Volleyball: Badgers head east to take on Scarlet Knights

first_imgA week after sweeping a pair of traditional Big Ten foes, the Wisconsin volleyball team will head east to face the two newest members of the conference.The No. 16 Badgers (10-4, 2-2) enter Friday’s match against Rutgers (3-13, 0-4) riding a two-game winning streak after starting league play 0-2, and play the first of five road games over the next two weeks against a feisty Scarlet Knights squad.Head coach Kelly Sheffield was pleased with the team’s performance last week.“Coming out of the weekend, I felt like [those were] probably our two best matches as far as our serve receive goes,” Sheffield said. “I think certainly [we’re] happy to see that our passing game continues to make strides.”That passing attack, led by junior setter Lauren Carlini, has excelled in recent weeks due to the surge in performance of outside hitters Kelli Bates and Lauryn Gillis.The two attackers have been playing well the past few matches, both averaging over three kills per set.But it’s been the emergence of redshirt junior Romana Kriskova to the Badgers frontline that has really pushed the Badgers’ attack to full speed.Kriskova had a game-high 15 kills against Illinois last Wednesday and built on that impressive performance against Northwestern with a team-high .350 hitting percentage in addition to her team-best six blocks.Sheffield said Monday that despite Kriskova’s improved performance, she can get even better.“The good thing is she’s put together a few good matches, but there’s a lot more in her game,” Sheffield said. “She’s getting better, but she’s got a way to go from where I think she’s going to end up being for us.”The Badgers will need her presence Friday as they play a Rutgers team desperate to get in the win column.Despite their slow start to conference play, the Scarlet Knights showed improvement in a tough loss at Indiana last week. The Badgers should be particularly weary of senior middle blocker Eden Frazier who is coming off one of her top performances of the season with 11 kills on 22 attempts against the Hoosiers.Sheffield knows with a tough road trip ahead of them, they need to dig down and play some of their best volleyball.“The great ones have something a little bit psychotic that just clicks that says, alright, bring it, and they get excited about that,” Sheffield said. “I see a little bit of that spark coming out from some of our players, and so there’s no better way to fine-tune that than spending a lot of time on the road.”last_img read more