Saturday was not a great day for Texas Sports against the Big Ten Conference. In addition to the football team’s loss to unranked Maryland, the women’s volleyball team fell to the No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers.
The Badgers set the tone early on with an incredibly aggressive approach, complete with hard slams and corner placement of the ball. Wisconsin sophomore Dana Rettke led the first set with five kills and had a command on her placement of the ball that the Longhorns could not solve. Texas never got the chance to establish a rhythm as the Badgers displayed a relentless defense.
Midway through the set, Texas went on a four-point run to bring the score within three but could not complete the first-set comeback. That three point margin would be the closest the Longhorns would come to winning the set as they eventually fell 25-21, with the final point lost on a serving error.
The second set began much differently for the Longhorns, who jumped out to four-straight points. Thanks to both kills and blocks from ESPNW Player of the Week junior Micaya White, Texas was able to jump out to an early lead.
The Badgers responded well, countering nearly every Texas point with a point of their own. After the Longhorns got to within one late in the set, the Badgers pulled away, winning the second set 25-22.
The third set gave Texas new life as the freshmen played key roles in the set victory. Whether it was impressive defense from libero Sydney Peterson, or relentless attacks by Logan Eggleston and Brionne Butler, the freshmen were the difference for the Longhorns.
“They are so important,” sophomore setter Ashley Shook said. “They’ve all done a phenomenal job of stepping and trusting what the coaches are telling them and trusting what the upperclassmen are telling them. They work on doing what they can for the team.”
The fourth set proved to be the last set, as the Longhorns could not overcome sloppy errors. The team fell behind 17-5 at one point as the energy on the court dwindled significantly. The Badgers would go on to win the set 25-12. A match filled with service errors and off-target hits ended in a 3-1 loss to Wisconsin.
While the loss to the Badgers stings for the No. 2 ranked team in the country, it is important to note that Texas had won its first two games of the season, both against highly ranked opponents in Oregon and Florida. With so many ranked teams on the schedule, the team was bound to be challenged strongly by one of them.
The team has an opportunity for redemption tomorrow afternoon, as the Longhorns will face the High Point Panthers. The Panthers will be the first non-ranked opponents the team has faced this season and should serve as a good palate cleanser heading into the Longhorns’ first home game of the year next week.