Saturday’s five-set loss to Nebraska was just the first for Wisconsin in 19 matches this season and the second in Big Ten duels considering the last two seasons. The defeat interrupted a series of 27 consecutive wins in Big Ten matches and also stopped the team's best-ever start to a season.
The result pushed Wisconsin to second place in the Big Ten with nine wins and one loss and also made the Cornhuskers take the top spot in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) rankings from the Badgers. For Wisconsin, the best way to put the defeat in the past would be to show their strength with a pair of wins this weekend, starting with the duel against Michigan State on Friday.
“Coming into the Nebraska match, we knew it was going to be one that, winning or losing, there would be a lot to learn from and we did learn,” Wisconsin head coach Kelly Sheffield said. “We knew that whatever happened, we would still need to continue working to get better and that’s what we will do. Michigan State haven’t been in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten for a few years and they are now. Their coaching staff is in its second year and it feels like they’re starting to get their momentum and to build confidence. They’ve done a great job and are having a really good season. You can tell they’re just getting stronger going forward.”
Wisconsin have obtained 57 wins and 28 losses in matches against Michigan State and have prevailed in each of the last eight encounters, having last fallen to the Spartans back in 2017.