Serving six: Ties face two top-10 teams

Story Links MADISON, Wisconsin — Fifth place Wisconsin (15-3, 9-1 B1G) opens the second half of Big Ten play with two top-10 opponents at the UW Field House. The Badgers will host the recently crowned No. 1 Nebraska (18-1, 10-0) live on the Big Ten Network on Wednesday at 8 p.m. On Saturday, Wisconsin looks set to retaliate for an early season loss to No. 9 Minnesota (12-6, 7-3). The first service of the Border Battle will be live on the Big Ten Network at 5:30 PM.

1. EIGHT WINS IN A ROW: Wisconsin extended its winning streak to eight games with two wins last weekend. The Badgers won at home against Michigan State on Friday before closing a Michigan season sweep with a 3-1 win in Ann Arbor on Sunday. UW has also won nine consecutive Big Ten matches.2. GREAT GG! Freshman Gulce Guctekin had an impressive defensive weekend, with a match-high 22 digs vs. Michigan on Sunday, her third 20-plus dig match this season and only one save on her career high. The 5-foot-5 libero also added 11 digs vs. Michigan State averaged 4.71 digs per set over two games. She also added 1.43 assists and 0.43 service aces per set.3. ATTACK IMPROVED: In all matches, the Badgers lead the conference and are ranked 19th nationally with a 0.270 success rate. In the past two games, UW has reached .300 or better, connecting with .350 percent of its attacks. In Big Ten games, grad Danielle Hart leads the conference with a batting percentage of 0.431. Junior Devyn Robinson is in fourth place at .388. In all matches, Hart is in second place with 0.416, while Robinson is sixth with 0.353. Wisconsin has also increased its kills per set, leading the Big Ten in conference-only matches with 14.29 kills per set. Redshirt sophomore Sarah Franklin leads the team and is sixth in the conference with 3.68 kills per set. Sophomore Julia Orzoł adds 3.23 kills per set. Junior Devyn Robinson chips in 2.77 kills per set, while Danielle Hart contributes 1.83 kills per set.

4. BADGER BLOCK: Wisconsin remains one of the top blocking teams in the country, ranking second at 3.15 blocks per set. The Badgers have had double-digit blocks for the last seven games in a row, averaging 3.48 blocks per set across the piece. Graduation student Danielle Hart is nationally second and second in the Big Ten with 1.59 blocks per set. Junior Caroline Crawford adds 1.47 blocks per set, which ranks 12th nationally and fifth in the conference. Wisconsin and Maryland are the only two Big Ten schools with two middle blockers to rank in the conference’s top five in blocks per set. In addition to Hart and Crawford, the Badgers have two other athletes who average 1.0 or more blocks per set. Junior Devyn Robinson contributes 1.10 blocks per set, while sophomore Anna Smrek adds 1.04 blocks per set.5. STOPPING OPPONENTS: The Badgers ranks seventh in the nation and second in the Big Ten, allowing opponents to hit just 0.151. Five opponents have batted less than .100 this season. Wisconsin held out TCU (.028), High Point (-.074), Campbell (.048), Rhode Island (.066) and Michigan State (.093) to low success rates. Thirteen enemies have hit less than .200 this year, including eight of the ten Big Ten opponents. Seven of the last eight enemies hit 0.184 or less, averaging 0.153 over the entire trajectory. Only Minnesota (.356) and Michigan (.236) have beaten .200 in conference play. Conference foes hit .169 this season, which is third in the Big Ten.

6. WISCONSIN IN THE POLLS: Wisconsin remains fifth in the AVCA Top-25 Coaches’ Poll released Monday. The Big Ten leads the poll with six teams in the top 25. Wisconsin has ranked in the AVCA national poll for 145 consecutive polls, including the last 48 straight polls in the top 10. UW also remains seventh in the NCAA RPI. The Badgers are the third Big Ten team in the RPI, with six conference teams in the top 25.

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