Wisconsin volleyball knocks off Purdue

Badgers come out strong to defeat Boilermakers 3-1

After an at-times shaky performance in a five-game win over Indiana, the Wisconsin volleyball team responded by taking care of Purdue in impressive fashion Saturday evening. Led by middle blocker Sheila Shaw's 17 kills and .571 hitting percentage, the Badgers (11-5 overall, 5-3 Big Ten) defeated the Boilermakers (10-8, 3-5) in four games, 30-24, 28-30, 25-30, 30-18.

"I'm really happy with the win," Wisconsin head coach Pete Waite said. "It's a great day for Badger athletics—a lot of good wins for a lot of sports. Purdue was a team we saw early in the year at our tournament and I thought they were playing some great ball and were real hungry."

UW stormed out of the gates to hit .333 as a team in game one, with Shaw and middle blocker Maria Carlini recording six and five kills, respectively. Shaw also added four blocks.

The second game went down to the wire before outside hitter Aubrey Meierotto led the Badgers to victory. With the score knotted at 28-28, Meierotto hammered a kill and then blocked PU's Melanie Ukovich solo to give UW the win. In the match, Wisconsin out-blocked Purdue 17.5 to 7.0.

"Our block has really come around and it's really causing some problems for opponents," Waite said.

The Boilermakers bounced back to take game three 30-25 by out-hitting the Badgers .349 to .174. Purdue was spurred by the insertion of outside hitter Kim Cappa into the lineup, who had six kills, as did middle hitter Kim McConaha.

Wisconsin dominated thee fourth game. Seven Badger blocks helped hold the Boilermakers to a -.067 hitting percentage. Sophomore Amy Bladow gave UW a boost off the bench by recording six block assists and bringing energy to the lineup, as the Badgers cruised to a 30-18 win and took the match three games to one.

In addition to another standout offensive night from Shaw, who had a combined 39 kills over the weekend, Wisconsin also got 11 kills from Meierotto and nine from Jill Odenthal Saturday. Freshman Jackie Simpson got the start at setter and put up 50 assists while running the UW offense. The match was Simpson's first start in three weeks.

"It doesn't matter if you're starting or coming in later or coming in for the last point," Simpson said. "You always have that same mindset and have to stay focused."

With the pair of weekend wins, the Badgers climbed from sixth in the Big Ten into a three-way tie for fourth place in the conference.

"This weekend was big for us to come out with two wins," Meierotto said. "That's what we wanted to do, that's what we were talking about doing."

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