ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The University of Wisconsin volleyball team got knocked down a couple times here Friday night, but the No. 7 Badgers bounced back each time to pull out a five-set victory over No. 12 Michigan.
Sophomore middle blocker Dana Rettke had 21 kills and nine blocks, with five of those kills coming in the fifth set, to help the Badgers to an 18-25, 25-16, 25-22, 21-25, 15-11 victory.
“That was a huge win for us,” said coach Kelly Sheffield, who was especially pleased with the way his team responded to a couple big Michigan runs.
The Badgers (15-4, 8-3 Big Ten) were up 17-15 in the first set only to see the Wolverines (18-4, 7-4) pull away with a 10-1 run to win.
UW took command in the second set with a 10-1 run of its own to open up a 20-10 lead. In the third set, it was the Badgers who had the strong finishing run, going 7-1 down the stretch to overcome a 21-18 deficit.
The Badgers were in position to put the Wolverines away in the fourth set, leading 21-17, only to see Michigan finish on an 8-0 run to force a fifth set.
UW jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the fifth and never trailed.
“Both times we responded with some strength,” Sheffield said in his post-match radio show. “This team has just had so much growth with mentality, still staying calm and confident when you get knocked down, coming back and having the confidence and making plays.”
Junior libero Tiffany Clark was the key to the UW defense. She recorded 33 digs, tying the program record in the 25-point rally scoring era set by Annemarie Hickey in 2011.
“Tiffany was fantastic,” Sheffield said. “She’s been great the past few weeks, playing at a really high level. There were a lot of bombs going right at her.
“Her effort is always there but I think she’s calmer at the point of impact from a passing perspective and from a defensive perspective. It’s allowing her to play with a lot more range, rather than guessing and leaning one way and only making plays one way.”
Senior Carly Skjodt led Michigan with 27 kills.
Wisconsin; 18; 25; 25; 21;15
Michigan; 25; 16; 22; 25; 11
WISCONSIN (kills-digs-blocks) — Hilley 1-10-3, Williams 11-1-2, Rettke 21-1-9, Duello 10-6-4, Dodge 0-8-0, Haggerty 7-6-3, Dodd 0-0-0, Clark 0-33-0, Loberg 11-11-1. Totals 61-76-13.
MICHIGAN (kills-digs-blocks) — Skjodt 27-16-1, Jones 18-5-2, Shannon 8-0-7, Glavinic 4-1-2, Brooks 3-0-1, Welsh 2-15-4, Bair 0-0-3, Hamacher 0-0-0, Smith 0-14-0, Lerg 0-16-0, Abbott 0-3-0. Totals 62-70-12.
Hitting percentage — W .218, M .158. Aces — W 3 (Loberg 2), M 6 (Skjodt 3). Assists — W 56 (Hilley 53), M 59 (Welsh 49). Att. — 2,308.