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Volleyball outlasts BYU in thriller at Field House

first_imgJEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald file photoWisconsin’s volleyball team energized the crowd this weekend as they returned home in the InnTowner Invitational.The No.14 Badgers (8-1) defeated Brigham Young University, IUPUI and Central Michigan to win their home tournament.IUPUI and Central Michigan were overwhelmed by UW, but No. 23 BYU nearly upset the Badgers in a thrilling five-set match. After UW won the first set 27-25, BYU won the second and third sets 25-20 and 25-22 with their blocking and defense.“For us, we even offensively changed,” UW head coach Pete Waite said. “We went from a 5-1 to a 6-2, to a 5-1 and 6-2, back and forth just to find our rhythm. We just had a few people that were off, and I couldn’t pinpoint one or two; we were just off and out of sync.”The Cougars frustrated the Badger hitters throughout the entire match, finishing with 73 digs and 16.5 blocks. Leading the defense for BYU was Ashton Hosford, who finished the match with nine blocks.UW seemed out of sorts and was trailing 10-3 in the fourth set when suddenly they found their groove. Behind sophomore libero Kim Kuzma and junior outside hitter Brittney Dolgner, the Badgers stormed back to win the fourth set 25-22 and force a deciding fifth set.“I’m extremely proud of this group,” Waite said. “BYU is a great team; they played very well tonight. We were out of sync, out of sorts at times tonight and giving away a lot of points for that. We’re really happy that the team, after some adjustments, made the comeback in the fifth (set) and really played their best ball in the last set. If you look at the stat sheet, it doesn’t look like a pretty match, but it was a battle and that’s the thing.”“Kuzma had some great defense tonight,” Waite said. “25 digs, that is fantastic. She kept us in the match at times with some monster digs.”UW dominated the fifth set from the beginning. The Badgers were up 9-3 at one point and won the set 15-10. Sophomore setter Nikki Klingsporn paced the Badgers by serving for five straight points, including three service aces.“I was just trying not to be tentative,” Klingsporn said. “We kept saying in the huddles to keep being aggressive, so every time I stepped back there I was trying for the ace.”“Nikki did a great job with her serves; she got some points with that and that was fantastic,” Waite added. “I’m just really proud of all of them. We were here trying to find ourselves as a team, and we dug down deep and showed a lot of character tonight.”The Badgers defeated IUPUI in the morning Saturday, winning 25-15, 25-8 and 25-8.“It was a great match to loosen up with,” Waite said. “I know IUPUI is just a little overmatched size-wise in this one, and they’re normally a great ball-handling team, but I think just the difference in our size of the block at the net and the attack made it tough. I’m sure they’ll do well in their conference and this season.”Friday, the Badgers opened the home stand by defeating Central Michigan 25-14, 25-16 and 25-19.It was a milestone victory, giving Waite 500 career wins.“The 500th victory to me means that now we go for 501,” Waite said. “We need to keep plugging away every time we step onto the court. I’ve been doing it for a while, and I’m having fun continuing to improve upon our wins and losses.”His team was more excited about the milestone than he was.“It is great, and I am so proud to be out there as a Badger,” senior Audra Jeffers said. “It is really fun to be a part of that, and I am so excited for Coach Waite.”last_img

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