Ten home match of the year on Friday, UW swept MSU in three close games. UW was led by Amy Bladow’s 11 kill, 14 point effort. Dolgner pitched in 13 points, and Carlini added 12.5 to pace the Badger offense. The victory moved the Badgers to 3-0 in the Big Ten and extended two winning streaks: seven matches in the Big Ten dating back to last season and five matches overall.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *