MADISON – Seventy-two minutes.
That is all the Wisconsin Badgers needed Sunday afternoon to dispose of High Point, 3-0, at the UW Field House.
Sophomore outside hitter Sarah Franklin highlighted the 25-10, 25-11, 25-14 victory with a sharp performance after an uneven night against Marquette on Friday, while freshman libero Gulce Guctekin continued to show the potential to be a special player.
UW, which dropped its 2021 national championship banner Friday, improved to 3-1 and finished the match with a season-high .421 hitting percentage.
“It’s been a busy weekend, a lot going on, and I thought we managed the weekend and all the emotions and all that was going on,” said Badgers coach Kelly Sheffield, whose team is ranked sixth in the nation by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.
“That is certainly something we talked about going in. I certainly like the way we’ve played together. We played four matches and in each match I think we’ve played a little bit better than the previous one.”
Franklin built on her strong finish to the Marquette match by recording 14 kills and just two errors in her 22 attempts with a .545 hitting percentage. She was especially sharp early with five kills and a .667 hitting percentage in the first set.
“I just kind of watched my game and just made little changes throughout the board between passing, hitting and serving,” she said. “I just changed my mentality to more of a get out there and get after it.”
Guctekin had team-highs in digs (13) and serves received (17). She also served nine straight points to end the first set and had a run of six straight points in the second. In general, Sheffield said, she covered more territory than in the team’s season-opening weekend in Texas.
Junior Devyn Robinson added 11 kills and hit .588. The team hit a season-high .421 and took another step on the journey toward building the chemistry ahead of the Big Ten season that begins later this month.
“Do we continue to communicate better? Do we continue to work on balls that are in the seam better? Do we get rid of hesitation points?" Sheffield said, noting areas in which the team can improve.
“Last weekend we hesitated a lot. Is that my ball? Is that your ball? I think those are starting to become less and less and that is what you’re looking for. Setters are trying to find where can I get my hitters in space and make good decisions there. Really the score doesn’t even matter when you’re trying to do those types of things.”
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin Badgers volleyball beats High Point at UW Field House