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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Shields steps up offensively

The score is 18-14 in the third game of the Texas A&M match, and the Badgers are winning; now picture a great back-row dig by Korie Gardner up to Erin Byrd, who sets up a fabulous ball to Morgan Shields, who hammers it down for the kill.

What is wrong with that picture?

Nothing, except the Badger’s strongest hitter, Byrd, was the one who earned the assist, and the team’s setter, Shields, was the one who tallied the kill.

“We have actually been working a lot on that; we have been roommates for three years,” Shields said. “I think it just shows how much we trust each other. Erin has great hands and is an awesome setter.”

It is not very often the fans see such a play, but with the strength of Shields this may become something seen more often.

It all started in UW’s second match of the Inntowner Tournament against the University of Montreal. Shields started to explode offensively and became not only the team’s leader in assists, but also began to assert herself as a powerful hitter.

Her eight kills in the match against Montreal placed her second only to Byrd, who tallied nine kills in the match.

Not only was Shields hitting well, she also set the team up 37 times and had one service ace.

Her performance was comparable to a defender in soccer who leads the team in scoring; it is just one of those things that does not happen very much unless that player is extremely talented, which Shields obviously is.

In the team’s final match of the tournament against Texas A&M, Shields continued to wow the crowd with her offensive display.

She was almost able to reach double figures in kills with nine, which was a personal record for the red-shirt junior. In addition to her hitting, Shields registered 63 assists and two service aces.

“That’s what we need out of her,” head coach Pete Waite said.

“Nine kills for a setter really helps us, and I believe that is a career high. That’s awesome, and it gets our passers even more assertive that if they can give her a ball and she can score one.”

This recent burst in offensive energy leaves many wondering where this different style of play has come from, but Waite says he has been promoting this new style of play.

“Yes, I have been encouraging her (to be more offensively minded),” said Waite. “She is still finding her game; it’s been a while since she has set the team. She’s shaking a little bit of the rust off each time she plays, and it’s coming together really well.”

Although the coaching staff has been instrumental in her recent play, Shields admits the home-field environment and fan support has also been key.

“I think being at home just makes everyone so much more confident and so much more aggressive, and that makes the difference in the big matches,” Shields said.

Due to her outstanding play, Shields was named to the All-Tournament Team and, even more impressive, she was named the 2002 Inntowner Tournament Most Valuable Player.

Joining Shields on the All-Tournament Team are outside hitters Byrd and sophomore Jill Odenthal.
Byrd, a tri-captain for the Badgers, totaled 30 defensive kills for the tournament, a team high. She also tallied 37 kills in the three matches.
Odenthal led the Badgers in kills with 39 totals kills, coming close to her personal best in kills for a match with 16 in both the Texas A&M match and the Illinois State match.

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