Nebraska tops Wisconsin in five-set thriller between undefeated teams

These two teams have consistently ranked at the top of the ACVA rankings for five consecutive weeks. They are also the only undefeated teams this season, with the exception of unranked Citadel. With perfect 18-0 records, these Big Ten rivals have dominated the competition, defeating 12 ranked programs. This upcoming match is undeniably the most significant of the season so far, as it will likely determine the frontrunner for the title. This is especially timely with the second DI committee Top-10 rankings set to be released next weekend. Here’s a breakdown of how these powerhouse teams compare:


Both teams rank in the top-10 nationally for hitting percentage, with Wisconsin hitting .315 and Nebraska at .297. Wisconsin’s Sarah Franklin, the reigning Big Ten Player of the Week, led her team to victory over Rutgers and Maryland with 34 kills. She leads Wisconsin with 231 kills this season (3.85 K/S). Freshman Bergen Reilly controls Nebraska’s offense, averaging 10.48 assists per set and earning two consecutive Big Ten Setter of the Week honors. Her main targets are Florida transfer Merritt Beason and first-year player Harper Murray, who have combined for nearly 450 kills.


This match will showcase strong blocking abilities on both sides. Wisconsin’s Carter Booth and Caroline Crawford will go head-to-head with Nebraska’s Andi Jackson and Bekka Allick. Booth, a transfer from Minnesota, leads the conference in blocks per set and ranks in the top 10 nationwide with an average of 1.45 blocks. Together with Crawford, they have recorded 164 blocks this season. Booth has also showcased her versatility with 107 kills and an impressive .454 hitting percentage. At Nebraska, freshman Andi Jackson has had a breakout season, ranking third in the Big Ten with a .415 hitting percentage and 68 blocks. Allick has also been a force at the net, tallying 72 total blocks. In terms of defense, Nebraska’s libero Lexi Rodriguez has been exceptional, earning her second Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors by averaging 4.86 digs per set in recent matches against Penn State and Michigan State.

In summary…

The only clear advantage that Wisconsin has over Nebraska is in their serving game, which could prove crucial in this closely contested match. So far, the Badgers have aced their opponents 115 times, more than double the Huskers’ 48 service aces. Another noteworthy difference between these teams is their makeup. Nebraska’s starting rotation consists of four freshmen, while Wisconsin’s is composed of four transfers.

This will be the 16th meeting between these teams while both ranked, out of a total of 30 matches. It is the third time they have met while both in the top-5 of the AVCA rankings. The first time they met, they were ranked No. 1 and No. 2. One team will leave the Devaney Sports Center with a blemish on their record, while the other will secure the No. 1 ranking until either losing a match or facing off against each other again in November. As two of the most passionate fanbases in college volleyball, get ready for an exhilarating showdown.


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