NCAA Volleyball Tournament (Dec. 6)
(12) Wisconsin 3, Milwaukee 0 (25-11, 25-14, 25-15)
Deme Morales had 11 kills and the University of Wisconsin made just four hitting errors in the match en route to a 25-11, 25-14, 25-15 win over the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Friday night at the UW Fieldhouse.
The Badgers (24-9) advance to a second round match against California, which swept North Carolina in Friday's first match. The Panthers see their season end at 18-11.
Myanna Ruiz led the Panthers with eight kills and 13 digs. Horizon League Player of the Year Rachel Neuberger finished her career with a seven-kill, no-error performance, while Julie Kolinske and Nicole Latzig added five kills apiece.
But, Wisconsin hit .461 in the match and never slowed down in beating the Panthers for the second time this season.
"We knew if we played our best we had a chance, but today was a really rough day for us," Milwaukee head coach Susie Johnson said. "We had a really hard time getting into system. They were playing very well in system and it seemed like they were able to do whatever they wanted to do at a very high level."
In the first matchup with the Badgers in September, Milwaukee won a set and was highly competitive throughout. Tonight, the Panthers could never get on track.
"Wisconsin played really well today. They were on and they were in system, and when Wisconsin is in system it is very hard for us to play our game," Neuberger said. "They took us out of our game. They set the tone from game one and pretty much controlled how we could play because they were so good today."
The Badgers used strong serving and excellent play at the net to claim the first set. The Panthers had an early 4-3 lead on a Kolinske kill and led 6-5 following a Maggie Dunbar kill, but the Badgers quickly claimed control with a 12-2 burst. The Wisconsin lead hit 19-9 on an ace by Ellen Chapman and UW then closed out the frame with four-straight points.
Wisconsin didn't let the Panthers get any traction in the second set. The Badgers jumped out to an 8-4 lead, though Milwaukee came back to within two points three different times and it was still 12-9 after a Ruiz kill. The Badgers answered that with a 9-3 run to reclaim control and then closed out the frame on a kill by Haleigh Nelson.
UW then closed out the match with a 20-kill effort in the third frame. Wisconsin scored 11 of the first 15 points of the set to claim control and Milwaukee could never settle in. The Panthers were within 18-10 after an ace by Ruiz and it was still 19-11 following a kill from Neuberger, but the Badgers could not be stopped on offense. A kill by Chapman closed out the set and officially sent Wisconsin into the second round.
After winning its ninth Horizon League regular season title in the last 11 years and advancing to the NCAA Tournament for a 10th time, the Panthers will lose Neuberger but return every other key performer next season. Milwaukee is already looking ahead to 2014.
"We still definitely have a lot of work to do in the off-season," junior Taylor Golabowski said. "We have to continue working out and getting stronger mentally. We have big shoes to fill because Rachel, one of the greatest leaders I've ever played with, is leaving us. But we're going to stick together and be a team. We win together and we lose together and we're just going to grow from here on out."