Badgers lose grip on first place

Wisconsin's women's volleyball team clung to first place only momentarily, slipping with a loss to Michigan State Saturday night

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A minor controversy in game five was one of the many issues plaguing the Wisconsin volleyball team as it lost to Michigan State 30-26, 21-30, 22-30, 30-25 and 15-8 Saturday. A win would have placed the Badgers in a two-way tie with Penn State at the top of the Big Ten.


Wisconsin's loss, combined with Minnesota's loss to Northwestern Saturday, yields sole possession of first place to the Nittany Lions.


 In game five, Wisconsin (10-4 Big Ten, 18-7 overall) was down 7-4 when MSU junior outside hitter Kim Schram tossed the ball to serve before the referee blew the whistle, catching the ball after the whistle and then serving. According to collegiate rules, no player is allowed a reserve. Wisconsin committed a hitting error, giving Michigan State an 8-4 advantage and the gateway to the win.  


Michigan State (9-5 Big Ten, 17-7 overall) outplayed Wisconsin in every aspect except service aces, as the Badgers had six to MSU's four. Two of those aces came from freshman middle blocker Amy Bladow, who also had 10 kills.


On offense, Wisconsin had a hitting average of .206 for the match, compared with MSU's .239. Sophomore outside hitter Aubrey Meierotto had 17 kills and junior outside hitter Jill Odenthal and senior outside hitter Lisa Zukowski, who played libero in the first game, each had 15. For the Spartans, Schram junior outside hitter Sara Villwock put down 22 and 19 kills, respectively. 


In digs, Michigan State held a 69-61 advantage and had 13.5 blocks compared with Wisconsin's six. Junior outside hitter Marian Weidner had a team-high 14 digs, with Zukowski adding 13 and senior defensive specialist/libero Jill Maier contributing 12.


MSU senior setter Nikki Colson set a school record in career assists with 4,214, including the 65 she picked up against Wisconsin.

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