Wisconsin won its first conference match Wednesday night in Evanston, Ill., with a 30-28, 30-20, 30-16 sweep of Northwestern.
Sophomore setter Katie Lorenzen had a career night, posting a career-high 37 assists with a career-best seven digs. The 6-foot setter also tied her career best with two blocks and contributed four kills and an .800 hitting percentage.
"Katie came in and did a nice job setting for us," Wisconsin head coach Pete Waite said. "That's the most court time she's gotten, and she handled it very well. She's been training hard for the last couple years to be ready for a moment like that."
Three Badgers recorded double-digit kills on the night, led by junior Sheila Shaw with a match-high 12.
Senior Aubrey Meierotto posted 11 kills and freshman Taylor Reineke tied her career high with 10 kills. Sophomore Maria Carlini also made a significant contribution, coming off the bench to put down six kills from the left side, tying her career best and leading Wisconsin's hitters with a .500 hitting percentage.
As a team, the Badgers hit .319, including a .421 clip in game three. Wisconsin (7-4 overall, 1-2 Big Ten) held the Wildcats (5-8, 0-3) to just a .075 mark.
"Katie was giving the hitters the ball in similar places," Waite said. "And they could just really anticipate the set and come flying at the ball with confidence. Hitters with confidence are great things, and that's how it came out."
Wisconsin also had a strong showing at the serving line, recording four aces including three from senior Jill Odenthal.
Freshman Jocelyn Wack led the Badgers in digs for the eighth consecutive match. Her 19 Wednesday helped Wisconsin out-dig Northwestern 49-41.
"Jocelyn did a great job for us in the back row," Waite said. "We made a position change where we've got her playing middle back instead of left back. It's a position that's more comfortable for her. It's all she played in high school and I think it's a good move for her and for the team."
Lorenzen came off the bench in game one with the Badgers down 15-10 and turned the game around. Wisconsin took a 19-18 lead off two Reineke kills.
"I think [Lorenzen] came in and she settled everybody down, and they got into a better groove," Waite said.
The game was tied six more times, including at 27-27, with neither team taking control until Shaw and Odenthal ended it with consecutive kills.
Wisconsin dominated in game two, hitting an impressive .419. The Badgers jumped out to a 4-0 lead, and at one point held a 13-point advantage over the Wildcats (26-13). Northwestern pulled within seven (27-20), but kills from Carlini and Meierotto put Wisconsin up 2-0.
The Badgers continued to control the match in game three, taking an early 8-4 lead. Wisconsin hit over .400 again, converting on 42 percent of their attacks. The Wildcats cut the lead to three (15-12), but Wisconsin dominated down the stretch to complete the sweep.
The Badgers return home Sunday for a Big Ten match against No. 19 Illinois at 1 p.m. at the UW Field House.
Volleyball earns first conference win
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