Badgers prepare for string of tough matches

first_imgThe Wisconsin volleyball team will face its most challenging opponent of its season in No. 10 Nebraska on Saturday night in Lincoln, Neb.Nebraska marks the first in a string of six consecutive matches against ranked foes for No. 23 Wisconsin (13-1, 3-0).Nebraska is the Big Ten leader in kills with 14.29 per set, and it boasts four players averaging more than 2.5 kills per set, including senior outside hitter Kelsey Robinson. She ranks fourth in the league with 4.21 kills and leads the Cornhuskers with nearly four digs per set.Head coach Kelly Sheffield said Robinson is a definite candidate for Player of the Year in college volleyball, but what makes Nebraska such a scary opponent is how well they spread the ball.“There are no weaknesses [for Nebraska],” Sheffield said. “There are teams that we’re playing that you can kind of ignore a hitter or two, and this isn’t one of them. Every player is not only capable of putting the ball away – every player is capable of carrying the ball club.”Junior middle blocker Dominique Thompson said that spreading the offense is a strength of the Badgers. She said while in recent matches freshman setter Lauren Carlini has targeted the middle blockers for an offensive boost, spreading the ball around is preferred.“It makes the game a lot easier if we have even attacking,” Thompson said.Senior outside hitter Annemarie Hickey said that Wisconsin’s win over Iowa Wednesday night didn’t display the level of consistency the Badgers are looking for. She said that the team has been working on tough passing and serving, the two key areas Wisconsin will need to be solid in to succeed in the Big Ten.Hickey said while Wisconsin didn’t show it’s consistency against Iowa, a never-say-die attitude will be imperative against a well-oiled Nebraska offense.“A lot of teams that we’ve been playing have been saying that we’re a really good defensive team and a really good, scrappy team,” Hickey said. “I think that’s what we need to be focusing on more, is more of not letting the ball hit the ground; keeping it in a position where Lauren [Carlini] can set all three options.”Sheffield said that earlier in the spring season, UW seemed to get frustrated at its inability to find consistent rhythm. Even though the team gave up lengthy offensive streaks to Iowa Wednesday, he said his team handled the adversity with poise.“We stayed with it last night,” Sheffield said. “We didn’t give up on ourselves. We battled as a team. And we grinded – you’re going to have matches like that.”last_img