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Wisconsin strengthens their dark-horse bid for the 2021 title
With all of the attention on both Louisville and Texas, the University of Wisconsin has gone under the radar as the dark horse for the 2021 NCAA volleyball title. The Badgers have had strong performances over the past few months as they have gone unnoticed.
While Wisconsin has always been a strong team in collegiate volleyball, this season has been a refreshing experience because they are not the outright favourite to win the title. In recent weeks, Wisconsin has overtaken Pittsburgh in the dark-horse race. That is a huge change because Pitt was always seen as the third-strongest team.
In the match against the University of Minnesota, the Badgers pulled off a thrilling five-set win. It was one of the closest results of the collegiate season as the Badgers came back with a balanced attack. The Gophers tried to dominate the match but they couldn’t contain the Badgers on their road to victory.
The match against the Gophers was a solid result for the Badgers as they continued to prove that they are the dark horse this season. The Gophers are a strong team seeded 9th in their conference.
Badgers head coach Kelly Sheffield talked about how he and his team are approaching the late stretch of the 2021 season.
He said, ‘It was an epic match. It’s two teams that are just battling. That was great. It came down to the end game. The end of the sets and who was playing a little bit cleaner. You had four of those sets that were really close. There were some epic comebacks, and that comes down to both teams really being mentally tough’.
This kind of momentum is what they want to carry into the playoffs. If they can keep this up, you can expect the Badgers to compete for the title when the finals come around. It is hard to stop a Badgers squad with momentum since they can use their experience to keep this going.
The game against the Gophers should be a sign that the Badgers have a strong mindset heading into the late stretch. They are ready to prove their doubters wrong as they put them below Louisville and Texas in the power rankings.
Words: Cholo Martin