Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


UW to host IU, UM


The 11th-ranked Wisconsin volleyball team will
continue its home stand this week, facing off against Illinois Wednesday and
Michigan Friday.

Wisconsin split its series last weekend, losing to Michigan
State last Friday and beating Northwestern Saturday. The loss to the Spartans
was the Badgers' first loss to an unranked opponent since September 2006.

"We were definitely pushing too hard and pressing a lot
where we really need to sit back and play our game and relax," senior setter
Jackie Simpson said.

Despite dropping four spots in the polls, the Badgers are
excited to get back on the court this week. Head coach Pete Waite said a
shorter week to prepare did not hinder his team. He believes it allows the team
to carry the momentum it gained against Northwestern into the next match.

Last weekend, the Badgers were plagued by service errors,
something the team would like to improve for the next two matches. In their
third game against Northwestern, they had six service errors. In practice, the
team was able to work hard to make its serves more accurate.

"It's a matter of if you can really put a punch on the ball,
make it move and get the passers on their heels," Waite said. "That's what we
have to do a better job of. We were doing a good job of that earlier in the
season, and we've got to get back to doing that."


The team also focused on playing with a more relaxed style.
Waite told his players they need to play aggressive without trying to be "too
perfect" and to play with a passion.

"He said that we were kinda being tense and stressed out
about things," senior co-captain Taylor Reineke said. "He thinks we need to
relax a little and just have fun and enjoy our sport, you know, and we really
didn't do that this weekend. That's one thing we are working on now."

Against Illinois, Wisconsin will have to show the passion
Waite talked about in practice. The last time the two teams met, Wisconsin won
3-1, and they are currently on a five-match winning streak against Illinois.

The Illini's primary weapons are freshmen outside hitter
Laura DeBruler and libero Ashley Edinger. Edinger, who is third in the Big Ten
in digs, had 37 against Northwestern Friday. DeBruler leads the Big Ten in
kills with 485 and averages five kills per game.

"As a freshman, [DeBruler] is putting up huge numbers,"
Waite said. "She's a freshman of the year candidate in the conference and very
few people have slowed her down, so she is good on offense and defense."

Though the Badgers have won their last four meetings against
the Wolverines, the game against Michigan will prove to be as big as their
first meeting this year, when the teams were ranked ninth and 10th respectively.

Since losing to the Badgers 3-0, the Wolverines have lost
six of their last 11 matches and are on a three-game losing streak. They have
since dropped out of the top 25 as well.

Though they have not been performing well as of late,
Michigan still ranks in the top five of most of the major categories, including
team kills, assists and hitting percentage. It also leads the Big Ten in digs,
averaging 18.33 as a team per game. 

"Michigan was ranked in the top ten earlier this year,"
Waite said. "They've been taking some losses here and there and splitting on
the weekend, so they dropped out, but they are still a very strong team."

The Wolverines are led by senior outside hitter Katie
Brudzinski, who ranks fifth in the Big Ten in kills, averaging 4.41 per game.
She also leads the league in service aces, averaging almost .5 per game.

UW will attempt to sweep the series this week and hope
league leader PSU drops a match, as the Badgers are two games behind the Nittany
Lions and play them in College Park next weekend. But, the team is not worried
about future games; it is focused on the task at hand.

"I think we have always done a good job on focusing on the
whole '1-0' concept, and I think that is something we have always done as a
team, since I've been here this past four years," Simpson said. "The Big Ten is
such a strong conference and anything can happen on any given night, and we
know that."









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