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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Badgers make short work of InnTowner opponents

[media-credit name=’Derek Charles Montgomery’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′]Vball_DM_400[/media-credit]Wisconsin volleyball coach Pete Waite could not have asked for a better showing from his team at the InnTowner Invitational. The Badgers finished the weekend 3-0 en route to a tournament championship and took care of Virginia, Marshall and Cincinnati without losing a single game.

“This is ideal,” Waite said. “This is what every coach wants: to come in and really play solid volleyball.”

Looking to string together consistent play and establish momentum heading into the Big Ten season, Wisconsin (6-2) began the round-robin tournament by sweeping Virginia 3-0 Friday night.


The Badgers came out swinging in game one, grabbing a 5-0 lead and extending the advantage to 10-3 before the Cavaliers could recover and put together a run. Virginia trimmed the lead to two points three times, but could come no closer. The Badgers took control down the stretch and won handily by the count of 30-20. Senior Jill Odenthal led the offensive charge for UW, recording eight kills in the first game. Freshman setter Jackie Simpson tallied 15 of her match-total 34 assists in the game.

“The passing was really awesome tonight,” Simpson said. “It makes my job super easy, just throw it up there and let the middles bang away.”

Virginia stayed close in the early going of game two before Wisconsin opened up a 22-11 lead and sailed to another 30-20 win. The much-improved Badger block limited the Cavaliers to a -.026 hitting percentage and recorded 5.5 total blocks.

In game three, Virginia claimed its first lead of the match at 1-0. It would lead again at 2-1, but never again. A kill and a service ace from Sheila Shaw put UW up 19-13 and the Badgers never looked back. A game-point kill from Shaw gave Wisconsin the game by the score of 30-21 and the match by the score of 3-0.

In what would become a theme for the weekend, Shaw was the offensive star for the Badgers, hammering 15 kills while hitting .560 for the match. Shaw was named tournament MVP and was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Marian Weidner and Odenthal.

“I really thought watching her last spring and over the summer this was going to be a breakout year for her,” Waite said of Shaw. “She’s gained confidence every season in her all-around game. She’s worked very hard at every part of her game and I think she’s having a lot of fun with this team. I think we’re just going to continue to see good things out of her.”

UW picked right up where it left off Saturday afternoon against Marshall. The Badgers instantly opened up a huge advantage in game one. Before the Thundering Herd could recover, they trailed the hosts by the count of 12-3. Moments later, the scoreboard read 20-5, with Wisconsin well on its way to a 30-13 victory in game one.

Marshall showed resolve in the second game, hanging with Wisconsin as late as 16-14. However, the Badgers were simply too much and put the game away with a 14-5 run the rest of the way.

Game three was more of the same, as the Thundering Herd stayed close early, but were gradually overwhelmed by the bigger and more talented Badgers. Weidner, Aubrey Meierotto and Odenthal each had three kills as UW won 30-24. For the match, Weidner finished with 17 kills and a jaw-dropping .667 hitting percentage, while Shaw added 16 kills and hit .483.

“That’s what good volleyball is,” Waite said, “when you pass well enough and play defense well enough to get the setter the ball and she can go anywhere with it. We’ve got the tools offensively and now they’re starting to find out they can be a great team.”

Wisconsin capped the weekend with a 3-0 sweep of Cincinnati behind a dominant Badger block that set a three-game school record with 23.5 blocks.

Not as offensively sharp as they had been in the previous two matches, the Badgers fell behind by the score of 13-10 in game one and trailed as late as 18-17. With the match tied at 23-23, a Taylor Reineke kill ignited a 7-2 UW run that won the game.

The Bearcats put up another fight in game two, drawing within two points at 20-18. Once again, Wisconsin was tougher down the stretch and rode the tandem of Odenthal and Shaw to victory. Each recorded four kills in the game.

The story of game three was the 11 blocks recorded by the Wisconsin frontline. UW hit just .171 in the game, but shut down the Cincinnati attack with its block. The Bearcats led at 10-9, but that would be the last advantage they would hold. Wisconsin reeled off five quick points, then poured it on, taking a commanding 21-12 lead and winning the game 30-20.

The blocking seemed to be contagious for the Badgers, as three players–Odenthal, Simpson and Reineke–recorded career highs in the department.

“When someone gets one, it’s like, okay my turn next,” Shaw said. “It pumps everybody up.”

“Especially some of the ones the middles were getting tonight, the ones that are straight down,” Odenthal added. “Those really get everyone excited; it really makes you go after the next one.”

The tournament was the final weekend of non-conference play for Wisconsin, which opens up the Big Ten schedule against Ohio State Friday.

“I’m really pleased with the way the team played this weekend,” Waite said. “We came in here, after the two initial weekends of the season, still searching for solid defense, good blocking, good ball control and consistency, and we saw all those things these last three matches.”

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