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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


UW finishes second in Molten Classic to begin road trip

[media-credit name=’BEN CLASSON/Herald photo’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′]VB_9_BC[/media-credit]The 10th ranked UW volleyball team (5-1) embarked on a 10-game road trip last weekend at the BYU Molten Classic and started off by dropping a 5-game match to host BYU.

With that loss, the Badgers' outside chance of having an undefeated season came to an abrupt halt.

"You always hope you can," head coach Pete Waite said. "But it happens so rarely. BYU is a ranked team, and you go in their environment, and they just get that extra boost. We bring them back to our place and it might be a whole different story."


Even though the Badgers lost to the Cougars, Waite believes his team will learn from its mistakes and continue to improve as the season progresses.

"It was really a great match, actually," Waite said of the BYU series. "[BYU] played phenomenally, just went down to 15-13 in the fifth, but we learned a lot from that, and it was really an NCAA playoff atmosphere, which was great for our team. We'll take some things from that and move on."

Following a 2-1 finish at the BYU Molten Classic, the Badgers have seven more road games before they return home Oct. 5 to take on the Boilers.

Wisconsin continues its road trip this weekend, playing three games at the Loyola Marymount Classic, where it will take on Loyola Marymount, Tulane and Columbia.

Despite playing so much on the road to start the season, Waite sees this as an opportunity for his team to grow.

"I think the toughest thing is just time away from home," Waite said regarding playing on the road. "They're comfortable here at home because they generate so much energy from our crowd and from being here and gain so much confidence in their game.

"The benefit is getting used to being on the road and acting like it's no big deal."

After a bye week, Wisconsin finishes its road trip by opening Big Ten play with matches at Illinois, Michigan, Northwestern, and Michigan State.

"We start the Big Ten season on the road for four matches, and so it'll be a challenge right away," Waite said. "But on the other end of the scale, we're home quite a bit at the other half of the season, so we're excited about that."

Career weekend

Several Badgers were able to put up career numbers over the weekend.

In the early game Saturday against Northern Iowa, sophomore right-side hitter Katherine Dykstra put down 16 kills to double her previous career best.

"Dykstra really played some great ball," Waite said. "That was great for her since she didn't get a lot of playing time last year, but she's a great athlete."

Sophomore outside hitter Caity DuPont tied her career high with nine kills and posted a career best .533 hitting percentage while committing only one error.

The freshman class also posted career-bests against Northern Iowa. Outside hitter Allison Wack set a career high with three blocks and defensive specialist Kim Kuzma led the team with a career best 18 digs.

"Kuzma defensively as a freshman stepped up a little bit," Waite said. "We think she'll be getting some more playing time."

During the night match against American University, three more Badgers were able to post career bests.

Junior middle blocker Audra Jeffers recorded career highs in assists (5) and blocks (6), while junior Morgan Salow also set career highs in services aces (3) and blocks (3).

As the starter for the match, redshirt freshman Nikki Klingsporn distributed 47 assists, leading Wisconsin to another sweep.

"[Klingsporn's] an excellent player and sets a different style," Waite said. "She actually sets the middle offense a little bit better than Jackie does and connects better with the hitters and she brings a jump serve that's very good.

"She got some great play against American, so that was a good experience for her. And Morgan Salow did the same thing. She came in and she can play in the middle or the right side. We were able to test our depth a little bit and give some players some experience."

Simpson still improving

Senior setter Jackie Simpson enjoyed a breakout year during her junior campaign. She was named to the All-Big Ten team and second team All-American after averaging 12.85 assists per game, 2.05 digs per game and 1.04 kills per game. She was also named Big Ten and AVCA National Player of the Week following Wisconsin's wins over Penn State and Ohio State.

However, Waite believes Simpson has brought her game to another level so far this season.

"[Simpson] is setting a lot better than she was last year, and she was named all American last year," Waite said. "I'll just tell you, she was much more calm and relaxed on the court."

So far her improved play has also shown up in her stats. She is averaging 13.29 assists per game, 2.50 digs per game and 1.07 kills per game.

"She's playing defense 10 times better than she ever has," Waite said. "It's really clicking into gear for her as a senior, so we're pretty excited about that."

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