Wisconsin secured a big upset this weekend over No. 14 Penn State in their last home game of the series.With a 4-3 win over the Nittany Lions (20-10-5, 10-7-1-1 Big Ten) Saturday following a close 2-1 loss Friday, the Badgers (7-17-8, 2-12-4-2 Big Ten) salvaged a positive end to senior day. The series was the team’s final weekend at the Kohl Center for 2015-16 and marked the final home game for seniors Eddie Wittchow, Kevin Schulze and Adam Miller at Wisconsin.Respective crowds of 7,618 and 9,895 were treated to two nail-biters that each came inches away from overtime.The 2-1 heartbreaker Friday was dangerously close to a Badger equalizer while the 4-3 triumph Saturday could not have ended sooner as the Nittany Lions scored twice in the third period and threatened to tie the game in its waning moments.“Saturday was one of the first games all year I think we held the lead to a game,” head coach Mike Eaves said. “It wasn’t pretty but we found a way to win. I thought we did some tremendous things all weekend.”The supporting cast made all the difference for the Badgers during Saturday’s win.Freshman Jason Ford scored his first career goal off a deflection late in the first period to tie the game at 1-1. Other unusual suspects also helped the cause, with goals from Corbin McGuire, Jedd Soleway and Matthew Freytag, leading the Badgers to a dominating 4-1 lead for most of the game.“We were really happy with the way we played,” Ford said. “We just wanted to stay positive and keep battling, and that’s what we were able to do.”Despite the impressive play of the younger bench players, MVP for the weekend falls on the shoulder of freshman goalie Matt Jurusik. The freshman tallied 46 saves Saturday, with 19 saves in the third period alone during an onslaught of Penn State opportunities.“Matty played a great game,” Eaves said. “We had to hang in there and he helped us do that.”Another striking feature was a break from the usual norm of high penalty minutes. The Badgers won the penalty battle this weekend and secured some much needed power plays during crucial stretches of the games.Penn State racked up 14 total penalty minutes Saturday and took two penalites late in the second period that helped stem the tide for the Badgers and hold on for the big win.“This weekend definitely gives wind in our sails going forward,” Eaves said. “It just gives you a much bigger smile when you show up on Sunday.”The loss for Penn State keeps them three points below Michigan in the Big Ten standings and sets up a key matchup between them and the Wolverines in the final series of the season in Ann Arbor.The Badgers travel to Minneapolis next weekend to take on the first place team in the Big Ten and close rival, the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers in their final series. Wisconsin will look to avenge the two embarrassing home losses to Minnesota in February and close out the regular season on a high note.
Down 14-11 in the fifth set, Syracuse needed just one final push to keep the game going. After two SU kill attempts were dug during the rally, freshman Polina Shemanova finally converted one, her 30th kill of the match, a career high.But the next point went to Florida State (11-7, 7-1 Atlantic Coast), giving FSU a 3-2 match win and completing its comeback from being down two sets to zero. Despite the Orange (10-6, 6-2) keeping each set close, never trailing by more than six in four of the five sets, SU couldn’t quite get enough production to finish. While Shemanova racked up her 30 kills, the rest of SU combined for only 36. “[The Seminoles] have two very reliable outside hitters; we don’t have that,” head coach Leonid Yelin said. “We have only one outside hitter: it’s Polina. We’re not keeping somebody fresh in the most important game.”Blessing Emole | Digital Design EditorAdvertisementThis is placeholder textUp front, Santita Ebangwese provided some balance with 16 of those other 36 kills. Several times when SU needed a big point, Ebangwese converted a slide hit to get past Florida State’s strong blockers.The Seminoles came into the game ranked 15th in blocks per set and finished with 11 on Sunday. The SU players weren’t intimidated coming in, though.“I never change my game plan,” Ebangwese said. “I hit like I always hit. They’re a decent blocking team, but I do my job.”But while Ebangwese was able to contribute, Yelin acknowledged there were plays when she didn’t make the best decisions. When FSU went up with two blockers, he saw the Orange sometimes hit straight into them when that could’ve been avoided.A lot of it also comes down to setting, too, Yelin said.“I think our setter on those situations—when it’s possible it’s good and she has options—she should be able to see a middle blocker on that side where she’s moving,” Yelin said. “And she was just going to Santita, she just so trusts her, but you have to see it.”Syracuse tried to create a balance to Shemanova with its other main outside hitters, Yuliia Yastrub and Ella Saada. Yelin frequently subbed the two in and out, but neither provided the answer.“It’s not a game plan,” he said. “It’s not to keep everyone fresh. It’s just about for a whole match, Ella [hit] -.067 and Yuliia [hit] -.143. So between those two, we didn’t find anyone.”That attacking failure reflected a match-long offensive difficulty for the Orange. Syracuse hit just .187, while Florida State finished at .291. Syracuse also had 11 more attack errors than the Seminoles.Yelin expects better going forward, despite not knowing who some of the contributors beyond Shemanova might be.“We don’t have enough players in the starting lineup,” Yelin said. “Unfortunately I have to be saying it’s true, we don’t. We don’t. So it’s our job to find out those players.” Comments Published on October 14, 2018 at 6:02 pm Contact Eric: firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook Twitter Google+