Nov. 3, 2007
MADISON, Wis. -- For the fourth time in the last six seasons, Northwestern traveled to Madison and took a ranked Wisconsin squad to five games, but again the Wildcats fell short in a 30-23, 27-30, 35-37, 30-26, 17-15 thriller against the seventh-ranked Badgers.
The loss snaps Northwestern's five-match winning streak, dropping it to 15-10 overall, 6-8 in the Big Ten. Wisconsin's win improves it to 20-3 on the season, 12-2 in the conference.
The loss also put a blemish on NU's previously perfect 4-0 record in five-game matches in 2007. The Wildcats fell in all four of those five-game matches at Wisconsin in the past six years.
Wisconsin staked itself to a tiny lead early in game one, with Northwestern keeping the Badgers to a three- or four-point cushion much of the contest. When UW pushed its advantage out to six, 23-17, NU head coach Keylor Chan used his second timeout of the game.
Northwestern got its deficit down to four, 27-23, on a Lindsay Anderson (Wilmette, Ill./New Trier) kill, but Wisconsin scored the next three points to take game one, 30-23.
The two teams traded runs during game two. A 3-0 spurt early gave NU an 8-6 lead, but UW answered with a 4-0 run of its own. The 'Cats came back with another 4-0 run to take a 12-10 lead, then a few points later launched themselves on a 6-0 stretch to take a seven-point lead, 20-13.
The Badgers battled back to within four, 24-20, and Chan called a timeout. The Wildcats responded by jumping right back out in front by six, 27-21, thanks to a UW service error and an Anderson kill, and Wisconsin called its second timeout of the game. The Wildcats earned four game points after a Courtnie Paulus (Belgium, Wis./Ozaukee) kill made the score 29-25, then Paulus put down another swing three points later to knot the match with a 30-27 game two win for NU.
Northwestern scored five of the first six points of an epic game three, but Wisconsin quickly came back to take an 8-7 lead. NU responded with a Brittani Gray
(Cincinnati, Ohio/Sycamore) kill, a Brittney Aldridge
(Hampshire, Ill./Hampshire) kill and a solo block from Naomi Johnson
(Bloomington, Minn./Kennedy) to retake the advantage, 10-8.
The Wildcats kept their lead at various levels and through several excitingly extended rallies, then a block by Chelsy Hyser (Belvidere, Ill./Belvidere) and Anderson gave the 'Cats a 22-18 lead to force a Badger timeout. Wisconsin came roaring back out of the break, knotting the score at 23 and causing Chan to use a timeout of his own.
The teams battled back and forth through a tense next couple of points, with a tough touch call on the 'Cats giving the Badgers a 26-25 lead. NU responded to its first deficit since the early part of game three with a 3-0 spurt helped by kills from Elyse Glab (Chicago, Ill./Resurrection) and Paulus to earn a two-point cushion, 28-26.
The Badgers blasted back to earn a game point, 29-28, but Aldridge slammed home a kill to knot the score at 29. Twice more UW earned game points, and twice more NU knotted the score until the Wildcats picked up a game point of their own, 32-31, on a Hyser and Glab block. Wisconsin fought back for yet another game point, 33-32, but NU equalized on an Anderson termination, and the battle continued.
Finally, with NU up 36-35, Wisconsin unleashed an attack that sophomore Emma Pollert (Seymour, Ind./Seymour) got a phenomenal dig on, sending it high into the air and off the scoreboard back into play where Gray slammed it home to give the Wildcats a thrilling, 37-35 game-three victory and a 2-1 lead in the match.
Game four continued much the way game three ended, with the teams trading sideouts and not much else. Early on Wisconsin held a 10-8 lead, then neither team held more than a one-point edge until a 3-0 NU run featuring kills by Aldridge and Anderson gave the 'Cats a 21-18 lead to force a Wisconsin timeout.
NU continued to press, and when Johnson cremated an overpass to put the visitors up four, 24-20, UW burned its second timeout. In Big Ten volleyball, everybody makes a run, and the Badgers quickly made a big one. Scoring 10 of the final 12 points, Wisconsin won game four, 30-26, and forced a fifth game.
Northwestern held the 8-7 edge at the side switch of game five. With the score knotted at 10, Anderson and Hyser nailed back-to-back kills to give NU a 12-10 advantage, leading to a UW timeout. The Badgers tied the score, 13-13, out of the break, and the Wildcats called a timeout of their own.
Two Paulus kills gave Northwestern two match-point opportunities, but Wisconsin equalized both times, then picked up a match-point try of its own, 16-15, which it converted for a 17-15 game-five win and a 3-2 win in the match.
Anderson, Hyser and Aldridge all led NU with 18 kills, with Aldridge's total tying her career-high. Anderson added 16 digs for a double-double. Libero Kate Nobilio (Johnsburg, Ill./Johnsburg) had a team-best 28 digs, while Pollert added 13 and Paulus had 10.
Glab finished with a season-best 62 assists.
Northwestern returns to action at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, against No. 1 Penn State at Welsh-Ryan Arena.