Badgers welcome in-state rival for spring match

first_imgBRYAN FAUST/Herald photoAny fans of the UW volleyball team that have been wanting to get their fill of the squad this spring will get one chance to do so, and that chance is tonight.In their only home match of the spring that closely resembles a regular-season match, the Badgers face off with in-state competitor UW-Milwaukee tonight at 7 p.m. at the Field House.Wisconsin head coach Pete Waite said the atmosphere will be slightly relaxed, as the scoring will differ from the typical best-of-five format, but that both teams will come out and ready to play hard.”We want to get court time, and they want to get court time,” Waite said. “We’ll for sure go four, and then coaches will talk and see if we want a fifth [game].”The Badgers, who have reached the Elite Eight round of the season-ending NCAA tournament in each of the previous two years, last played a regular season-type match on March 15 over their Spring Break trip to Hawaii.Wisconsin, on that day, dropped four of five games to the University of Hawaii, a program that has been perennially regarded as one of the best in the nation.Outside hitter Audra Jeffers, the Badgers’ top offensive player from a year ago, said that the team hasn’t done much scouting on UW-Milwaukee, but the match will serve as a good opportunity to keep working on new blocking and defensive techniques for this season.”We’ve just prepared and worked on our weaknesses, we haven’t really worked towards anything that we’re going to do against [the Panthers] because we don’t know much about them,” Jeffers said.Two familiar faces to the Wisconsin faithful will be missing on the court tonight, as the team continues to move on without graduating seniors Aubrey Meierotto and Sheila Shaw on the roster.With few spots in the lineup opening up, players like Amy Bladow and Morgan Salow, after seeing limited time off the bench in 2005, are expected to see playing time tonight, as is Katherine Dykstra, a redshirt freshman from last season.All three of those players will be competing for starting spots in the fall, but it’s relatively clear thus far in spring practices that each of their roles should dramatically increase this season.Fans will also be able to watch returning players such as Jeffers, outside hitter Maria Carlini, libero Jocelyn Wack, and others help take on UWM in the matchup tonight.On the other side of the net, UW-Milwaukee is coming off a 2005 campaign in which it compiled a record of 20-9 and captured the Horizon League regular-season title.The Panthers are coached by Kathy Litzau, who has found success against UW-Madison in the past. She defeated Waite and the Badgers on Sept. 1, 1999 in four games at the Klotsche Center in Milwaukee.Litzau has been responsible for a major resurrection of the UW-Milwaukee volleyball program in her 14 years at the university. She took over in 1993 as the head coach of a team that won just three games the year prior.But slowly, Litzau got the team to garner more victories each year, and has overseen eight seasons of at least 20 wins.”She has had that team at the top of the top of the conference every year,” said Waite, who also coached against Litzau when he was at Northern Illinois. “She’s won a number of conference championships, so [Litzau] has got to be doing something right and doing it really well to win those championships.”The Panthers’ 2006 lineup features returning starters Sarah Moore, Cheryl Hegemann, and Becky Peters. Moore was an honorable mention on the all-Midwest Region, and Peters was named the Horizon League Co-Newcomer of the Year, both awards coming a season ago.Admission to tonight’s event, unlike regular season matches in the fall, is free to the public. Waite said he expects a sizable crowd to come out and watch the Badgers in their final Field House affair before the end of August.”We’ve always drawn well in the spring, usually we’ll have 800 or 1000 at a spring game. It’s free for all the students, if they didn’t get to see us in the fall, they can come out now and watch, it’ll be a good time.”last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *