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Wisconsin Badgers Wrestling 2023-24 Season is Almost Here!



Wisconsin Badgers Wrestling
Wisconsin head coach Chris Bono reacts during the third session of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, Friday, March 17, 2023, at BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla.

Welcome to Wisconsin Badgers Wrestling!

We are almost there Wisconsin Badgers wrestling fans – the new season is almost upon us! Badger Notes is committed to bringing you comprehensive coverage of the Wisconsin wrestling program. BadgerNotes will be expanding their Wisconsin sports coverage and will include a focus on the outstanding athletes and coaches within the Wisconsin wrestling program.

During this inaugural season of our Wisconsin wrestling coverage we encourage you to interact with us to help guide the conversation of the Wisconsin Badgers wrestling program.  Let us know what interests you in and around the program. Our goal is to share the results from the matches and the stories of the people who make up the program.  We are excited to start this coverage and we would be honored if you accompanied us on this maiden voyage.

2022-2023  Championship Season Recap

It has been six months since Wisconsin Badgers wrestling took to the mats for the 2023 NCAA Division 1 Wrestling Championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma where Wisconsin Head Coach Chris Bono sent nine qualifiers to compete for wrestling glory.

After some hard-fought battles – only two men retuned to Madison as NCAA All-Americans.  Dean Hamiti placed 6th at 165 pounds and Trent Hillger placed 8th at 285 pounds.  Congratulations to Dean Hamiti and Trent Hillger on joining the ranks of NCAA wrestling immortality.

2022-2023 Regular Season Recap

First things first! How did we get here? Before we can dive into the 2022-2023 regular season recap, we have to acknowledge the gauntlet that is Big Ten wrestling.

The Big Ten Conference is arguably the best conference in all of Division 1 wrestling.  According to InterMat rankings, a preeminent source for national wrestling rankings, the Big Ten faced 13 teams ranked in the InterMat Top 30!  For those keeping up with conference realignment in college athletics – the Big Ten currently has 14 wrestling programs.

This is an important notation to make while analyzing the Wisconsin Badgers wrestling season of 2022-2023. Wisconsin wrestling program closed the regular season 8 – 8 overall and 1 – 7 in Big Ten duals.  On its face – that could be labeled a bad season. It doesn’t take long in review of those eight losses to see a common thread. All eight losses during the duals season came to InterMat Top 30 programs. In the Big Ten, its fair to say that not all 8 – 8 seasons are created equal. If 93% of your opponents are one of the top 30 program in the country – its going to be a bloodbath for team victories.

Upcoming 2023-2024 Wisconsin Wrestling – what’s next?

The finalized Wisconsin wrestling regular season schedule has not been released.  Unquestionably, I am most intrigued to know the tournaments. Those are excellent opportunities for the younger guys to get their feet wet with collegiate competition.

The Wisconsin wrestling programs official Instagram recently released the Big Ten home and away duals for the program. Wisconsin wrestling has announced their home duals include Illinois, Nebraska, Northwestern and Ohio State.  The away duals include Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan State and Purdue. Full non-conference schedule, tournament entries and date/time of all contests will be announced soon.

Stay locked in with BadgerNotes as we bring you the 2023-2024 Wisconsin wrestling roster overview.

Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin Badgers Wrestling sports news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Ryan Eilers on Twitter @ryanbeilers

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Wisconsin Volleyball Sweeps Northwestern & Indiana to Open Big Ten Play



Wisconsin Badgers Volleyball
Wisconsin's Izzy Ashburn (left) and Devyn Robinson celebrate a point during the volleyball team's sweep of Indiana at the UW Field House in Madison, Wis. on Sunday Sept. 23, 2023.

The No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers volleyball team opened up Big Ten play this past weekend with two sweeps. On Friday night, the Badgers rolled into Evanston, Ill. and easily dispatched of the Northwestern Wildcats by the score of 25-18, 25-12, 25-13. To follow that up, Wisconsin (11-0 overall, 2-0 Big Ten) took care of the Indiana Hoosiers, 25-13, 25-23, 25-18, on Sunday afternoon at the Field House.

In the first two sets against Northwestern, the Badgers went on a pair of lengthy scoring runs (6-0 in the first set and 8-0 in the second set) to blow the ‘Cats out of the gym and then decided, smartly I might add, to just dominate the third set from start to finish. To be frank, this match was never going to be competitive but when Wisconsin hit .376 (41 kills – 8 errors – 90 attempts), their highest hitting percentage of the season, it was crystal clear that they were on a different level than NU (6-6 overall, 0-2 B1G).

Devyn Robinson led the attack, hitting a season-high .556 (11-1-18), and Carter Booth also recorded a season-high hitting percentage (.667; 8-0-12) in the match. Izzy Ashburn notched a double-double (17 assists, 13 digs), her sixth of the season, and MJ Hammill chipped in 13 assists too.

Everything was clicking for UW as the Badgers had eight aces (NU had one) and eight blocks (NU had four) while holding the ‘Cats to .079 hitting (23-16-89), which was UW’s second best defensive showing of the year. “I feel like our block has been better than it has been. We’ve been working a lot on it,” Robinson said after the match.

Grad transfer Temi Thomas-Ailara, in her return to Northwestern, had four kills and an ace but didn’t hit particularly well (.059; 4-3-17) and had the team’s only receiving error on the match. Julia Orzol had two aces (but three errors) and 12 digs from the libero position. “She’s serving with a lot more pace and hitting it nice and clean and flat…her errors are going up but her opponent passing percentage is dropping. We’re scoring a lot of points off her serves. The kid has a lot of confidence that her serve is better than people receive,” head coach Kelly Sheffield noted.

Wisconsin Badgers Volleyball Had a Tougher Matchup vs. Indiana

Indiana (11-4 overall, 1-1 B1G) posed a bit more of a challenge to Wisconsin, but the Badgers were still able to sweep them aside pretty easily. With the win UW extended their conference winning streak to 20 straight matches (dating back to last season) and their home conference winning streak to 15. UW’s 11-0 start to the season is their best since they roared out to a 16-0 start in the 2020-21 season.

The Hoosiers kept things close in the second set, the score was tied at 17 and they fought off three set points, but Wisconsin was relentless and an Anna Smrek kill, one of her team-high 10, clinched set two. The Badger block was outstanding again, outperforming IU 10.0-6.0, with Booth and CC Crawford both stuffing four shots and Thomas-Ailara and Sarah Franklin notching three apiece. UW kept IU below .100 hitting (.098; 35-25-102), which is the fourth time Wisconsin’s defense has done that this season.

Wisconsin Badgers Volleyball is back on the road Wednesday night to take on the No. 21 Ohio State Buckeyes (7 p.m. CT) and then return home to play Michigan on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT (BTN+). The home match will also feature a recognition ceremony (?) for the 2013 Final Four team.

Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin Badgers women’s basketball news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Drew Hamm on Twitter @DrewHamm5

Join the Badger Notes watch party and stream Wisconsin Badgers games by following this link.

*Subscribe to BadgerNotes After Dark on Youtube and wherever you find podcasts, the official Wisconsin Badgers podcast of the Big Banter Sports Network.

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Wisconsin Women’s Basketball 2023-24 Schedule Preview



Wisconsin Badgers Women's Basketball
Julie Pospisilova (5), Halle Douglass (10) and Maty Wilke (11) are among the Wisconsin players celebrating a basket during the team's victory over Bradley Wednesday Nov. 16, 2022 at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis. Uwwomen Bradley 2 Nov 16 2022

We are just over a month away from the 50th season of Wisconsin Badgers women’s basketball! According to UW’s release about the new schedule, “the Badgers will highlight the program’s rich history and traditions” throughout the season. This is a cool opportunity for fans, both new and old, to learn about the program and the players that paved the way for this year’s team.

UW opens their 2023-2024 campaign with an exhibition game against UW-Whitewater on Oct. 29 at the Kohl Center. With the Big Ten announcing the conference schedule on Thursday, we now have a full slate of games to analyze. So, let’s get to it.

Wisconsin Women’s Basketball 2023-24 Schedule Preview

First up, a few key dates:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 7, season opener vs. Milwaukee
  • Friday, Nov. 24, Fort Myers (Fla.) Tip-Off vs. Arkansas
  • Saturday, Nov. 25, Fort Myers (Fla.) Tip-Off vs. Marquette/Boston College
  • Sunday, Dec. 10, Big Ten opener vs. Iowa
  • Sunday, March 3, final game of regular season vs. Michigan State
  • Wednesday, March 6, Big Ten Tournament starts in Minneapolis
  • Sunday, March 10, Big Ten Tournament final in Minneapolis

Wisconsin has 29 games on their schedule, including 18 Big Ten games, and will be looking to improve upon last season’s 11-20 (6-12 Big Ten) record that saw them win four of their last five regular season games, including an upset of No. 12 Michigan, and earn a bye in the Big Ten Tournament.

The Badgers have 15 games at the Kohl Center and 14 games away from home, which includes two down in Fort Myers at Thanksgiving. Wisconsin’s non-conference schedule is a bit more forgiving than last year’s slate, but there are still many challenges for a young, inexperienced team.

Based on last year’s Her Hoops Stats rankings, Wisconsin women’s basketball should be favored to win their first two games of the season, before a tough home test against the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State. SDSU, who finished last season as the 14th best team in the nation per HHS, lost two starters from last year’s offensive juggernaut, but they will still pose a challenge to a leaky Wisconsin defense.

After playing Kansas State at Miller Park (I’ll NEVER call it AmFam Field) last season, the Badgers make the return trip to the Little Apple and play the Wildcats before heading off to sunny Florida for the Fort Myers Tip-Off. Arkansas and, most likely, Boston College await UW in the holiday tournament, but a potential matchup with in-state Marquette would be very fun.

UW rounds out their non-conference slate with various directional Illinois’ and a trip to St. Paul to play St. Thomas in a game I hope to attend. Wedged into the end of the non-conference schedule is the Big Ten opener against…ah shit, against national runner-up Iowa and Caitlin Clark. Not to sound glib, but keeping that one within 30 should actually count as a win for Wisconsin.

The Badgers play the Hawkeyes, Purdue, Northwestern, Minnesota, and Rutgers twice this season. As far as single plays, they travel to Illinois, Michigan, Ohio State, and Maryland while getting Nebraska, Penn State, Indiana, and Michigan State at home.

All things considered, this is a pretty favorable schedule for Wisconsin women’s basketball. Of their home-and-home series’ the only one in which they’ll be heavy underdogs for both games is against Iowa. Their “road only” games all look like losses to me and, in an ideal world, they’ll split their “home only” games.

Per UW, single-game tickets go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 9 a.m. (CT). The pre-sale for single-game tickets for donors and season ticket holders is set for Tuesday, Oct. 10. Student tickets are available through Area Red.

Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin Badgers women’s basketball news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Drew Hamm on Twitter @DrewHamm5

Join the Badger Notes watch party and stream Wisconsin Badgers games by following this link.

*Subscribe to BadgerNotes After Dark on Youtube and wherever you find podcasts, the official Wisconsin Badgers podcast of the Big Banter Sports Network.

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Wisconsin Volleyball Non-Conference Recap



Wisconsin Badgers Volleyball
Mandatory Credit: Aaron Frey-AMF Photos - check out more of their amazing work at amfphotos2020 on Instagram

The No. 1 ranked — and undefeated — Wisconsin volleyball team is off to an excellent start this season. We here at Badger Notes want to get you up to speed with the four-time defending Big Ten champions as they get ready to start their conference campaign on Friday night at Northwestern on B1G+.

First things first, here are the results of Wisconsin’s difficult non-conference slate, which, as you may remember, they survived unscathed.

Season Recap (9-0 overall, 0-0 Big Ten)

  • (W) 3-1; No. 15 Baylor Bears; Minneapolis, Minn.
  • (W) 3-0; TCU Horned Frogs; Minneapolis, Minn.
  • (W) 3-2; No. 21 Arkansas Razorbacks; Fayetteville, Ark.
  • (W) 3-0; No. 21 Arkansas Razorbacks; Fayetteville, Ark.
  • (W) 3-2; No. 24 Tennessee Volunteers; Madison, Wis.
  • (W) 3-0; Arizona Wildcats; Madison, Wis.
  • (W) 3-0; Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes; Madison, Wis.
  • (W) 3-1; Marquette Golden Eagles; Milwaukee, Wis.
  • (W) 3-2; No. 3 Florida Gators; Gainesville, Fla.

You may have noticed that they played Arkansas twice and thought “huh, Drew made a typo there, especially since the scores are different.” Well, you’d be wrong! I NEVER MAKE TYPOS! The Badgers played the Razorbacks twice because a different team in the area backed out of playing UW at the last minute, and Arkansas kindly offered to play twice so Wisconsin didn’t feel like they were wasting a trip down south.

The Badgers also played Marquette at Fiserv Forum and set the indoor regular season record for attendance at a volleyball match as well as being the most attended women’s sporting event in Wisconsin state history. UW also boasts five ranked victories on the season and has shown a penchant for thrilling comebacks and five-set heart-stoppers.

In their first match against Arkansas, the Badgers dropped the first set and then were down 13-8 in the second set before storming back and evening the score at one set apiece. In the third set the Badgers were, at separate times, down 14-7 and then 24-19, but fought off five (!!!!!) set points and won the third set 26-24. Arkansas won the fourth set and then a back-and-forth fifth set (featuring 10 lead changes) saw the Badgers emerge victorious. Against Tennessee at the Field House, UW won the first two sets before the Vols took the next two to set up a decisive fifth frame. The Badgers ended up winning that set 15-13 but Tennessee battled until the final hit.

UW’s most impressive win, by far imo, of the season was their most recent one. Heading down to Gainesville to take on the undefeated No. 3 ranked Florida Gators is not something many teams would choose to do, but the Badgers had revenge on their minds. Last year, Florida came into the Kohl Center and beat Wisconsin in front of the largest (at the time) crowd to ever watch an NCAA volleyball match. On Sunday afternoon, the Gators had a program record crowd (10,323) at the O’Connell Center and were looking to beat UW for the second straight year.

After the first two sets it looked like the Gators were not only going to win, but win in dominating fashion. UW lost the first set 25-15 and the second set 25-22 but, per usual, never seemed down and out. The Badgers came out scorching hot in the third set and took a 13-4 lead, before holding on for a 25-21 win. They won the fourth set 25-22 and everything came down to the fifth set. It was two of the best teams in the country and it just so happened to be televised by ESPN. Really a perfect scenario for a neutral fan, but a terrifying, nail-biting proposition for Gators and Badgers fans.

Set five had seven ties and four lead changes and when Kelly Sheffield called a timeout after UF’s Gabbi Essix hammered down a kill to give the Gators a 10-8 lead…I’ll admit I was resigned to a heartbreaking defeat. Thank God that I wasn’t in that huddle because the Badgers came out of the timeout and won five straight points to take a 13-10 lead (shoutout MJ Hammill’s serve) before winning 15-13 thanks to two massive Anna Smrek kills.

A reverse sweep, on the road, against the No. 3 team in the nation is, quite possibly, the best way to enter the meat grinder that is Big Ten volleyball conference play. While I am writing this on Monday morning before the new AVCA rankings come out, I am 100% positive that the Badgers will remain the top team in the country.

One of the more interesting things about their fantastic run to start the season is how balanced the team has been. Through the first three weeks of the year, zero Badgers have won a weekly Big Ten award while eight other schools have had players recognized. Looking at the conference statistical leaders won’t find you many Badgers either. The depth of talent on this squad is incredible and most likely incomparable around the country.

Let’s take a peek at some of the stats for the team and individual players after nine matches. I’ll only be posting their B1G rankings because the NCAA stats page hasn’t been updated to include Sunday’s match as of me writing this sentence.

Team Stats

  • Hitting Percentage: .295 (482 kills/133 errors/1183 total attacks); No. 2 Big Ten
  • Assists: 12.89 per set (35 sets, 451 assists); No. 1 Big Ten
  • Kills: 13.77 per set (35 sets, 482 kills); No. 1 Big Ten
  • Blocks: 2.66 per set (35 sets, 14 block solo, 158 block assist, 93 total); No. 4 Big Ten
  • Service Aces: 1.26 per set (35 sets, 44 aces); No. 11 Big Ten
  • Digs: 14.26 per set (35 sets, 499 digs); No. 4 Big Ten
  • Opp. Hitting Percentage: .165 (402 kills/203 errors/1204 total attacks); No. 6 Big Ten
  • Opp. Assists: 11.03 per set (35 sets, 386 assists); No. 9 Big Ten
  • Opp. Kills: 11.49 per set (35 sets, 402 kills); No. 7 Big Ten
  • Opp. Blocks: 1.49 per set (35 sets, 4 block solo, 96 block assist, 52 total); No. 1 Big Ten
  • Opp. Service Aces: 1.54 per set (35 sets, 54 aces); No. 9 Big Ten
  • Opp. Digs: 13.91 per set (35 sets, 487 digs); No. 11 Big Ten

Individual Stats Leaders

  • Total Kills: Sarah Franklin, 123 
  • Kills per Set: Sarah Franklin, 3.73 (No. 5 Big Ten)
  • Hitting Percentage: Carter Booth, .439 (62 kills/8 errors/123 total attacks; No. 5 Big Ten)
  • Total Assists: Izzy Ashburn, 206
  • Assists per Set: Izzy Ashburn, 5.89
  • Service Aces: Julia Orzol, 0.29 per set (10 total)
  • Block Solo: Carter Booth, 4
  • Block Assist: Carter Booth, 44
  • Block Total: Carter Booth: 48
  • Blocks per Set: Carter Booth, 1.37 (No. 4 Big Ten)
  • Total Digs: Julia Orzol, 117
  • Digs per Set: Julia Orzol, 3.34

These stats don’t even quantify the all around brilliance of grad transfer Temi Thomas-Ailara or the imposing dominance of Anna Smrek at the net or Devyn Robinson being a lethal scorer or Gulce Guctekin’s infectious positivity even when getting drilled in the face by a Florida kill or Joslyn Boyer’s ability to deliver a timely ace off the bench after not playing all match against the Gators or MJ Hammill’s accurate serving or Caroline Crawford’s stout defense all over the floor.

If it isn’t abundantly clear now that this team has so many players who can go out and win a match by themselves, I don’t know what else to tell you. Get on board this train as it barrels towards another conference (and hopefully national) title, or get out of the way!

Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin Badgers news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Drew Hamm on Twitter @DrewHamm5

Join the Badger Notes watch party and stream Wisconsin Badgers games by following this link.

*Subscribe to BadgerNotes After Dark on Youtube and wherever you find podcasts, the official Wisconsin Badgers podcast of the Big Banter Sports Network.

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