Perhaps a lineup change was just what the Wisconsin volleyball team needed. Sophomore setter Katie Lorenzen continued to shine as the Badgers (8-4, 2-2) defeated No. 19 Illinois (10-3, 2-2) 3-1, by scores of 30-28, 25-30, 30-24, 30-22 Sunday.
Lorenzen replaced freshman Jackie Simpson in the lineup during Wednesday's 3-0 sweep of Northwestern and responded with 37 assists. She continued to spark the Badger offense Sunday, recording 61 assists in the victory.
"We were just looking for consistency out of both setters the first three to four weeks," head coach Pete Waite said. "Katie was doing well in practice and we were noticing that she was coming on strong. She's worked very hard over the last couple of years for a moment like this: to get on the court and play some ball. It was exciting for her and all her teammates are happy for her to have a great outing."
Making her first start of the season, Lorenzen spread the ball around nicely, as four Badger hitters tallied double-digit kills. Sheila Shaw led Wisconsin with 19 kills, while Jill Odenthal finished with 14. Maria Carlini, who earned the starting nod over senior Marian Weidner at left-side hitter, put down a career-high 13 kills and Aubrey Meierotto recorded 12.
"She did a very good job of getting the ball high enough and giving me a lot of options," Odenthal said. "She just knows the timing very well. She knows when to set me—I had a significant number of one-on-ones. That's huge, she did a very good job there."
As a team, Wisconsin hit at an impressive .316 clip. Shaw finished with a .441 average and fellow middle Taylor Reineke hit an even .400. Odenthal checked in at .370.
"Our hitters' numbers—hitting percentages—are real high and that's a credit to Katie and the balls she was giving them," Waite said. "They've been having trouble getting in a real good rhythm and we got four players over a dozen kills with high hitting percentages."
Lorenzen and UW were consistently able to attack the Illini from all areas of the court, something they had struggled with in the first weekend of Big Ten play.
"I just like to go with my gut instinct on who I think is going to put it down," Lorenzen said. "I think everyone did an awesome job, taking huge swings and fighting for each other."
The match was Lorenzen's first start of the season and first significant playing time in front of the home town fans in the Field House.
"It was pretty exhilarating," Lorenzen said. "I'm still shaking. I think I shook the whole four games. It's been amazing to be in the Field House for as many times as we have. It's so much fun with an awesome team behind me—everyone fighting the whole way. I just had so much fun."
Lorenzen shines in win over Illinois
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