The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

PREVIEW: Volleyball heads to Madison to take on in-state rival and defending national champions No. 6 Wisconsin

Photo by Marquette Wire Stock Photo
Hannah Vanden Berg goes for a big in Marquette volleyball’s 0-3 loss to Wisconsin in 2021 at the Al McGuire Center.

After a weekend seeing blue and white, No. 24 Marquette will travel to Madison and be welcomed by a sea of red and white when it takes on No. 6 Wisconsin at UW-Field House.

“We do it every year and we’ve had some really good matches,” Marquette head coach Ryan Theis said. “We look forward to it, it’s just an easy drive down the road and two pretty good volleyball team.”

The Golden Eagles are coming off a 2-0 performance in Kentucky last weekend with wins against then-No. 11 Kentucky and Ohio, which earned them a spot on the AVCA Coaches Poll.

Meanwhile for Wisconsin, the Badgers went 1-1 on opening weekend in the Lone Star State with a clean sweep over TCU before falling to then-No. 16 Baylor in five sets.

Friday’s matchup in the state capitol marks the first home game of the season for the Badgers, where they’ll be holding a pregame ceremony raising their 2021 national championship banner.

Theis said in order to defeat the defending national champions, the Golden Eagles will need to improve on aspects of their game.

“It’s going to take a really good serving game. We did not serve particularly well against Kentucky,” Theis said. “We’ll get some practice in that building and hopefully we (will) feel pretty good about the service game. If we can do that really well and we have less to defend, because they have less offensive options, I think we got a shot.”

A Look at the Badgers

Last year, Wisconsin defeated Marquette in straight sets (25-15, 25-18,25-18) at the Al McGuire Center to take a 21-2 advantage in the all-time series.

The last time Marquette took the trip to Madison in 2019, the Golden Eagles came from behind for the reverse sweep over the Badgers. Wisconsin has two players on its roster who played in that game, senior setter Izzy Ashburn and fifth-year middle blocker Danielle Hart.

Three different Badgers — redshirt sophomore outside hitter Sarah Franklin, junior middle blocker/outside hitter Devyn Robinson and sophomore middle blocker/outside hitter Anna Smrek — earned spots on the Big Ten Preseason All-Conference Team.

Through its first two games, Wisconsin is hitting .275 while holding its opponents to just .145.  Franklin led the Badgers with 34 kills in eight sets while hitting .395.

Senior setter Izzy Ashburn recorded a then career-high 16 assists against TCU before adding 29 against Baylor in the Big 12/Big Ten Challenge. Junior setter MJ Hamill set a career-best two service aces against the Horned Frogs in addition to a career-high 10 digs against the Bears.

Key Players

  • Smrek, who stands at 6-foot-9, has 12 blocks and 12 kills through two games. In last year’s national semifinal against Smrek had a career high 20 kills and hit .704 to help lead the Badgers to the national championship.
  • Franklin currently leads the Badgers in kills with 34, which is 13 more than the next highest on the team. The Michigan State transfer led the Spartans in kills per set with 3.96, which ranked third in the Big Ten. Franklin is averaging 4.25 kills per set and also has 15 digs this season.
  • Junior outside hitter Aubrey Hamilton has gotten out to a strong start in her Marquette career, after transferring in from Notre Dame in the off-season. In the Golden Eagles’ win over Kentucky, Hamilton led the team in kills with 18. During her two seasons at Notre Dame, Hamilton averaged 2.94 kills per set.
  • Senior defensive specialist Carly Skrabak was named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week after recording 46 digs last weekend. Skrabak, who serves as Marquette’s starting libero, led the Golden Eagles in digs during the 2021 season amassing 426.

How to Follow

  • Watch: Big Ten Network
  • Twitter Updates: @JacksonGrossMU and @MUWireSports

This story was written by Ben Schultz. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @benschultz52.

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Marquette Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *