The end of the storybook is not happening for Wisconsin volleyball | Middle School

University of Wisconsin volleyball players will return one day on Friday night as one of the highlights of their college careers. They felt some of it to some degree in real time.

But what almost became a perfect evening with an NCAA regular season record crowd of 16,833 at the Kohl Center roaring and urging them, ended in a disappointing five-set loss to No. 16 Florida 21-25, 18-25, 28-26, 25-13, 13-15.

Although they didn’t quite pull off the perfect ending, the loss only partially dampened an otherwise electric night for the No. 4 Badgers.

“What a special environment it was,” UW coach Kelly Sheffield said. “At some point it will be a night our players will never forget. To be able to play and for people to stay up all the time and really lift us up when we need it is what we expect from Badger fans. It was just a really special and very appreciable environment.

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“There were so many people who went out of their way to make this night happen and were given a battle. It was two teams that just fought and left her there. This game will make us better. There is a lot to learn.

The crowd had to make their own excitement for much of the first 2½ sets as the Badgers (5-2) struggled in almost every phase of the game. The Badgers were out of the system for much of the first two sets, resulting in 17 hitting errors and a .059 hitting percentage.

“I think the timing was probably a little big for most of us early on and we were on the mat a few times,” Sheffield said.

Center tackle Danielle Hart said she doesn’t think the team is rushing to rise to the occasion, even though it might seem that way from the outside.

“For me, it felt like we got caught up in our past mistakes and didn’t move on to the next point very well,” Hart said. mistakes and trying to salvage some good stuff out there and fight against that. I think we finally found that for a little while, but it took us way too long.

The third set didn’t offer much early hope as the Gators (8-2) led an 8-0 run to open a 10-5 lead and led by as much as six points on three occasions. But the Badgers started to nibble. Down 19-13, they led a 6-1 streak fueled by two of their season-high 20 blocks, the second-highest total in program history in the rally scoring era. of 25 points.

A service error and a typing error gave Florida two points and a 22-19 lead, but the Badgers responded with a 5-0 run behind Jade Demps’ serve to reach the set point on a Anna Smrek’s kill at 24-22.

The Gators responded with three runs and got match point on an ace from Merritt Beason, who finished with a game-high 21 eliminations.

The Badgers fought that match point and another to 26-25, both times on kills from Smrek. A solo block from Julia Orzol and an ace from Izzy Ashburn sent the match to a fourth set and the crowd in a frenzy.

Hart, who finished the night with 10 kills and eight blocks, credited fans with helping lift the team during that streak.

“A lot of us on the bench were out there saying we could literally feel the conviction from the student section in particular and the fans in the crowd and we really appreciated that,” Hart said. “It felt like a Final Four with a sea of ​​red everywhere and so much more energy than what you get in the Final Four because they’re all Badger fans.”

The Badgers rode that emotional high for a dominating 25-13 win in the fourth set. The Gators became the error-prone team, committing 25 typing errors and hitting -0.025 in the third and fourth sets combined.

“I don’t think it’s anything magical,” Sheffield said. “You get to the point where you have your back against the wall and you have a choice. How are you going to respond? I think we got rid of the hesitation. There were a lot of hesitation points that were there. Generally, when there are points of hesitation, it is because you are thinking too much.

“These guys wanted to play better than them. But a lot of us haven’t played together a lot, so is this your ball, is this my ball? I saw us get rid of it. We started passing the ball much better and being able to manage our attack. Very few times our setters were able to get their hands on the ball in the first two sets.

The targeted Gators Libero rookie Gulce Guctekin all night, sending 58 of their 87 serves in his direction, resulting in four receiving errors.

“The thing is, they weren’t moving the ball,” Sheffield said. “They were calling their shot – this is where we’re going to go and we’re going to do it again and again and again – and we weren’t able to make an adjustment from a passing point of view. It’s something we’re pretty good at. It tells me that we didn’t recognize each other, we didn’t work together for the first hour of the game.

“So what happened? I don’t know. We started passing, we started directing our attack, we started killing, we felt good, we started taking power. momentum. We’re back and they started to feel the pressure because the crowd is into it. They started missing serves, we enjoyed the freebies. We ended up in the fifth.”

The Badgers looked set to end things in storybook fashion as they took an 8-5 lead in the fifth set, helped by three Florida service errors. But then their own errors became too much as they made five hitting errors and two service errors from that point on to give the Gators seven of their last 10 points.

“We had a lead in the fifth set, but you can’t have six hitting errors and two service errors, eight errors in the fifth set and expect to win,” Sheffield said. “But somehow we were two points away from doing it. That’s one of the things about playing matches in that kind of environment and against that kind of team, there’s a lot to take away from that. This part excites me.

Florida 25 25 26 13 15
Wisconsin 21 18 28 25 13

FLORIDA (kill-dig-block) – Fitzpatrick 1-0-0, B. Hendrickson 0-0-0, C. Hendrickson 0-1-1, Hoyle 0-1-0, Victoria 6-6-2, Stucky 5-4-5, Okammor 0- 0-1, Canaan 0-5-0, Adams 0-10-0, Kelley 6-0-7, Essix 10-0-4, Markova 8-3-5, Beason 21-8-2, McKissock 0-18 -0. Totals 57-56-16.

WISCONSIN (kill-dig-block) — Gregorski 0-2-0, Hammill 0-4-0, Crawford 5-6-10, Robinson 7-1-6, Ashburn 0-9-0, Franklin 10-3-2, Smrek 6-3-7, Demps 4-1-1, Hart 10-2-8, Guctekin 0-12-0, Orzol 8-9-4. Totals 50-52-20.

Hit Percentage – F .115, W .115. As – F 5 (Beason 3), W 3 (Hammill, Ashburn, Demps). Assists – F 52 (Stucky 45), W 45 (Ashburn 21). Att. – 16,833.

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