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Grit and grind: Wisconsin tops Florida State in back-and-forth battle

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The ninth-ranked Wisconsin volleyball team won a hard-fought defensive battle against Florida State Saturday evening to finish 2-0 at the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Badgers prevailed 23-25, 26-24, 25-23, 25-22 on the Target Center court.
 
The Badgers trailed 1-0 in the match and 19-15 in the second set when libero Tiffany Clark ran down a ball all the way at the end of the Wisconsin bench, giving UW some much-needed momentum. Clark’s impressive save sparked a 6-2 Badger run that tied the set at 21. The two teams battled until back-to-back kills by Madison Duello and Tionna Williams gave Wisconsin the win in extra points. UW carried its momentum into the rest of the match to remain undefeated.
 
Duello powered the Wisconsin offense with a career-high 15 kills while hitting a match-high .379 (15 kills – 4 errors – 29 attempts). As a team, UW hit .169 (56-27-172) and held FSU (0-2) to a .148 (51-28-155) hitting percentage.
 
Three Badgers recorded double-doubles during the match. Sophomore setter Sydney Hilley earned her second-straight double-double with 45 assists and 14 digs, sophomore Grace Loberg tallied her first career double-double with 13 kills and 15 digs, and redshirt sophomore Molly Haggerty notched 10 kills and 10 digs for her first double-double since the 2016 season.
 
Clark saved 14 balls and defensive specialist M.E. Dodge had 12 digs to bring UW’s total to 68 digs. Florida State recorded 82 digs of their own behind a match-high 20 from Payton Caffrey. Caffrey also led the Seminoles with 19 kills.
 
At the net, Dana Rettke and Duello had six and five blocks, respectively, as the Badgers and Seminoles tied with 11 team blocks apiece.
 
Despite struggling behind the service line early on in the match, the Badgers tallied eight aces to FSU’s four. Hilley led all players with four aces.
 

 

Notes to know

  • Sophomore Sydney Hilley recorded her second straight double-double with 45 assists and 14 digs, which tied her career high. The 6-0 setter has 11 double-doubles in her career.
  • Sophomore Grace Loberg recorded her first career double-double with 13 kills and a career-high 15 digs. The 6-3 outside hitter took a career best 50 attack attempts and added a career-high two service aces.
  • Junior Madison Duello recorded a career-high 15 kills to lead the Badger offense. Her previous best was 13 kills vs. Nebraska on Oct. 11, 2017.
  • The Badgers had three players record double-doubles for the first time since Nov. 17, 2017 at Illinois. In addition to Hilley and Loberg, sophomore Molly Haggerty recorded her 10th career double-double with 10 kills and 10 digs. Haggerty also went over 400 kills for her career.
  • Wisconsin opens the season 2-0 for the third straight year and improves to 9-1 in five years of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
  • Junior Tiffany Clark had 14 digs in the match to go over 600 saves for her career. The 5-11 libero has 603 in her third season.
  • Sophomore Dana Rettke put away eight kills today to go over 400 kills for her career. The 6-8 middle blocker has 404 kills in her second season.

 

Straight from the court

“I thought that pursuit from (Clark) changed the entire momentum for our side. We were kind of back against our heels, and it was such an energy lift from her to go and pursue that ball. That was a big play and it can turn at any time.”
 
-Head coach Kelly Sheffield
 
“In the first set, I don’t think we were flustered, but we were playing their game. Then in the second and third set, I think we found our game. Props to them, I think they played amazing. We just had to fight through and I think it’s good that we got this kind of feeling early on in the season.”
 
-Right side Madison Duello
 

Up next

The Badgers open their home season and the UW Field House upper deck next weekend at the HotelRED Invitational. UW faces No. 3 Texas on Saturday night at 7 p.m. The match airs live on the Big Ten Network.
 



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