Sunday’s win over Penn State is the first 5-set victory Wisconsin experienced all season. It was also the Badgers’ first win over the Nittany Lions since 2006.[/media-credit]To be the best, you have to beat the best – and the Wisconsin women’s volleyball team did just that Sunday.The Badgers (14-12, 6-8) knocked off defending four-time national champion No. 6 Penn State (17-6, 11-3) at the Field House in five sets, 26-24, 25-19, 32-34, 14-25, 15-12.Sunday afternoon’s match resembled more of a boxing match than a volleyball contest, as Wisconsin and Penn State exchanged blow after blow on the court in one of the hardest fought and most exciting matches of the season, featuring 32 tied scores and 12 lead changes. Wisconsin beat Penn State for the first time since 2006 and won for the first time in five sets all season.“That was a great win for our program in a lot of ways,” head coach Pete Waite said. “We saw some very good ball on our side of the net Friday against Ohio State in the first set, but we didn’t sustain that. This time we sustained it.”Helping in large part to sustain that performance was junior Alexis Mitchell, who fought admirably against Penn State’s gigantic front line, as the middle blocker totaled 10 kills and seven blocks against one of the nation’s best squads.“I’m still in shock,” junior Alexis Mitchell said. “It’s just great to win like that, especially after letting them come back. We felt a little bit down, but we dug deep and pulled it out in the fifth set. It was a great game to play and be a part of.”Right off the bat, it was a tight one. In an opening set that had seven tied scores and two lead changes, the Badgers came back after trailing for a majority of the set. Down 17-14, Wisconsin used a combination of Penn State attack errors, blocks and several strong kills from the front line to down Penn State.In the opening set, the Badgers hit a lower percentage than the Nittany Lions, as Penn State outhit Wisconsin .250 to .182. However, the Badgers benefited nicely from five Nittany Lion service errors, as Penn State ultimately committed 13 on the day compared to Wisconsin’s three.“A big stat for me in the match was the service errors,” Waite said. “It should make the players feel good that [serve-receive] came together when it needed to.”However, after a Badger win in the second set it looked like the wheels might fall off, as the Nittany Lions took the third and fourth sets. The Badgers had numerous opportunities to complete the sweep in the third set, since the team had the Nittany Lions at match point five separate times in extra points. But momentum looked to be shifting to Penn State, especially after Wisconsin dropped the fourth set 14-25.But the Badgers finished what they started in the fifth and final set – thanks in large part to a key 7-2 run that helped break a 2-2 tie. The final point of the set and the match came on a kill by junior Bailey Reshel, bringing a thunderous roar from the home crowd and a jubilant team celebration onto the floor.“I think we knew after the fourth set we needed to make a change,” sophomore Annemarie Hickey said. “All of us wanted to win really bad; we’ve just been really sick of losing. We talked all week about playing for our team, and I think we really came together as a team that game.”It was an impressive victory for Wisconsin, considering the team was coming off arguably its most disappointing loss of the season. Friday night at home against No. 22 Ohio State was a completely different affair, as Wisconsin looked terrific in the first set but faded fast, falling in four sets, 20-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-21.Wisconsin hit its second-lowest hitting percentage of the season, as the Badgers posted a measly .098 ratio (44 kills, 30 errors, 143 attempts). After Friday, it looked like the Badgers might be losing grips on their NCAA tournament hopes, but the Badgers showed a giant burst of life by responding from a disappointing loss in the biggest way possible.“We really found a way as a team – everyone on the bench and the court – to pull through and get this game,” Mitchell said. “Five set games so far this season haven’t gone our way, so we really wanted to get back on track. This was a great win for us and a great confidence builder going into facing Michigan and Michigan State next weekend because we know what they’re capable of, but now we know what we’re capable of.”
â€œI think itâ€™s always helpful. He is a hard hitter. In the next round it will be a lefty. It will be much more of a strategic match, I believe.â€Nadal, another player who is yet to drop a set, plays another left-hander in Czech Vesely, the world number 93.Nigeria Open Tâ€™tennis Has Impacted Positively on Lagos, Says TandohIt is a known fact that ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open has continued to attract international attention to the commercial nerve center of Nigeria â€“ Lagos State in the last five years.As Nigeriaâ€™s largest urban area, Lagos is a major financial centre and the Executive Chairman of the Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC), Kweku Tandoh believes the staging of the annual ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open has put the state on international limelight as well as exposed its tourism potentials to the world.â€œThe ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open is indeed a unique event that started out as the Lagos International Table Tennis Classics in 2014. Just after one year of its coming into existence, the success of the event attracted the attention of the ITTF into approving its inclusion in the ITTF annual calendar of events and the event has continued to grow in leaps and bounds.The impact of the Nigeria Open on Lagos State has been huge and beneficial in many respects. For example, the event annually attracts tourists from all over the world into the State. It has helped to showcase the beneficial synergy between sports and tourism, a major area of focus for Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.â€œIn addition, many Lagos State athletes are now annually exposed to meeting, watching and playing with international players and is has helped to improve their own performances. Commerce and local business also thrive in the State during the Nigeria Open as there are increased commercial activities in and around the venues, hotels improve occupancy rates and sponsors and partners have an opportunity to market their products and make brisk sales. Of course the period of the event and its international flavour, international media exposure all help to ensure that Lagos State is in the international spotlight. Another benefit to the State is the opportunity the event offers our Sports Commission staff to build capacity in the area of sports event planning and organization,â€ Tandoh said.For 2018, Kweku Tandoh said: â€œThis year Lagos State has improved upon its partnership contribution as promised by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode during the finals of last yearâ€™s event. We are also working closely with the Local Organising Committee (LOC) to ensure that this yearâ€™s event is bigger and better in all ramifications.â€œNigeria Open offers us the opportunity to use sports/ sporting events to boost tourism. The event will also be listed in the Lagos State Tourism Annual Calendar. We also intend to incorporate bus and/or boat tours for the visiting athletes and officials and also expose them to the sights, sounds, arts and culture of the State.Many of the international players who have attended previous events have become â€œtourism ambassadorsâ€ for the state as they always look forward to coming back to Lagos.â€â€œAs the Executive Chairman of the Lagos State Sports Commission, my expectation for this yearâ€™s Nigeria Open is that we surpass all that has been achieved in the past regarding this event. And we will put in all the hard work that is required to enable us attain unto greater heights, working closely with the LOC, Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) and ITTF,â€ he added.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram With all of the menâ€™s and womenâ€™s last 16 singles ties taking place, it is one of the most exciting days in the tennis calendar.Defending champion Federer faces French 22nd seed Adrian Mannarino while two-time champion Nadal plays Jiri Vesely.Seven-time winner Williams, the favourite for the womenâ€™s title, plays Russian qualifier Evgeniya Rodina. Three-time champion Novak Djokovic will play Karen Khachanov while Gael Monfils meets eighth seed Kevin Anderson.Karolina Pliskova, the only remaining womenâ€™s top 10 seed, plays world number 20 Kiki Bertens.Federer made serene progress through the first three rounds, extending his run of consecutive sets won at Wimbledon to 29 as he bids for a record-extending ninth menâ€™s title.The Swiss swept aside big-hitting Jan-Lennard Struff in one hour and 34 minutes in round three but said he is pleased at the variety of opponents he has played so far.â€œItâ€™s good that I faced different types of opponents I think in this first week, and was able to find a way to get through,â€ Federer said.