CLEMSON, S.C. — The University of Wisconsin volleyball team shuffled its lineup a little bit Saturday as it came away with a sweep of Clemson.
Freshman setter/defensive specialist Izzy Ashburn started on the right side in place of the injured Madison Duello as the No. 9 Badgers defeated the Tigers 25-19, 25-16, 25-20 in the Clemson Classic.
Duello, a redshirt senior who was a third-team All-American last year, missed her third consecutive match because of a minor leg injury. Junior Nicole Shanahan filled her spot the previous two matches, but coach Kelly Sheffield opted to try a different look against Clemson.
And while Ashburn, at 5-foot-11, doesn’t have the same presence at the net as the 6-3 Duello or the 6-2 Shanahan, Sheffield was pleased with her overall contributions.
“She puts up a little bit smaller block, but one of the things I really like about Izzy is the game flows a little bit better with her,” Sheffield said. “She can keep balls off the ground, she can step in there and keep us in our offense with the second (ball). She doesn’t make a whole lot of errors and she’s still early on in her career.”
Ashburn had two kills, seven digs and two service aces as she was named to the Clemson Classic all-tournament team, along with redshirt junior Molly Haggerty, who had 12 kills Saturday. Junior Dana Rettke led the attack with 14 kills, hitting .609, to earn Classic MVP honors.
While Ashburn filled in admirably, Sheffield said it’s been a challenge for his team to play without Duello.
“It stresses us out without having Madison in there, quite frankly,” he said. “She gives us a safety valve when we’re out of system and somebody that is really tough to stop in system and has a big block. That makes it a little bit tough and it requires us to be better in other areas.”
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Sheffield was particularly happy with his team’s defensive play as it held the Tigers (5-4) to a .196 hitting percentage. He also cited improved ball control by his passers, as they didn’t allow an ace and kept the Badgers (4-2) in system much of the day as they hit .343.
“The competition wasn’t quite what we were seeing,” Sheffield said. “These guys aren’t quite Baylor or Marquette, but I liked the effort, especially today.”
Devyn Robinson, a 6-2 middle blocker who is part of UW’s 2020 recruiting class, was named the Best Blocker as the U.S. Girls Youth National Team defeated Italy in five sets to win the U18 World Championship in Ismailia, Egypt. Robinson had seven kills and four blocks in the gold medal match, as the U.S. rallied from a 5-1 deficit to win the decisive set 15-10.
Wisconsin 25 25 25
Clemson 19 16 20
WISCONSIN (kills-digs-blocks) — Rettke 14-0-4, Haggerty 12-2-2, Loberg 10-2-1, Hilley 5-11-0, Hart 3-2-2, Ashburn 2-7-1, Barnes 0-3-0, Shanahan 0-1-0, Clark 0-10,0, Dodge 0-4-0. Totals 46-42-6.
CLEMSON (kills-digs-blocks) — Korte 11-10-2, Thomas 10-1-2, Radtke 7-6-0, Clark 5-1-0, Deloney 4-1-4, Slavik 2-0-0, Curtis 0-10-0, Howell 0-8-0, Pritchard 0-0-0. Totals 39-37-4.
Hitting percentage — W .343, C .196. Aces — W 5 (Rettke, Ashburn 2), C 0. Assists — W 44 (Hilley 35), C 37 (Slavik 35). Att. — 1,375.