Wisconsin preps for match with Indiana

first_imgMATTHEW KUTZ/herald photoAs the Wisconsin Badgers’ volleyball team tips off against Indiana Friday night at the UW Fieldhouse, a number of individual milestones could be reached.Sophomore libero Jocelyn Wack will attempt to extend her double-digit dig streak to 48 consecutive games, and continue to chase Griselle Lopez-Pereira’s (Virginia Commonwealth) streak of 63.Senior co-captain Aubrey Meierotto is just nine kills short of reaching the 1,000-mark for her career. She would become only the 15th player in school history to achieve this feat, joining the likes of Jill Odenthal, Erin Bryd, and Sherisa Livingston in the UW record books.And last but not least, head coach Pete Waite, already the school’s all-time winningest coach, will be going for his 100th conference win as he is currently 99-27 in Big Ten play in his seventh year at Wisconsin.Even with the potential for a handful of new records, don’t expect the Badgers’ mindset to be on anything but their match.The UW volleyball team knows the importance of every Big Ten contest and won’t be overlooking a rather sub-par Indiana team that is currently just 1-5 in conference play.”Coming into any match, you can never take any team for granted,” sophomore setter Jackie Simpson said. “We play in a conference where every night you’re going as hard as you can and we respect any team that comes into our gym or any gym that we go into, we have to really respect every team equally.””[The Big Ten is] very competitive,” Aubrey Meierotto said. “Every night is going to be a really hard game. Every team in the Big Ten is a really good team so it’s going to be a fight.””Every year the Big Ten is really competitive and we’ve just got to come out every match and fight, and I guess take one match at a time,” senior co-captain Sheila Shaw said.So although Friday’s match won’t have the same hype that Minnesota or Penn State brought with them, Indiana will not be taken lightly by any means from the Badgers’ perspective.While Indiana may not be in the upper echelon of Big Ten teams, they still present a legitimate challenge for Wisconsin in a number of ways.Senior right side hitter Rachel Gerling is one of the best servers in the conference. She currently leads the Big Ten in service aces with 40 on the year (0.68 per game).On the defensive side of the net, senior middle blocker Mandy Eberle, a Sussex, Wis., native, leads the conference with 29 blocks in 15 Big Ten games.Also, freshman setter Laura Holms has been a welcome addition to the Hoosier line-up, as she is averaging 11.51 assists per game on the season, comparable to Wisconsin’s very own Jackie Simpson at 12.03 per game.Another main concern for Friday’s match is this week’s schedule. Typically, two games are both played on the weekend, but with a Wednesday game this week, the team may be out of routine and only has one day of preparation following the match against Northwestern.”It always is [difficult with a mid-week game],” Waite said. “Even for the players — some of them are still at classes or have different things going on so some have to be late, but I think they’ve adjusted well to that.”Nevertheless, Waite is confident going into this weekend with his balanced Badger team.”[Our balance] is why we’ve done well over the season,” Waite said. “People can’t key on one or two of our players. I think we’ve got a good number that are very strong offensively and they come from different areas of the court.”Not only does UW have great balance from position to position, with five players averaging over two kills per game, but they also have great versatility, as many of their players can move from one position to another.”That’s something we’re trying to do to expand our game a little bit and become more versatile,” Waite said.last_img

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