Panthers Battle But Come Up Just Short At Wisconsin
MADISON, Wis. - Julie Mikaelsen and Alexis Mitchell had 12 kills apiece and the University of Wisconsin held off a game effort from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to claim a 25-15, 26-24, 25-23 win Saturday night in the final match of the InnTowner Invitational.
Julie Kolinske had 13 kills for Milwaukee (5-5), which responded nicely in the final two sets and more than held its own against its in-state rival.
In fact, UWM had a set-point chance in the second frame and had things tied at 23 in the third set before falling.
"We competed throughout the match really, really well," Milwaukee head coach Susie Johnson said. "Our defense was great, our passing was great, our setting - all of that - and it was just really right at the end where we let it get away. But we competed and it was one of the first times this season where I really saw the team compete the entire match, which is a great thing."
The two teams traded the advantage through the early portion of the first frame before Wisconsin pushed its edge out to 13-10 on a kill by Mitchell. The Badgers actually turned that into an eight-point burst with another kill from Mitchell pushing the edge to 18-10. Milwaukee was never able to work its way back in it from there, with yet another Mitchell kill making it 20-12 before a kill from Courtney Thomas extended the edge to 22-13. A tip-kill by Kayla Price brought UWM within 23-15 but the Badgers then closed the set out.
Wisconsin looked like it had some control over the second set but Milwaukee never went away and nearly evened the contest. Wisconsin's early lead hit 12-8 on a UWM hitting error and was 14-9 following a kill by Bailey Reshel. The Panthers did not go away, though, with a kill from Kolinske bringing Milwaukee within one at 15-14. UWM was still within just a point after a kill from Neuberger made it 20-19 and then tied the frame at 20 on a UW error. The set was again tied at 21 and 22 and Milwaukee eventually claimed a 24-23 lead on a UW ball-handling error. But the Badgers would not let the set get away, tying the frame at 24 before a kill by Mitchell and a UWM error pushed Wisconsin well ahead in the match.
The third set was equally as competitive. The Panthers took a 9-7 lead on a service ace by Kolinske and went back up 14-13 on a kill by Kolinske. The lead grew to 16-14 on a Dunbar kill but Wisconsin responded with the next two points to even things at 16. But Milwaukee had another answer, with a three-point burst pushing the Panthers back up 20-17. Wisconsin fought for a 22-21 lead and again led 23-22 before a kill from Kolinske tied things at 23. But Mitchell answered with a kill and then UWM followed with an error to allow Wisconsin to wrap up the match.
The Panthers return to action next weekend, heading across town for three matches at the Marquette Invitational. UWM starts play in the event Friday at 4:30 p.m. against Iowa.