Badgers sweep Nebraska for the third time this year, advance to NCAA Championship Semifinal
MADISON, Wis. – By sweeping No. 5 Nebraska for the third time this season, the No. 4 Wisconsin volleyball team advanced to its third NCAA Championship Semifinal in program history. The Badgers (26-6) took down the Huskers 25-18, 25-22, 25-19.
Redshirt junior Molly Haggerty was the lone Badger with double-digit kills (14) and was announced as the 2019 NCAA Madison Regional MVP following the match. Juniors Dana Rettke and Sydney Hilley joined Haggerty on the Madison Regional All-Tournament Team.
As has been the theme of the tournament, Wisconsin won the match by dominating on the service line and up at the net.
The Badgers finished with five service aces – all coming in the first set – headlined by three from Hilley and two from Tiffany Clark, while also edging Nebraska (28-5) in blocks (11-5), led by a match-high eight from Rettke.
It was an all-around defensive match as both teams hit under .200. Wisconsin finished at .192 (38 kills – 14 errors – 125 attempts) while holding Nebraska to .062 (35 – 27 – 130). Lexi Sun and Jazz Sweet pitched in 11 kills apiece for the Huskers as both were named to the all-tournament team.
Straight from the Court
“Obviously super excited about still being able to play. I thoroughly enjoy coaching this group here, and so to be able to have another week is really cool. I’m really happy for these three and the others, everybody associated with our program.
“The Field House was jumping and people were waiting in line five hours before the match to get in here. Yesterday, being packed for a one o’clock game, it stunned me how many kids were there for a one o’clock game. Just so appreciative of the people that have followed our program, and hopefully they will travel to Pittsburgh with us.
“It couldn’t have been a more different match than the first time we played (Nebraska) in Lincoln. There, it was two teams just teeing off on each other offensively, hitting big, huge numbers – this game was just really gritty, in the dirt – which is how Tiffany (Clark) enjoys playing – a lot of defense. To hold that team under .100 is pretty cool. I thought that was a really, really gritty performance by us.” – Head Coach Kelly Sheffield
“For me, it was really special. It was my last game in the Field House. Just to appreciate the feel from the fans at the end, it’s really hard to explain the feeling. It’s surreal. I feel like I’m on a cloud right now. It’s a good feeling.” – Tiffany Clark
“I think every little girl, when they start playing volleyball, they always dream of moments like these and I know our whole team has. So to experience it is just amazing. Like Clark said, it’s hard to put into words, but really, really happy and proud of this team.” – Molly Haggerty
Notes to Know
- The Badgers advance to the third national championship semifinal in program history and their first since 2013. Wisconsin also advanced to the national semifinals in 2000, advancing to the national championship match both seasons.
- Three UW athletes were named to the Madison Regional All-Tournament team behind tournament MVP Molly Haggerty. Sydney Hilley and Dana Rettke were also named to the honor team.
- Wisconsin held Nebraska to a season-low .062 hitting percentage (35K-27E-130TA). The Badgers have held 22 opponents under .200 in hitting this season.
- UW has now won five straight matches over the Huskers, dating back to 2017, including four straight in Madison. Wisconsin won all three matches against Nebraska by 3-0 scores this season.
- The Badgers sold out all 17 home matches this season, drawing a school record 119,884 total fans and a school record average of 7,052.
The Badgers advance to the NCAA Championship Semifinal in Pittsburgh, and will face No. 1 Baylor on Thursday. Wisconsin will look to avenge a four-set loss to the Bears on Sept. 6. Time and broadcast information will be announced later this week.