Badger volleyball sweeps Hawkeyes

Wisconsin wins sixth consecutive match

MADISON—With a highly anticipated rematch with No. 2 Minnesota looming, the Wisconsin volleyball team drummed Iowa to the tune of 3-0 Friday night. Led by 13 kills from Marian Weidner, the Badgers (14-5 overall, 8-3 Big Ten) rolled by scores of 30-18, 30-17, 30-20 against the mono-stricken Hawkeyes (9-14, 1-10), who were missing three players due to the illness.

"I was happy with the way we played tonight," UW head coach Pete Waite said. "Iowa's a team that's struggling right now. They've got some illnesses and injuries. We knew it wasn't a team we could overlook and we were really looking to play well on our side of the net. I think we accomplished that tonight."

UW hit .330 as a team in the match and held Iowa to a .027 hitting percentage thanks to 8.5 blocks.

Game one was tied at 12-12 before Wisconsin blew the contest open with a 9-1 run and coasted to a 30-18 win. After grabbing a commanding 19-4 lead in game two, the Badgers went to the bench and allowed powerful-swinging reserve Lindsey Boler to see court time. The sophomore outside hitter recorded a season-high two kills on four attempts. Sophomore Amy Bladow started the game at middle blocker in place of Taylor Reineke. UW hit .382 in the 30-17 win.

"We had an opportunity to get some different people in, which helps our depth going into big matches," Waite said. "We finished it pretty quickly so we were able to be pretty rested."

Waite also was able to get freshman Maya Carroll into the match in the third and final game, the rookie's second appearance of the season. Iowa made a late rally to cut Wisconsin's lead to 21-18, but the Badgers were too much for the struggling Hawkeyes and completed the three-game sweep with a 30-20 win.

"We were in the locker room talking about it in between the second and third games, just saying we wanted to keep ball control and everything up so we could get different people in the game," said outside hitter Aubrey Meierotto, who hit a match-high .579. "I think it was important for us to do that."

UW featured three players in double-figure kills. In addition to Weidner's baker's dozen of slams, the Badgers got 12 kills from Meierotto and 10 from Sheila Shaw. Wisconsin's winning streak now stands at six matches. Iowa loses for the tenth-consecutive time and falls victim to a sweep for the sixth match in a row. The Hawkeyes have not won a game since Oct. 8 and have not won a match since Sept. 25.

The Badgers will look to avenge a 3-0 Oct. 8 loss to the Gophers Saturday night at the Field House. First serve is set for 7 p.m.

"I think we've improved a ton since the last time we played them," Meierotto said. "I think we feel a lot more confident in our play. It's going to be important for us to come out and be aggressive, play confident and good things will happen."

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