With 18 wins in a row, Wisconsin volleyball finished the regular season as defending champion.
While enduring a tough Big Ten schedule and the turmoil of a photo leak investigation, the Badgers have not lost since Sept. 25, and now they enter the NCAA tournament ranked No. 1.
Earlier this month, the University of Wisconsin announced that it would be investigating a leak of private photos and videos of the Badgers women’s volleyball players.
A photo shows members of the team posing with their sports bras lifted after the team won the Big Ten title last November, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
In a statement, the athletic department said that the leak violated athletes’ privacy in a significant and wrongful way. However, the Badgers continued to win despite the off-court incident that highlighted the vulnerability of college athletes.
Against Ohio State, Wisconsin won 3-1 to finish the conference season 19-1 and win the Big Ten title. On Sept. 25, Minnesota was the only team to lose.
Coach Kelly Sheffield said that the one loss against Minnesota taught us so much. The importance of that for where we are right now cannot be overstated. Over the course of the year, we had so many opportunities to learn, and I am so proud of them.”
There have only been two longer winning streaks in program history than the 18-match streak. As far as the conference record goes, it is tied for the best in the history of the program at 19-1.
The NCAA tournament tickets for Wisconsin’s first- and second-round matches have already sold out. In their quest to repeat as champions, the Badgers will play at 8 p.m. ET on Friday at Quinnipiac.