Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Waite closes in on 400th win

Waite_400After a 2-1 Wisconsin showing at the Jayhawk Invitational in Lawrence, Kan., UW head volleyball coach Pete Waite is now just one victory shy of 400 career wins.

“That’s a great milestone, there’s no doubt, but what it does is it makes you look back to when you started and how many teams and staffs you’ve been around and what players have done along the way to get you there,” said Waite, who is in his sixth year at the helm of the Wisconsin program.

In 17 years as a head coach, Waite has compiled a 399-140 overall record and a 133-38 mark at Wisconsin. His most memorable season came in 2000, when he led the Badgers to a Big Ten title and a national runner-up performance in the NCAA tournament. Wisconsin won the Big Ten conference the following season, with Waite earning his second-straight Big Ten Coach of the Year award. During that two-season span, Waite was honored as the AVCA Mideast Regional Coach of the Year.


Prior to coaching the Badgers, Waite was the head coach at Northern Illinois for 11 years, where he compiled a 266-102 record.

“(Winning 400 matches) says a lot of good things have happened, and that’s great,” Waite said. “I’m excited about that, but it’s always what are you going to do in the next game, so it doesn’t matter that much.”

Young players improving: The Jayhawk Invite proved to be another stepping stone for a young Wisconsin squad that is trying to find an identity quickly prior to the start of Big Ten competition.

“For us, we’re a team trying to find where we’re going to be before Big Ten play because we’ve got so many new kids out there,” Waite said. “The upperclassmen are learning to adjust with the young ones out there.”

The Badgers start true freshmen Jackie Simpson at setter and Jocelyn Wack at libero. Wack earned all-tournament team honors after averaging 4.5 digs per game. She has put together a string of four consecutive matches with double-digit dig totals.

“I’d say between this weekend and the weekend before, we were off to a good but not great start,” Waite said. “I think our underclassmen are doing very well. Actually, over the weekend, we at times had three freshmen and a sophomore on the court of our starting six.”

Also stepping into the UW lineup was freshman middle blocker Taylor Reineke, who made her first career start in the Badgers’ 3-1 loss to Kansas. The rookie from Naperville, Ill., responded with a 10-kill performance against the Jayhawks, hitting at a clip of .600.

“I think that’s something that’s going to have us looking at changing our lineup around a little bit and try and get [Reineke] on the court more,” Waite said.

Reineke has been battling sophomore Amy Bladow for Wisconsin’s starting middle blocker spot next to junior Sheila Shaw. Reineke has appeared in all of UW’s five matches, averaging 1.5 kills per game with a hitting percentage of .433. She has also contributed 0.8 blocks per game.

Topsy-turvy top 25: The national picture became as jumbled as ever over the weekend. Previously unbeaten USC fell to Illinois 3-2. The Illini became the first squad to knock off the Women of Troy in 53 matches. The defending national champs last tasted defeat against Florida in 2003.

USC’s loss allowed Minnesota to claim the top spot in the USA Today/CSTV poll. The Golden Gophers are the first Big Ten team to be ranked No. 1 since Penn State in 1999. Minnesota defeated both Kansas State and Florida over the weekend.

Formerly No. 2 Nebraska was also upset, dropping a home match to unranked Florida A&M.

“There were just a lot of shakeups going on, a lot of things happening this year,” Waite said. “So it’s really going to be wide open.”

Three Big Ten squads are now ranked in the top 10. Joining Minnesota are No. 5 Penn State and No. 9 Illinois. Led by all-world senior hitter Stacey Gordon, the 6-0 Ohio State Buckeyes moved into the No. 25 spot, previously occupied by now unranked Wisconsin.

Home, sweet home: Wisconsin returns to action this weekend when it hosts the InnTowner Invitational. Virginia (7-1), Marshall (4-3) and Cincinnati (5-2) comprise this year’s InnTowner field.

“It’s going to be a great challenge,” Waite said. “For us, it’s more or less getting our act together on our side of the net, and I think if we create the tempo that we need to and the level of play, we’re going to be fine.”

The tournament is the Badgers’ last non-conference tune-up before beginning the Big Ten season. UW opens up league play at home Sept. 24 and 26 against Ohio State and Penn State. Last season, the Badgers went 2-0 at the InnTowner, defeating North Carolina State and Duke of the ACC.

–Ryan Knickmeyer and Joe Ziemer contributed to this report

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