August 2013 Archives

Real meaning of the 'changing of the guard'

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IMG_4785_blog.jpgWednesday morning began with breakfast at the hotel restaurant, a diverse buffet with hot and cold breakfast staples as well as more interesting early morning fare like cured meats and brown beans.

Then it was off on a walking tour of downtown Ottawa. The team marched a few blocks to Parliament Hill to watch the 10 a.m. Changing of the Guard ceremony. It's a pretty neat mix of pageantry, marching band and bagpipe music and military drills performed by the Ceremonial Guard.

After the ceremony, head coach Bo Ryan gathered the team for what seemed like an important message.

"Guys, I don't see what the big deal is about changing of the guards. Bronson (Koenig) and George (Marshall), go in and take out Ben (Brust) and Josh (Gasser). That's the changing of the guards," Ryan joked.

Pretty hard for this group to blend in - 20-some people walking around in matching white Wisconsin Basketball shirts, with many of the group towering over the standard tourists. Let's just say the players get approached a lot for photos and questions.

Then we met our tour guide, Alex, and got the historical background on Ottawa and some its major landmarks, visiting Parliament Hill, the Ottawa River, a view of Quebec, Rideau Canal, Sparks Street, Chateau Laurier, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and ByWard Market.
 
Photo Gallery of the Badgers in Ottawa

Temperatures were around 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), so it was a bit toasty for this area. In fact there is a heat advisory in effect here - feels pretty good if you ask this group.

Then it was back to the hotel for a little rest before tonight's game. Hard to believe we're in pregame routine mode in August, but we are. Pregame meal at 3 p.m., bus leaves at 5:30 p.m., game time at 7 p.m.

Wisconsin vs. Carleton
Raven's Nest Gym in the Alumni Hall
7 p.m. - RogersTV

Travel day - Ottawa arrival

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Greetings from Ottawa, Ontario!
Salutations du Canada!

Tuesday was a travel day for the Badgers as they began their eight-day, five-game exhibition tour of Canada. Following a bus ride to Chicago, 16 of the 17 Badgers players (Zach Bohannon is in Madison for orientation to the UW MBA program and will join the team in progress) and staff hopped a midday flight to Ottawa.

The team was met with English and French speaking Customs officials, to which Bo Ryan deadpanned, "I think those four years of French 1 are going to come in handy on this trip."

Upon arrival, the team was given literature on the history of Ottawa and Canada at large. Did you know Dan Aykroyd, Paul Anka, Alanis Morissette and Matthew Perry are Ottawa natives? Neither did we.

The drive in to downtown Ottawa showed off the beautiful riverside and historic buildings and gave the travel party just a glimpse of what tomorrow's walking tour of the city will hold.

After checking into the downtown hotel and grabbing a quick snack, it was off to the trip's only practice at the Raven's Nest at Carleton University. Bo Ryan led the team through an hour and a half workout, further acclimating the team to the international FIBA rules that will be enforced tomorrow night.

Then it was back to the hotel for a late bite to eat and a soft bed. Tomorrow is gameday.

What do the Badgers know about Canada?

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Prior to the Badgers' five-game exhibition tour of Canada, sophomore Sam Dekker quizzed some of his teammates on their knowledge (or lack thereof) of our neighbors to the north.

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Hello Badgers fans! Our team certainly has been busy since the last time I was able to report on the team activities and other behind-the-scenes information. 

One highlight of the previous week was the annual Red-White game on Tuesday night. The Red-White game is an intrasquad scrimmage that we use as preparation for the season. All of the players bring both their red and white jerseys in order to switch between positions and teams so the coaches are able to get a final look at various systems of play before our first exhibition game. Although this year's game was not open to the public and was a bit of a struggle due to some tired, sore, and bruised bodies, it was amazing to be back on McClimon and playing on a larger scale.

The Red-White game was the perfect warm up for our big season opener against Marquette that occurred this past Thursday night. Although it was only an exhibition match-up and doesn't count towards our rankings for the actual season, Marquette is one of our largest rivals. The Badgers have not beaten Marquette on our home field for as long as Paula has coached here in Madison. 

In addition, Paula always stresses the importance of having the goal to "win the state of Wisconsin". Therefore, going into the game we all knew it was going to be no small task to get the win. However, one great way to get our minds off of the preseason nerves before the big game was our coveted tradition of a pre-game dance party (Video Courtesy of Cara Walls: @Caarraaa). 


More commonly referred to as simply "DP's", these dance parties occur prior to every time that we take the field, both home and away. Some dance parties are more energized and hilarious than others, and let me tell you, the Marquette DP was one for the record books. Whether it was the team-wide "Wobble" or Ke$ha karaoke, the dance party was the perfect way to gain some energy and momentum to carry into warm-ups and the game.

Once warm-ups were over and the starting eleven took the field, it was clear that the team chemistry and energy from the legendary DP was going to feed into our play. For the first time in the Paula Wilkins era at UW, we not only beat Marquette, but also played a great first game to get the result of 5-1. Although it did feel amazing to sing "Varsity" for the first time on our home turf this season, we ended the game knowing that the true work had just begun.

Following Marquette, we were rewarded with the first full day off since the beginning of preseason besides some recovery and rehab. Some spent the day napping, some spent their time shopping, and some of us even chose to spend our time crafting and creating decorations for our new apartments and dorms. After our chance to recover and rejuvenate, we were excited to take the field for a weekend of practicing in preparation for the beginning of our actual season.  

This week we will show all of our preseason work and be put to the test as we start our regular season on the road at UConn and Illinois State. Hopefully I'll have a few good stories from the road trip! On Wisconsin

- Carly

Packer's Perspective: Summer review

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Last week was one for the record books. We were overwhelmed with move out, finals, and packing up to head home for some much anticipated down time before things gear up for training camp to kick off the new season. The summer has flown by for most of us here on the women's hockey team. The semester began back in June, and we were instantly bombarded with materials to be covered between June 17th and August 9th. Most of the team stuck around for the summer, taking classes and hanging out around town in the off time. We had a lot of fun here in Madison and as a group we are excited to head into next season and go to work.

A quick recap of the summer is somewhat impossible, but some of the highlights would be the slue of birthdays we celebrated as a group, a Brewers game (the first for a few including myself and the freshies Jenny Ryan and Sydney McKibbon), a visit to Alpine for the Dave Matthews concert, and when we weren't off doing fun activities such as these, we could often be found laying out on the Kohl Center lawn or soaking up the atmosphere of the Monona terrace.

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Another event that took place was a goodbye party for one of our own, Brianna Decker, who is making her way out to Boston to train for the upcoming Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. We are so proud of her, and all those representing the Badger family, and cannot wait to watch them on NBC Sports come February. Go get 'em girls!

After completing my final day of class, I loaded up the car, after packing up my apartment, and headed to the airport to fly home to Birmingham, Michigan. My flight was only delayed three hours this time, but I finally made it. After spending my first weekend back at home playing some pick up with my old man, I just finished a six-day boat trip with my family to Mackinac Island, the North Channel, and the Benjamin Islands. It is a family tradition, and I am excited to finish the summer off with the loving family that has been there for me through it all.

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In less than two weeks I will return to Madison to join my teammates, continuing our journey in preparation for next season. This summer has been a blast, and I cannot wait for what the future holds! Until next time, enjoy the last few days of your summers as well, and tune in for the next post! Thanks for reading.

On Wisconsin!

- Madison




Vogel's View: Preseason heats up as team preps for Marquette

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Well several days have passed and it's safe to say that we are in the full swing of preseason! Two-a-days have definitely taken a toll on our bodies, but luckily we've had plenty of team activities to break up some of the practicing. 

On Saturday morning we got back in the weight room with Steph (our strength trainer) for some agility work and a lifting session. Immediately afterwards, we broke up into groups of four and ran from Camp Randall to Picnic Point.  For those of you who don't know, Picnic Point is a gorgeous park right along the Lakeshore bike path. A majority of the park is a peninsula that juts out into Lake Mendota for some amazing views of the water and the city of Madison. 

Once all of the groups made it to the very tip of the peninsula, our coaches Paula and Kristen were waiting for us with bags of food so we could have a team picnic for some extra bonding time. The picnic was a definite success and was a great way to get in some rest, recovery, and team building before practice in the afternoon.  

The following day (Sunday), we got to enjoy another team activity after practice in the morning.  However, instead of staying on campus, we carpooled out to McKenna Meuer's house on the west side of Madison to enjoy a home cooked meal and a movie.  The feature film of choice was Billy Madison.  

Surprisingly enough, it was the first time many of the girls had ever seen the movie. Although the movie delivered some great laughs, the obvious hit of the night was the overflowing crockpot of the Meuer's famous cheesy potatoes. Needless to say, we all left with very full and happy stomachs.

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The various team activities have been a favorite of the players, and there are many more in store. But one of my personal favorites thus far was the dance battle after practice on Thursday. Thanks to our new freshman Micaela Powers, we had a Beats by Dre speaker system to really get the music playing loudly. 

For the opening round we selected team dance phenom Marta Wangard and the outgoing freshman goalie Meghan Ledin.  Marta stole the show with her perfectly performed "Dougie", but Meghan was a tough competitor. There is no doubt that it was the perfect duo to kick off the dance battles that will take place for the rest of the season.

I hope you all stayed tuned for more behind-the-scenes info from our preseason camp!  We can't wait to finally take the field against Marquette on Thursday and I'm sure there will be plenty to report on afterwards. 

On Wisconsin!

- Carly 

Vogel's View: Wisconsin Women's Soccer All-Access

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It's that time of year again! For the 26 of us on the University of Wisconsin women's soccer team summertime has faded away and preseason is officially underway.  My name is Carly Vogel, and I am a junior defender on the team majoring in journalism. For the next couple of weeks I will be giving you an all-access pass behind-the-scenes of the Badger women's preseason.

We have finally finished our first day of practice, and there is a lot to report on! Technically, our first day of the season was Monday, August 6th, which was filled with endless meetings and medical testing for the freshmen and newcomers. We all reunited at 8:45 in the morning for our normal round-robin of meetings with members of the UW administration, student-athlete development, compliance and sports medicine staffs, among others.

Afterwards, the freshmen were whisked away to the UW hospital for medical testing. Meanwhile, us upperclassmen had the tough job of relaxing until our next meeting that started at 2:00pm. That meeting pretty much flew by since all of us were only concerned about one thing and one thing only... "Second Christmas". This would be the term that our team uses for equipment dispersal at the beginning of each season, in which we are never skimmed on some awesome gear for workouts and practices! 

Once the excitement died down, we had our first official team meeting where we reviewed all team rules and got our schedule for the preseason. The last activity of opening day was some team bonding with the Newlywed Game.  Kristen Weiss (assistant coach) hosted as we learned some very interesting facts about our new teammates and each other. Some of the highlights: Almost everyone's favorite Olympic sport besides soccer is gymnastics, and almost everyone would call their dad if their car broke down and they needed AAA. 

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The first day definitely breezed by, but Tuesday was just a little more tiring. We started the day bright and early (only 9:00am) with our first official practice of the 2013 season! We started it off with a bang, immediately jumping into speed, agility, and fitness testing on the turf of McClain. Once we all recovered and scooted out to University Bay field, it was time for some fun. 

Our first training included competitive 4v4 and 8v8. It was truly great to be back on the field with everyone and such a blast. Once the first practice was officially a wrap, we returned to Camp Randall for some recovery ice baths. Needless to say, ice baths are not a favorite of many of the players on the team. We also learned pretty quickly that the key to survival in one of the cold tubs is wearing socks. 

After that torture, we finally had some lunch and headed back to our apartments for a much needed nap. The second session of the day was equally as exhausting.  1v1's, 3v2's, and 5v5 were definitely a challenge after the intense morning session that we had already completed. But to end the day on a really high note, Paula informed us that two people would be dance battling to conclude each day of practicing this preseason! Be sure to stay tuned for a recap from Thursday's opening round!

I can't wait to keep you all updated on all of the latest behind-the-scenes Badgers preseason highlights! On Wisconsin!

-Carly

Blog: Packer's Perspective

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Hey hockey fans! My name is Madison Packer and I am a senior on the Badgers women's hockey team. I am an English and creative writing major here at Wisconsin, and one of my passions along with hockey, is writing. This season I am teaming up with our athletic communications staff and my fellow Badgers to bring you a look at life as a member of the women's hockey team. I will be posting a blog, to keep fans and followers in the loop about games, activities and life in general for myself and my teammates. The blog will consist of game and practice information, behind the scenes experiences, and video interviews with my teammates on aspects related to our season and life away from the rink.

My intention with this blog is to inform fans about the players, and give you a look at the girl behind the mask. There will be opportunities for you to post to my blog and have questions answered by a Badger, updates about life on the road, and first hand reflections post game from the point of view of a player. The blog will be monitored and updated every week, several times, and will be the most accurate and reliable way to keep up with the team. I am looking forward to this opportunity and reaching out to the fans who have been supportive of our program over the years!

Stay tuned for the first official post, as I will report on the summer life we have been living these last eight weeks in Madison! The first blog will be packed with information from over the summer, and is something you won't want to miss. On Wisconsin!