First year Wisconsin volleyball head coach Kelly Sheffield has said all season that if his team could get healthy and gain some confidence there is no telling what they could accomplish.Wisconsin found that out Thursday night in Seattle with a 3-1 win over the top-overall seed and defending national champion Texas in the national semifinals, punching its ticket to the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2000.“You know, we believed that we could win this match,” Sheffield told UW Badgers after the match. “And I think that’s a big part of anytime you go into anything. This has been a team that no matter who we played we believed, the players have believed that there’s a way to win.”Led by freshman setter Lauren Carlini with 50 assists and junior outside hitter Ellen Chapman with 17 kills, the Badgers snapped the Longhorns’ 23-match winning streak taking the match in four sets 25-19, 25-18, 26-28, 25-23. Four Badgers reached at least nine kills on the night.Wisconsin held Texas to a .156 hitting percentage, the team’s lowest offensive performance of the year. Senior libero Annemarie Hickey led all players with a 21-dig effort.Wisconsin’s biggest edge came at the service line where the Badgers picked up seven aces and only three service errors compared to the Longhorns’ two aces and nine errors.“We had to serve with confidence. We had to execute, fearlessness behind the serving line,” Sheffield said. “We believed if we did that…we’d have them out of system a lot. If they’re out of system, I knew we’ve got the best back court in the country and we’d be able to dig some balls.”After cruising through the first two sets hitting a combined .254, the Badgers had to battle from an early 2-5 deficit in set three. There were 13 ties and five lead changes, including ties at 20 and 24. Wisconsin earned a set point at 25-24, but lost three straight points to drop the third set.In the fourth set, Wisconsin found itself down 19-16, but a 5-2 Badger run tied the score at 21-21. With the score tied again 23, junior outside hitter Deme Morales ended the match with two kills, sending Wisconsin to its second ever national championship bout.Wisconsin will take on No. 2 Penn State for the third time this season in an all Big-Ten national championship match – Penn State has swept Wisconsin twice this season.The powerhouse Nittany Lions have reached a record nine national championship matches and have earned five national titles. Four of those crowns came in in consecutive years from 2007 to 2010.
Following a 67–34 tune-up win Wednesday against UW-Whitewater, the University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team takes on North Florida Tuesday night at the Kohl Center. The Badgers are looking to build off a 2018-2019 season in which the team finished with a 15-18 record, an improvement from previous years under Head Coach Jonathan Tsipis.For Wisconsin, it will be a challenge this season replacing senior leader Marsha Howard. Howard, a member of the All-Big Ten second team last year, provided Wisconsin with consistent scoring, averaging 14.7 points per game. One player that will look to shoulder the load is sophomore star, Imani Lewis. As a freshman last year, Lewis shined and finished the season second on the team in scoring, averaging 12.2 points per game. Lewis started on the right foot again last week against Whitewater, tallying 15 points.Women’s basketball: Wisconsin’s heroic tournament run ends in 2OT loss to MichiganThe University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team (15-18, 4-14 Big Ten) battled the fourth-seeded Michigan Wolverines (21-10, 11-7) and suffered Read…Like Wisconsin, North Florida also looks to build off of an average 2018-2019 season. After a slow start, North Florida finished strong, winning four out of their last five regular-season games.The Ospreys then continued to ride their hot momentum into the Atlantic Sun Tournament, defeating North Alabama but losing to Liberty in the Atlantic Sun semifinals. The Ospreys are awaiting the return of junior guard, Tiffany Tolbert, who appeared in three games last season before a detrimental season-ending injury. In those games, Tolbert averaged 18.3 points per game, including a 21-point performance against Indiana. The return of Tolbert will give North Florida an added boost this season.Taylor looks to do damage alongside front-court partner junior transfer Jazz Bond. Bond, the forward out of Murfreesboro, TN, was a double-double machine, averaging 15.9 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game. Look for Tolbert and Bond to execute the pick and roll against the Badgers.Women’s basketball: Badgers explode in second half to slay fifth-ranked Ohio StateJust a week ago, the Ohio State Buckeyes (14-14, 10-8 Big Ten) marched into the Kohl Center and handed the Read…With games against Power Five opponents looming, including matchups against Colorado, Arkansas and Georgia Tech, it is critical that Wisconsin gets on the right track Tuesday night. The Badgers showed a lot of potential in their 67–34 win against UW-Whitewater, and hopefully they can continue to ride the momentum tomorrow night.The Wisconsin-North Florida game will tip at 7 p.m. Tuesday night at the Kohl Center.