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Badgers end successful home campaign

first_imgMATTHEW KUTZ/Herald photoAll season long, UW volleyball head coach Pete Waite and his players reiterated that they are a better team at home than on the road.This turned out to pretty accurate; besides the fact that the No.13 Badgers completed their home campaign with an impressive 13-2 mark against an 8-3 record as the visitors, Wisconsin’s best moments of the year continually seemed to take place inside the friendly confines of the UW Field House.That said, here are the top five most memorable home matches of the Wisconsin 2005 season.No. 5: Wisconsin def. No. 11 UCLA 30-26, 30-28, 30-23 — Sept. 18 (InnTowner Invitational Final)We begin with the first upset of the year, a match in which the No. 13-ranked Badgers burst onto the 2005 national scene with a surprisingly easy defeat of the Bruins in the opening home weekend.Middle blockers Sheila Shaw and Taylor Reineke led the offensive attack with 12 kills apiece. Shaw, the InnTowner Invitational MVP, added seven blocks in the match.”I just thought we brought a lot more intensity and fight,” Shaw said. “Everything just flowed this weekend, our passing was great, our setting, our hitters were on. Everything was there.”Setter Jackie Simpson, who joined libero Jocelyn Wack on the All-Tournament team, keyed the offense with 41 assists and also contributed to the Badger block with one solo and seven assists.No. 4: Wisconsin def. No. 18 Ohio State 30-25, 30-18, 30-20 — Oct. 7As good as UW’s hitting and blocking has been all season, it was especially dominant over the Buckeyes as then-eighth-ranked Wisconsin assumed its undisputed spot of second place in the Big Ten standings.The Badgers hit .374, their second-best mark of the conference season, against an OSU offense that produced a .129 night. UW also dominated Ohio State 15-4 on the block.”Our blocking was big and we’ve been working in practice to reach over the net with high hands, because they are a really quick team,” outside hitter Maria Carlini said after her effort which included 12 kills, 10 digs, and four blocks. “I think that we did a really good job of getting up early [in the air] and staying disciplined.”No. 3 (tie): Wisconsin def. Michigan/Michigan State in three games each — Nov. 18-19At this late point in the season, No. 15 UW had been struggling, dropping one match in each of its past four weekends. Second place in the league was on the line and Aubrey Meierotto ensured the Badgers they wouldn’t lose it.The fifth-year senior exploded for 15 kills and a .406 attacking percentage against Michigan, who just one month prior had upended a Meierotto-less Wisconsin team that proceeded to lose a lot of ground in the conference thereafter.The next evening, on Senior Night, Meierotto continued her success with 13 kills and four blocks. Shaw was honored alongside Meierotto before the match, and followed with nine kills for a .444 percentage.No. 2: Wisconsin def. No. 5 Minnesota 19-30, 30-27, 27-30, 30-24, 15-12 — Sept. 23The season-opener proved to be the most thrilling UW victory at home this year. Fresh off a big upset over UCLA, the No. 10-ranked Badgers one-upped themselves by stunning its Border Battle rival in five intense games.Four Badgers had double-digit kills, and four different UW players got double-digit digs. Shaw led the offense with 16 kills, and Wack controlled the defense with 19 digs.The 5,266 Field House fans in attendance were treated to a five-game victory, which sent the Badgers on a 5-0 run to open the Big Ten season.”I think we came out pretty nervous,” Shaw said. “We knew what we were up against. The main thing is that we came back and we fought hard; we’re a very determined team.”No. 1: Wisconsin def. No. 16 California 30-23, 30-22, 30-25 — Dec. 3 (NCAA Second Round)In the most memorable Field House match of 2005, No. 13 Wisconsin saved their best for last in a thorough beating of the Golden Bears, sending the Badgers to College Station, Texas for a Sweet 16 matchup with the sixth-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish.”That’s the way a team is supposed to be playing come tournament time,” Waite said. “I’m extremely pleased with the way we served the ball, [and] our blocking was solid, we passed the ball well; it made for a good game.”Simpson produced her most versatile match of the season, with 10 digs to go with her 37 assists for a double-double. Simpson also gave UW six kills and five blocks.After the win, the entire team went on a victory lap around the court, saying goodbye to their faithful crowd, which supported them all season long.From the fans’ reaction, there is no doubt that they can’t wait to see them again in 2006.last_img

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