February 2014 Archives

Packer's Perspective: Playoff Edition

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Hey Badger Fans!

The time is here! Its playoffs, the best time of the season, and the team is more excited than ever to hit the ice tonight and get one game under our belt. I caught up with a few teammates about the game, getting their thoughts on heading into playoffs, and for freshman forward Sydney McKibbon, what her thoughts were heading into her first set of college playoffs ever.

"I wouldn't say that I'm nervous, but more anxious to get the games going. This is the best time of the year to be playing hockey," McKibbon said. "When you get into playoff time anything can happen and I think that's what makes it so exciting. Every team starts over again and no one is guaranteed anything. I am looking forward to the energy we are going to have in LaBahn this weekend with the band and all the fans."

Sophomore forward Erika Sowchuk also agreed about the exciting games heading into the weekend.

"I am looking forward to the intensity," Sowchuk said, "every game is a nail biter and every team is putting it all on the line. We need to compete for the whole game and show a lot of tenacity."

One final teammate I caught up with was Katy Josephs. A key right-winger on a line with Blayre Turnbull and Brittany Ammerman, who often goes unrecognized, is essential to the teams success this weekend, and she fully recognizes the effort that will be necessary for the team to advance to the WCHA playoffs.

"I am looking forward to seeing our tam give it all we've got," Josephs said. "Everyone knows that now it's do or die and the intensity of every game will go up for our team as well as for other teams. It's always fun to see what happens during playoffs because there will be teams that make it to tournaments that you don't expect. It makes for a fun and exciting couple of weeks."

The team can all agree on two things: the weekend will be full of intensity and nothing is guaranteed. The team knows that we need to bring 100% each night for 60 minutes in order to advance on in playoffs, and we need to focus on playing our game and doing the little things that have helped us to find success up to this point in the season.

"In order to be successful this weekend we need to play the way we've been playing all year," McKibbon said. "We need to come out fast to set the tone for the series this weekend and play a consistent 60 minutes. I think that if everyone plays their role and works hard we will be very successful."

Josephs agrees that we need to stick to our game and not worry ourselves with changing too much heading into the weekend.

"I think as a team we just have to keep doing what we have been all year which is playing and competing as hard as we can but also having fun doing it," Josephs said. "I think one of the biggest reasons we've been successful this year is because everyone looks forward to coming to the rink every day with a positive attitude. This results in a strong work ethic where everyone is pushing themselves to be better."

The team hits the ice tonight at 7 p.m. to face off for the first game of the series against Minnesota State. We hope to see all the fans out and cheering us to victory as we continue on our journey to the ultimate goal. If you like Badger Hockey, this will be a series you don't want to miss!

Until next time, thanks for reading, and On Wisconsin!

- Madison


Packer's Perspective: It's Playoff Time

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Hey Badger Fans!

It has been a while since the last post, and a lot has happened for the Badger squad. First, I would like to thank all those who came out and supported the team as we played in front of 13,573 fans at Fill the Bowl. It was a great experience to shatter the attendance record once again, and it was an honor for the senior class to be able to do it in the Kohl Center in front of our home fans where our journey began back four years ago.

Last weekend the team was in Mankato. There was a bad storm that hit up in Minnesota Thursday afternoon, so we loaded the bus up late Wednesday night and got in to Mankato at about 2 in the morning on Thursday. The team was able to sleep in before we headed over as a group to Applebee's to watch the USA and Canada Olympic Women's Hockey Gold Medal Game. There was quite the tension between the Canadians and Americans around the tables, but it was a hard fought game, and we are proud of all our Badger alumni regardless of the outcome. It was a fun atmosphere and a great way to bond as a team. After the game we made our way over to the rink for a practice, before returning back to the hotel for dinner.

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Friday morning the team woke up had a team skate and then watched another battle between USA and Canada, this time it was the men's hockey teams squaring off. Again, the Canadians were the happier group leaving the room, but it was again a fun experience for the team. Our game that night was a hard fought battle, and we came out on top 5-1. The team came out fast and battled from the start and we were happy to get the first win on the road, not to mention the two textbook breakaway goals back to back that were scored by Blayre Turnbull (oh and both were short handed!).

Saturday morning we woke up and watched the men's bronze medal game. After the game we got some coffee as a team, watched film to improve from the night before. The team had one goal in mind, to finish the regular season on a positive note, and we were successful getting a 3-1 victory. After the game we loaded up the bus and headed back to Madison, but not before stopping off to grab some frozen yogurt. It is extremely rare for the bus to stop for any reason, and the team was pumped when we pulled in to the yogurt bar. After getting back to Madison around 10:30 p.m. we headed home to get some much needed rest.

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The team had a recovery day Sunday to get ready for the upcoming stretch and we are excited for the journey that lies ahead. Monday was the first practice of the post season, and the team was full of energy. The post season is when the real excitement begins, and we are looking forward to grinding it out in the hunt for the opportunity to play for a championship. The post season starts this weekend as we host Minnesota State Friday night, and we hope all those who can make it come out to support us. It should be a great atmosphere and the team is feeling good about where we are and the potential we have heading in to playoffs. Crazy things happen when playoffs come around, and we are looking forward to playing our best hockey of the season when it matters most.

Thank you to all those in Madison and back home who have supported us up to this point in the journey! The team is getting ready for a tough couple of weeks, and we are confident in our ability to compete amongst the best teams in the country!

Check back in at the end of the week to get anticipations from players about what to expect heading into playoffs, and how a few of the freshmen plan to prepare for their first college playoff experience!

Until next time, thanks for reading and On Wisconsin!

 - Madison

 

Badger Blog: Resilience is the recipe for future success

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In this week's Badger Blog, head coach Yvette Healy explores the opportunity her team has to bounce back from a tough start to the season and make a statement in the days and weeks to come.

Resilience:

This is a core skill we all wish we had more of. It's important to sports, and critical to life. Can you bounce back from failure? Can you overcome adversity? Do you have the ability to persevere when things get tough? If you really want to train resilience, you need failure.

Congratulations Badger softball, we have an amazing opportunity to train resilience this week. We're 4-5 so far this season, after a tough 2-3 performance in Miami. The question is, where do we go from here? It's so easy to get emotional, and make excuses when we fail. You can ignore the problem and hope it will go away, or face the issues head on. Sometimes it takes a little failure and adversity early on to remind everyone how hard this journey really is. If we could cruise for one moment, one game, or one tournament, then every goal and accomplishment in May wouldn't be nearly as gratifying.

Even after a good season last year, it's so important for every player in the program to understand how much work it takes to be consistently good each and every day. Consistent performance is path, not a destination. Great players find a way to bring energy, enthusiasm and focus every day. College athletes have to work for consistency, every day, every game and every season to continue to grow.

This spring is certainly a gut check for our badger softball athletes and staff. There are challenges each and every game. There's adversity every pitch, and every inning. Yet somehow you can't prepare for how it feels. You really have to live through strikeouts, losses, error's and giving up home runs to experience it, learn from it, flush it and move on. These are the times that teach resilience. When you pour your heart into something and lose, that's when you're ready to learn. These are the moments that character is formed. If you dig deep, take responsibility for your performance, learn, make changes, and truly work hard, we'll all emerge stronger and tougher.

We're learning resilience right now, each and every morning we wake up, get back to work, and get better. Our goal this week is to keep learning, and to play better softball. That's all there is to do. 

Packer's Perspective: Border Battle Part II

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Hey Badger Fans!

The time is here, and the team has never been more prepared than we are now to step up to the plate and take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The team has worked hard all week to study film, execute plays, and fine tune systems, but more importantly, we have been preparing all season to take on the number one ranked team in front of our home crowd. This is the biggest series of the season so far, and we are excited for the opportunity to play at home and finish the regular season off at home with two great games.

We have had a great week of practice, and everyone is feeling good heading into the weekend. The team is looking forward to the opportunity and know we are prepared to play the best six periods of hockey yet this year Friday and Saturday night.

When talking with junior forward Blayre Turnbull, she was excited, pumped up, but most of all focused heading into the weekend.

"There are a few things I am looking forward to this weekend," Turnbull said. "I always look forward to playing the Gophers, but this weekend is especially special since we will get to play in the Kohl Center (Saturday night) and hopefully break a record. Another thing I am looking forward to is having my family in town. There are few opportunities for them to get here throughout the season so it will be great to have them in the stands this weekend."

Sophomore power house defenseman Courtney Burke had similar emotions about the upcoming series.

"Just playing in a rivalry against Minnesota is always a game we get up for and it's even that the games are in front of all our friends and family," Burke said. "Both players, like most of the team, are looking forward to having friends and family here this weekend, but also recognize that what goes on inside the glass is our primary focus."

This weekend has a great deal of activity, from Senior Night Friday to Fill the Bowl Saturday, but the team knows what is most important is getting the much needed wins to make these moments that much more memorable.

"We need to focus on playing Badger hockey," Burke said. "Play the whole 60 minutes each night and out work the other team. Those are some of our strengths and we need to stick to them all weekend."

Turnbull could not agree more that hard work and sticking to what we have done all season is what will make the difference for us this weekend.

"For our team to be successful it is going to be super important to stick to our game," Turnbull said. "If we play well defensively like we have been lately, things will fall into place offensively." It is no secret that the Gophers have a number of threats offensively, but sticking to our game and taking care of our end will lead to opportunities for us to capitalize in the offensive zone.

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This weekend is set to be the best series of the season. With both teams coming off long winning streaks, and the competitive nature of both squads, the games are sure to be a fast pace battle from start to finish. We are looking forward to the puck drop Friday night, and going to work as we battle the number one team in our own barn.

The puck drops Friday night at 7 p.m. and we hope to see all our fans out to cheer us on. For those who can't make the game Friday, be sure to clear your calendar for Saturday night 7 p.m. as we will play for the first time in two years in the Kohl Center, looking to break the NCAA attendance record for a third time! Come on out and cheer us to victory as we continue on our journey to the finish line this season!

Until next time, thanks for reading, and ON WISCONSIN!!

-Madison Packer

Packer's Perspective: Back From the Buckeye State

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Six Badgers net invitations to NFL combine

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Montee Ball's performance at the 2013 NFL Combine helped make him a second-round pick of the Denver Broncos.

- Invitations: 2014 NFL Scouting Combine  |  NFL.com Combine Coverage

After strong showings in their respective all-star games, six seniors from the Wisconsin football team will take the next step toward improving their draft stock when they head to the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine.

Jared Abbrederis, Chris Borland, Ryan Groy, Jacob Pedersen, Dezmen Southward and James White all received invitations to the combine, which is set for Feb. 22-25 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

The Badgers' contingent makes up one-sixth of the 36 total invitations extended to Big Ten players. It also matches Ohio State for the most invitees of any Big Ten team and makes UW one of 13 programs nationally to boast more than five invitations.

Abbrederis, Borland, Pedersen, Southward and White all received good reviews from their participation in the Senior Bowl last month, while Groy was well-received at the East-West Shrine Game.

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Alabama - 12
LSU - 11
Florida State - 9
Notre Dame - 9
Florida - 8
Stanford - 8
Missouri - 7
North Carolina - 7
USC - 7
Baylor - 6
Ohio State - 6
Oregon - 6
Wisconsin - 6

2014 NFL Scouting Combine Invitations, Big Ten Teams
Wisconsin - 6
Ohio State - 6
Iowa - 5
Michigan State - 4
Michigan - 3
Nebraska - 3
Penn State - 3
Minnesota - 2
Illinois - 1
Indiana - 1
Northwestern - 1
Purdue - 1

Packer's Perspective: Back to battle the Buckeyes

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Badger Blog: Embracing the challenge

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In this week's Badger Blog, head coach Yvette Healy previews Wisconsin's first games of the season, as it travels to the Sunshine State to participate in the USF-Wilson Demarini Tournament.

This weekend will certainly be a challenge. In fact, the entire spring will test our will. We'll be put under pressure day-in and day-out. There's no relief in this schedule. There are no gimmie games, or easy wins. Would you really want it any other way?

Galvanize. That's our word of the day. Sometimes it takes great pressure for things to truly come together. The more you face adversity, and survive, the more prepared and protected you'll be in the future. It's like battling the flu early in life, you're simply growing stronger, building your immune system, preparing your body to be healthier, stronger and more resilient the next time you're exposed.  Sometimes you need a shock, jolt, or near miss to really get sparked into living.

Malcom Gladwell talks about this empowerment in "David and Goliath". He looks at the Luftwaffe Nazi bombings on London. The people of London actually grew stronger every time there was a near miss. Each bomb that dropped, that they survived, made them feel more resilient and invincible. Courage and resolve rose all over the country, because of the adversity they faced and overcame, head on.

So let's embrace the challenge of playing three games against top 25 teams this weekend. Sure Florida won 58 games last year, and made it to the World Series. South Florida has 11 NCAA appearances, an All-American pitcher who got them to the World Series, and wins more than 80 percent of their games at home. It's more fun being the underdog. Maybe we've been indoors for every practice this winter, maybe we haven't seen the sun shine yet, it only makes the opportunity more exciting.

Reaction to Russell and Co.

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CBSSports.com

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ESPN.com

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ESPN.com (NFL home)

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NFL.com

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CNN.com

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Seattle Times

Wilson leads Seahawks to Super Bowl XLVIII title

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- Photo Gallery; Badgers in Super Bowl XLVIII

You can't say Russell Wilson never saw this coming. The professional success that has followed Wilson's season at Wisconsin may have come as a surprise to some -- he's "too short" to be an NFL quarterback, remember -- but it certainly was not to Wilson.

"At the beginning of the year, I told the guys, 'Why not us?'" he said in the moments that followed a dominant 43-8 win for his Seattle Seahawks over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday.

Of course, Wilson's visions of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy go way to back to a time when his pro prospects were still murky. Speaking after a heartbreaking loss to Oregon in the 2012 Rose Bowl, Wilson said, "To lose the way we did, it's only going to make me stronger in the future. It's going to help me figure out something else, maybe, down the road. Maybe win a Super Bowl. You never know."

Now we know.

Wilson's Seahawks didn't just win -- they dominated. A spectacular defensive effort saw Seattle force four turnovers and snuff out one of the most prolific offenses in NFL history while Wilson went 18-for-26 through theair for 206 yards and a pair of touchdown passes. He also ran for 26 yards.

Those efforts made Wilson and teammates Chris Maragos and O'Brien Schofield the 11th, 12 and 13th former Badgers to claim a Super Bowl ring. Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell -- who guided UW to a Rose Bowl title and finished his career as the Badgers' all-time leading passer -- will get one, too.

On the other side, two-time UW All-American Montee Ball wrapped up his rookie campaign by rushing six times for 1 yard.

Russell and Montee: Teammates to Foes

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Super Bowl XLVIII: By the Numbers

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What they're saying: Badgers in Super Bowl XLVII (Saturday)

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Packer's Perspective: Help us Fill the Bowl

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ON WISCONSIN