COLUMBUS, Ohio — The University of Wisconsin volleyball team’s quest for Big Ten perfection ended with a thud here Friday night.
The No. 4 Badgers saw their 12-match winning streak snapped by Ohio State 27-29, 20-25, 25-20, 24-26 at the new Covelli Center.
The Badgers (16-5, 12-1 Big Ten), who have built much of their success on the strength of their serve-pass game, were outplayed in that aspect by the Buckeyes (13-12, 6-7). The Badgers surrendered a season-high 10 aces, equaling the total they allowed in the previous five matches combined. Junior Dana Rettke accounted for UW’s only three aces. UW also committed nine service errors, to just five by Ohio State.
“We weren’t on the attack from the very beginning at the service line,” coach Kelly Sheffield said. “They were. Other than Dana there wasn’t anybody going back there really putting pressure on them. Vice versa, they were going back against us in all six rotations really putting pressure, our passers were feeling a lot of pressure.
“It’s the first time in a long time that we got dominated in the serve-pass game and we totally got dominated in that area. That’s one of our strengths and we totally got it handed to us in that department.”
The Badgers also had their lowest hitting percentage of the conference season (.202), with 27 hitting errors, matching their total for the previous three matches.
Outside hitters Molly Haggerty and Grace Loberg each had 13 kills to lead a balanced attack, with Rettke and right side Madison Duello adding 12 each.
Gabby Gonzales had 14 kills and Elle Sandbothe 12 for the Buckeyes, who matched their season high with 11 team blocks. Ohio State came into the match 12th in the Big Ten in blocks, while UW was the least-blocked team in the conference.
“We got blocked quite a bit,” Sheffield said. “Probably a lot of that had to do with us not passing very well. The 27 attack errors is quite a bit. It was an uncharacteristic match for our team.”
The Badgers led by as many as five points in the first set and had three set points before being outscored 8-3 down the stretch.
They also faltered late in the second set, with OSU finishing on a 5-1 run. Loberg had six kills to spark the third set win.
The Buckeyes opened up a 16-10 lead in the fourth set before the Badgers rallied to tie the set at 24. But Ohio State closed out the match with a kill and an attack error by UW.