Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Johnson returns to UW Fieldhouse in Spring Classic

The UW volleyball team was more than glad to be back in the Field House this spring, as it hosted the Wisconsin Spring Classic Saturday.

In fact, even upcoming graduate Aubrey Meierotto couldn't wait to get back and watch her former team return to action from the stands.

But nobody was happier to be back than Iowa State head coach Christy Johnson.


Johnson, a Wisconsin assistant coach from 1997 to 2004, embraced the opportunity to get back to Madison and see many people she worked with at UW.

"It was a blast," Johnson said. "It's good to see all my old friends and the players that I coached.

"I made a lot of good friends here. I miss the players, I miss the coaching staff a lot, and I loved the city of Madison, so I miss that, also."

And Wisconsin welcomed her back with open arms.

UW head coach Pete Waite was thoroughly impressed with how she's turned around her program in just one season.

"She has trained her team well. [The coaching staff has] done a great job with ball handling, aggressiveness and confidence," Waite said. "They actually beat the other two teams pretty handily today.

"I would much rather have her on my bench than on the other side, but it's still good to have her here."

Setter Katie Lorenzen was ecstatic to see her old teacher once again. She named Johnson the one coach who taught her everything.

"She was my mentor for a solid three years, so it was neat to see her again," Lorenzen said. "She basically started from scratch with me, and I started over, so she [basically] taught me everything."

The team may have been anticipating Johnson's comeback appearance a little too much, however, as Wisconsin tipped off the Classic with a slow start, dropping the first match of three games timed to 25 minutes 2-1 (33-35, 29-33, 39-32) to Northern Iowa.

But Wisconsin soon got back on track, beating Marquette 2-1 (32-25, 35-27, 28-37) before playing its best ball against Johnson's Iowa State team.

"We started really slow today, and just did not have our act together," said Waite. "It was nice to see that every game that came after that we improved. We also saw some improvement in Katie (Lorenzen) as a setter, Audra (Jeffers) hitting out of the back row, (and Amy) Bladow on the right side did a nice job."

Versus Iowa State, Wisconsin turned up its intensity a notch, going on a scoring tear in the first match by scoring 41 points en route to a 2-1 win (41-27, 30-38, 32-27).

Johnson believed the Badgers wanted to perform especially well in front of their old coach's new team.

"When it's personal, it always means a little more, and you play a little tougher," she said.

"They should want to show a former coach how well they're doing and how much she helped them," Waite added. "It wasn't part of my plan, but it sure worked out well."

The Classic ended with one final 25-minute game between the two teams, and Wisconsin just barely edged out its former coach's squad 40-38.

After the Cyclones tied the score at 38 off an Erin Boeve joust, Wisconsin gained the lead again due to a Mary Bisenius service error. Bladow ended the match with an emphatic kill.

Wisconsin and Iowa State tied for the Classic's best record at 6-4, with Northern Iowa right behind at 5-4 and Marquette at an abysmal 2-7.

Marquette head coach Pati Rolf was so upset with her team's play that she made them run lines during the first game against Wisconsin before calling a timeout.

"She's trying to make a point," Waite said. "I think she was upset that they missed a few serves in a row, and they just weren't focused and ready to play.

"I know our players didn't like seeing that because they thought I would do the same."

Five more games were actually scheduled for the tournament, but Northern Iowa and Marquette decided to leave early for their respective campuses.

Wisconsin continues its spring schedule with a home game versus UW-Milwaukee April 12 and has a lot of improvement to do before then, according to its head coach.

"We're now two weeks into [the spring season] and a couple of matches into it, and we learn every time we step on the court," Waite said. "We still need to be better blockers. I think we need to get across the net more and a little faster on our hands. Serving was better today, and that was nice to see.

"We'll just continue with what we're doing."

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