"I'm really happy with the way we played," UW head coach Pete Waite said. "Michigan is a very good team. We knew they had just taken Minnesota to five games a week ago, so coming off a three-match losing streak, this is very good for our program."
UW took the first game by hitting a blistering .302 and holding the visitors to a .188 percentage. Left-side hitter Maria Carlini slammed five kills in the game, as the Badgers won 30-24.
In game two, Wisconsin trailed as late as 27-26 before rallying. The Badgers twice took a one-point lead, only to see the Wolverines fight back to tie the score. However, with the score tied at 29-29, senior Jill Odenthal put down a kill and Carlini recorded a solo block on Michigan's Lyndsay Miller to give UW a 31-29 win.
The Badgers led start to finish in the third and final game. UW opened up a five-point advantage at 20-15 and coasted to a 30-25 win. Setter Jackie Simpson put away match point with one of her seven kills.
Thanks to 46 assists from Simpson, a trio of Wisconsin hitters tallied 13 kills: Odenthal, Carlini and middle blocker Sheila Shaw.
"I thought Jackie was setting a nice match," Waite said. "The hitters were able to get into rhythm. Our passers did a nice job tonight keeping the ball in play."
For Carlini, the match was extra-special. A native of LaSalle, Ontario, she grew up in an area where Michigan is the Big Ten team of choice.
"I love playing Michigan," said Carlini, who hit .550 in the match. "I love beating Michigan. Back home Michigan is just huge, so any time I have to play them, I get fired up."
Three Badgers finished with double-digit digs, led by libero Jocelyn Wack's 15. Odenthal and Carlini added 13 and 11, respectively, giving both a double-double for the match.
"In the last few matches we were not the ones getting the big points and the big rallies," Waite said. "We talked about that. We worked hard on our defense all week and our movement on defense."
Playing their first home match in over two weeks, the Badgers took the court before a season-best 5,778 fans.
"It's always good to play at home," Odenthal said. "It definitely boosted our confidence and we had a great crowd tonight."
Wisconsin hosts Michigan State Saturday at the UW Field House. The match will mark the final regular-season home appearance for seniors Odenthal and Marian Weidner. First serve is set for 7:30 p.m.