BSR: Volleyball in Elite Eight

Badgers top Notre Dame in five sets; Thomas second-team All-American; women's hockey ties No. 1 Duluth

Badgers upset Notre Dame

The Wisconsin volleyball team upset sixth-seeded Notre Dame Friday night in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament to advance to the Elite Eight for the second straight year.

The 11th-seeded Badgers defeated Notre Dame 3-2 in NCAA Regional play in College Station, Texas, and will take on third-seed Washington on Saturday. The Badgers took the first and third games, 30-25 each, and won the decisive fifth game 15-9. The Irish won game two 30-28 and game four 30-25.

Last year, Wisconsin (26-6) upset No. 2 Hawaii, 3-2, in a regional semifinal, but lost to eventual national champion Stanford in the Elite Eight.

Notre Dame (30-4) rallied from a 21-17 deficit in game four to force the match into a fifth game.

"It was a battle out there tonight," UW coach Pete Waite said. "Both teams came in with a great effort, they knew they had to have the victory. When we went out, we were feeling good and then they came back. They have some great athletes on that team and I thought they were hitting a lot (of) great balls also."

Wisconsin took a 7-3 lead early in the fifth game and never relinquished it, working up to a 12-6 lead. After Notre Dame recorded a kill to stop the Badgers' first match point, the Irish made one of their eight serving errors, giving Wisconsin the key to the Elite Eight.

UW junior middle blocker Maria Carlini led both teams with a match-high 22 kills and redshirt freshman Audra Jeffers contributed 16 kills. Sophomore middle blocker Taylor Reineke (15), senior middle blocker Sheila Shaw (12) and senior outside hitter Aubrey Meierotto (11) also scored in double-figure kills.

Notre Dame freshman outside hitter Mallorie Croal and senior outside hitter Lauren Kelbley led the Irish with 18 kills each.

UW sophomore setter Jackie Simpson earned a season-high 67 assists in the win.

"Overall, I thought Jackie did a good job tonight setting," Waite said. "She had a great match so we had great balance on the attack."

Wisconsin topped ND in kills (79-77), blocks (18.5-12) and digs (106-99). Reineke recorded a match-high nine blocks.

Sophomore libero Jocelyn Wack racked up a career-high 36 digs and now moves into a tie for first on the NCAA record list with a streak of 63 consecutive matches with double-figure digs. Sophomore defensive specialist Megan Mills earned a career-high 18, while Carlini added 15, Simpson had 12 and junior defensive specialist Amanda Berkley had 11. Notre Dame senior libero Meg Henican led her team with 27 digs.

This was the second consecutive year Wisconsin eliminated Notre Dame from the NCAA Tournament. The Badgers beat the Irish 3-0 in a second-round match in Madison last year.

Thomas on Walter Camp team

Junior left tackle Joe Thomas was named to the Walter Camp All-America second-team, the Walter Camp Football Foundation announced.

Thomas has also been named a consensus first-team All-Big Ten pick, a second-team All-American according to SportsIllustrated.com and academic All-Big Ten.

Women's hockey: Badgers tie Bulldogs

The No. 4 Wisconsin women's hockey team skated to a 2-2 tie with No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth in Duluth Friday night.

Down 1-0 thanks to a UMD power-play goal from junior forward Noemie Marin, Badger junior forward Sara Bauer tied the game late in the second period. Junior defender Bobbi-Jo Slusar scored Wisconsin's other goal on a slap shot early in the third period to give UW a 2-1 lead.

UMD erased that margin with a power-play goal from junior forward Jessica Koizumi with seven minutes remaining.

The Badgers (14-2-1 overall, 11-1-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) out-shot UMD (14-2-1, 12-2-1) 37-23.

UW senior netminder Meghan Horras made 21 saves while UMD junior Riitta Schaublin stopped 35 shots.


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