Clash of the Titans, epic showdown, unstoppable force meets an immovable object. However you want to put it, that’s what Saturday’s Big Ten matchup will be a showcase of. Wisconsin volleyball heads to Nebraska and puts their undefeated streak and their 30-game set streak on the line as they take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers, who also happen to be undefeated. It’ll be a battle between the No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers and the No. 2 Nebraska in the first of two matches between the teams.
— Big Ten Volleyball (@B1GVolleyball) October 20, 2023
Wisconsin Volleyball Offense vs. the Nebraska Defense
While both teams rank highly in both offensive numbers and defensive numbers, this is likely going to be a test of the Badgers’ offense and Nebraska’s defense.
— Big Ten Volleyball (@B1GVolleyball) October 18, 2023
This past week, Sarah Franklin won the Player of the Week with her huge performance on both sides of the net, while Nebraska’s Lexi Rodriguez was named Defensive Player of the Week.
The most interesting part of this matchup is both teams play well on offense and defense, with plenty of players running up and down the leader lists for defense and offense. Wisconsin volleyball holds the top slot in the Big Ten in hitting percentage with Carter Booth and Anna Smrek No. 1 and 2 in the Big Ten. Right behind them? Nebraska’s team hitting percentage and Andi Jackson.
Nebraska has two Top Ten players in terms of Kills per Set, with Merritt Beason and Harper Murray coming in at No. 8 and No. 10 in the Big Ten, respectively. Sarah Franklin ranks at No. 6 for kills in the Big Ten.
On the defensive side of the net, Carter Booth leads the Big Ten in blocks per set with 1.45, and Caroline Crawford joins her at No. 8. Nebraska has Bekka Allick at No. 4 and Andi Jackson at No. 10. As a team, the Cornhuskers lead the Big Ten in holding opponent kills to 9.90 per set. Who’s behind them? Wisconsin volleyball at 10.48. Opponent hitting percentage is the same story, with Nebraska coming in at .123 and Wisconsin holding a .143.
No matter how you slice this pie, both teams seem to be evenly matched, and it’ll remain to be seen if the Cornhuskers can hold down the firepower of the Wisconsin offense.
Player to Watch
The player to watch in this match-up is sophomore Middle Blocker Carter Booth. She’s part of the big frontline for Wisconsin volleyball, and she’s showing she truly belongs there. We mentioned that she leads the Big Ten in blocks per set, but she’s also seventh in the nation and added four blocks against their sweep of Ohio State.
She also leads the Big Ten in hitting percentage and has been a huge part of what the Badgers have done this season. If Wisconsin volleyball wants to remain undefeated, she’ll be a key to that.