UW struggles in road win

first_imgIOWA CITY, Iowa — Winning on the road in the Big Ten is never easy, and the No. 11 Wisconsin volleyball team showed exactly how hard it is to win away from home in their four game struggle against Iowa, winning 30-19, 26-30, 30-24, 30-21. “Iowa is one of those dangerous teams that is at the bottom of the conference but they fight like it is going to be the end of the world,” head coach Pete Waite said. “They have their backs against the wall, and that’s a dangerous team.”While the Badgers beat the Hawkeyes in almost every statistical category, it was evident that they are still not as comfortable playing on the road as they are at home.”It is one of the things we’ve been working on and struggling with this year is playing as well on the road as we do at home,” senior middle blocker and assistant captain Amy Bladow said. “We really talked about that after Minnesota, and it’s one of the things we wanted to work on tonight.”Wisconsin was able to come out in game one and jump right on Iowa, as they never trailed after taking a 3-2 lead. The Badgers were able to hold the Hawkeyes to a .068 hitting percentage in game one while they hit .286 and were led by freshman Brittney Dolgner with a game-high six kills. Game two started similarly with Wisconsin grabbing an early lead but things quickly turned south. With the Badgers trailing 15-10, Waite decided to put his senior captain Katie Lorenzen in — playing for the first time in Big Ten play — looking for a spark to get the team back in the game.”Lorenzen came in and did a nice job of changing the tempo of the game,” Waite said. “Jackie (Simpson) wasn’t doing anything too badly, it was just we needed a change out there and she did come in and kick started the team.” With Lorenzen running the offense, the Badgers were able to pull within two at 27-25 after a kill by Audra Jeffers, but Iowa went on a 3-1 run to end the game. Senior floor captain, Maria Carlini — who was scheduled to have the night off — was put in the starting lineup to start game three in an effort to boost the Badger’s offense. Carlini went on to have nine kills through two games. With Badgers down 2-6 to start game four, Waite went back to junior Jackie Simpson to try and spark the offense. The move worked as Wisconsin continued to peck away at the Iowa lead until they took the lead for good at 18-17.”The transition went really smoothly,” Bladow said. “When [Lorenzen] went in she did a really good job. She dug some really good balls, and blocked some really good balls and she obviously set really well. Then when [Simpson] went back in, it was the same thing. “I think it says a lot about both those girls that either of them can play, and it doesn’t affect our team energy. They both bring energy, and they both bring fire. They transition smoothly and will help us out a lot.”Both setters were able to spread the ball around as four Badgers finished with double-digit digs. Dolgner led all players with 25 kills, matching her career-high. Taylor Reineke, Bladow and Jeffers were also in double figures with 11, 11 and 10 kills respectively. “That is always our game plan [to spread the offensive],” Waite said. “If we do that, it’s really tough to stop the offense. The game we struggled in is probably not very balanced. We got [Dolgner] doing in the back row and that helped us.”Iowa was led on the night by sophomore outside-hitter Catherine Smale and junior right-side hitter Stacy Vitali with 15 and 11 kills respectively.While Wisconsin out-blocked Iowa 13-11, the Badgers did not have as good of night up at the net as they would have liked. “Iowa did a really good job of hitting around us,” Bladow said. “They roll shotted to the corners and they tipped a lot of balls and that really just makes our block ineffective.”One bright spot, however, was the blocking of Dolgner, who had five block assists on the night.”[Dolgner] had a couple good blocks tonight,” Waite said. “She is working on it everyday. We are watching tapes with her and we are showing things. It is a difficult thing going up against big hitters going at her, so for her to put up a couple bigger numbers, it helps us.”On the defensive side of the ball, Wisconsin out-dug Iowa 88-74. Junior libero Jocelyn Wack led all players with 25 digs. Junior Megan Mills and Dolgner also had double-digit digs with 15 and 14 respectively. The Hawkeyes were led by sophomore libero Emily Hiza with 21 digs.last_img read more