Another weekend down, and many more to come for the Wisconsin team as we return to this ice for practice in preparation for the upcoming games in Vail. The weekend was a much needed break for the entire group and was a great chance to catch up on 'life as a normal kid'. The entire team had a variety of activities going on, but the highlight from what I heard was a team gathering at a local restaurant in town. I was home for the weekend, watching with my parents and sister as Michigan got their bums kicked by the Nebraska football team.
While I was home however; many of my teammates hung around town. The team (minus a few of us) went to Samba, and enjoyed a nice variety of foods. Samba is a restaurant that is usually a pretty heavy meal and is a favorite among many in our locker room. Along with Samba, a few girls headed to Chicago to relax and have some fun. The weekend was a nice break, a great time to catch up with friends, get some work done, and most importantly get packed, as it meant fewer days between us and the trip to Vail.
As they hype from the weekend calms down a bit, practice will be daily as usual this week Monday-Wednesday, with two lifts sprinkled in, then we pack up early Thursday morning and head to Vail at about 6 a.m. The team is excited. Coach told us that we are a small part in history making as we prepare to play for the first time in the Rocky Mountains. As excited and prepared as we all are for the games, the girls are also looking forward to the experience. The uniforms we have planned and the atmosphere itself is a unique treat for women's hockey. This group has worked hard to hopefully make this trip both memorable and successful. We hope all fans can follow through the various outlets that will be covering our games this weekend, and I encourage you to tune in when you can as this is sure to be a weekend to remember.
The team heads off Thursday morning. Check back in later this week for reactions from players after landing in Vail and taking the ice for the first time in the mountains!
Until next time, thanks for reading and On Wisconsin!
A graphical look at Wisconsin's 27-17 win over BYU at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday:
MADISON, Wis. -- When the Badgers open the season Friday night, they will do so in atypical fashion, traveling to Sioux Falls, S.D. for a neutral-site contest with St. John's.
Wisconsin has not opened the season away from the Kohl Center since 2005 when they played in the Paradise Jam tournament in St. Thomas.
Further, UW hasn't opened against a team from one of the "Power 6" conferences since traveling to Tennessee to begin the 2000-01 season.
So how did we get here?
Two reasons: this game gives the Badgers a quality non-conference opponent on their schedule and UW gets to help out an old friend.
"This is a great RPI team," Ryan said of a St. John's team who played in the NIT last season. "They've got everybody back; they're very athletic. It's a team that's going to make some noise."
UW's opener will also mark a reunion of sorts.
Sanford Health CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft, father of former Badger Joe Krabbenhoft, was looking for two major programs to help with the grand opening of the brand-new Sanford Pentagon, which is the cornerstone of a $19-million, 162-acre sports complex.
Ryan's connection with the Krabbenhoft family made the Badgers an ideal fit to participate in the first-ever regular-season game played on the building's Heritage Court, a 3,200-seat retro-styled fieldhouse.
"There are some really neat features at the Pentagon and I'm excited to see it," Ryan added. "Plus we get to help Kelby showcase their new arena. Everybody wins."
Well, not everybody gets to win. Either Wisconsin or St. John's will return home with a loss on their ledger, but the early-season experience and resume-building contest can only help in the long run.
"I'm sure that the opponents that we're playing non-conference will give us the test that we need," Ryan concluded "And how we respond to them? We'll see."
It has been a few days since the last post, so I will try my best to catch fans up on what the Badgers have been up to.
Last weekend was a great way to finish off the first chunk of the season. We were very happy to have a hard earned win both nights, and it was nice to finish the first leg of the season off on a high note.
Following the weekend, we took very little time to have a break and have been hard at work despite the bye week and off weekend. This week is a great opportunity to work on our conditioning and also focus on some skills stuff. We had a hard practice Tuesday, Wednesday was a game day, which is always fun because despite being teammates, the competitive side in all of us shines through and creates a high tempo atmosphere. The rest of the week will continue to be high tempo and skill focused as we skate Thursday and skate Friday as well.
We lift three times in this off week, and have bike workouts on the days where we are not lifting in the weight room. The extra work is taxing on the team, but everyone is in good spirits and working hard, focusing on taking this week to get better.
The upcoming weekend is something we are all looking forward to. It is rare to get time off, and coaches are working us hard this week, but also rewarding us with an entire weekend to recover and relax. Some of the girls are returning home for the weekend, others have family coming to town to visit, and some are simply looking forward to having time to relax and hang out with friends around Madison.
The team is excited about the weekend off, but also excited for the upcoming trip to Vail. It is going to be a great experience, and a unique opportunity to play some hockey in a beautiful setting. The team has some special uniforms that will be worn in the Vail games, and I encourage all fans to tune in later for photos of the uniforms that are a first for Badger Hockey.
The week has been crazy, but as it winds down, we look forward to taking a break and having some time to focus on our studies and also on ourselves. I am looking forward to returning home to Michigan, where I will visit my mom, dad, puppy, and sister who attends the University of Michigan. Despite being a loyal Badger, I am excited to attend a Michigan football game at the Big House (sorry folks!). I am also planning to go to a Detroit Red Wings game with my sister, and can't wait for a little fun with my family after the long stretch of hard games we have just completed.
Next week will have posts gearing up for Vail, filling fans in on our reactions and emotions as we arrive, and also wrap up what the experience was like and how the team fared in the Rocky Mountains. Tune in next week for more on what is to come in Vail, and to follow the Badgers as we prepare for a first time experience and one we are all excited to be a part of. Until next time, thanks for reading! On Wisconsin!
Redshirt freshman LB Vince Biegel has found a home as a pass-rushing linebacker in Wisconsin's new 3-4 scheme, having racked up two sacks on the season to go along with seven special teams tackles, which ranks second on the team. A highly-touted recruit out of Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids, Biegel is trying to follow in the footsteps of his father, Rocky, who was a standout linebacker at BYU in the late 1980s, as well as his uncle, T.D., who played fullback for the Cougars.
Your father, grandfather and uncle all played college football. What were you able to learn from their experiences?
"From the start, football has always been a big part of my life. My dad always emphasized football and hard work from an early age. Football has always been there. My father playing at BYU has a lot to do with football being a being a big part of not only my life, but my brother's as well."
What's it like having your brother, Hayden, playing with you at Wisconsin?
"It's a huge blessing. It's pretty rare for brothers to be able to be teammates at both the high school and college levels. I love having Hayden here. He is over quite a bit and we're always making dinner together and we're going to be roommates next year. I know our mom is happy to have us both in the same spot looking after one another."
Did you try to influence Hayden's decision to play at Wisconsin?
"I think Hayden knew in his heart where he needed to be and that was right here. But, at the end of the day, it was Hayden's decision, just like it was my decision on where to go to play college football. I wanted Hayden to make the best decision for himself, but I did think that this was the best fit for him."
You were recruited by BYU coming out of high school. Considering your family's history there, was it tough to turn down that offer?
"It was a very tough decision. It came down to BYU and Wisconsin and it was a tough decision because both programs are such great programs. Both have good players and good coaches. At the end of the day, though, I felt that Wisconsin was the best place for me and I think that this is where I am supposed to be. I have a lot of respect for BYU, though."
Is your dad going to feel conflicted at all Saturday?
"My dad played at BYU and that's his alma mater, but I think at the end of the day he's going to be rooting for his boys and for Wisconsin. I think he's going to be wearing red and white this weekend, at least I hope so."
What is it like being a pass-rusher in the Badgers' 3-4 defense?
"First off, Coach (Dave) Aranda is a great defensive coordinator. He puts us in the best spots and we are fortunate to have him here, because he's a great coach. He knows how to utilize his players and, for me, that means being a pass-rusher. That's what I am comfortable doing, that's what I'm good at and that's what I'm going to keep doing for him. This weekend against BYU I know we are going to have a lot of pass rush opportunities, so I am looking forward to that."
What makes you well suited to be a pass-rushing linebacker?
"Probably my body type. I'm 6-4 with about a 240-pound frame and can get good speed off the edge. I can get the tackles on their toes, which opens it up for the inside (linebackers). Overall this year I have been grooming my pass rushing skills and getting them where they need to be. I think I've really progressed as the games have gone on."
What have you been working on to see the field more this season?
"First of all, it was coming out and working special teams and trying to be a dominant player on the special teams and kickoff units. I think the coaches see that, that you're working your butt off, and I think I've been able to progress on third downs and now to the point that I can be a first- through third-down player."
Who are some of the older guys you've tried to emulate or learn from?
"Without a doubt Brendan Kelly. BK and I both play the same position and he's been around for six years, so he knows the ropes. From my freshman year to now, and especially this year now that we're both playing the same position, I've tried to learn from Brendan. We're always working after practice and hitting the weights later than everyone else. He and I have the same tough, blue-collar mindset to outwork everyone else. He's a guy that I look up to. I've always been a fan of Brady Poppinga, as well. He played at BYU and for the Packers as a 3-4 linebacker. He's a guy that I still call to this day for advice. He's a good family guy and a good person as well."
- Ryan Evans
There are times when a non-conference football game in November can be a difficult sell. In recent years, the Badgers have had a couple. In 2006, Wisconsin closed its regular season against Buffalo. Two years later, Cal Poly came to town and very nearly ruined Senior Day.
Cal Poly was a very good FCS team that year, but it simply is not the type of opponent fans expect to see during the final month of the regular season.
Which brings us to this week's opponent. Forget that BYU does not play in the Big Ten, or any conference for that matter. The Cougars are very good, and this game is huge for both programs.
After losing two of its first three games, BYU has won five straight, including a convincing 37-20 victory against Boise State on Oct. 25. The Cougars had a bye last weekend, so they come to town rested.
They also will arrive in Madison with at least some hope of getting into the BCS picture.
In the case of BYU, it might appear to be long shot, but in this week's coaches poll, the Cougars are ranked 29th. While not in the BCS top 25, perhaps BYU is not far removed.
The Cougars certainly can help themselves down the stretch. Two weeks after facing the Badgers, ranked 24th in the BCS, BYU will play at 23rd-rated Notre Dame.
The Cougars already have punched their ticket to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, but should they stay hot, who knows what could happen? Much like Wisconsin, BYU wants to keep winning and at least give the voters something to think about. Both have work to do to get into the top 14, but it never hurts to roll through November.
All the possible scenarios can be fun to talk or write about, but Saturday's game will feature two teams that are playing good football, and it will feature some of the nation's best players.
Badgers fans know all about the home team's stars. You might not know as much about some of BYU's top players, but you will by this weekend.
Chris Borland says he expects to be good to go this Saturday, which means we will see a couple of the nation's premier linebackers. BYU's standout is Kyle Van Noy, an All-America candidate who has 26 career sacks, second best among active FBS players.
Offensively, the Cougars play fast. Very fast. They run nearly 90 plays per game, and sophomore quarterback Taysom Hill appears to be improving by the week. After a choppy start, the dual-threat QB is rolling. In his last five games, Hill has completed 65 percent of his passes for 1,455 yards and 11 touchdowns.
It is worth noting that Hill also leads the team in rushing with 841 yards and eight touchdowns.
When Hill throws the ball, there is a good chance that Cody Hoffman will be the target. He has the BYU record with 31 career touchdown catches, and he is on the brink of breaking the school mark for receiving yards.
Fans in Big Ten country might not be familiar with BYU, but Badgers coach Gary Andersen knows the Cougars well. "They seem to follow me wherever I go, so here we go again," he said with a smile.
When asked to describe BYU, Andersen called it a "Tough, mature team. Blue collar. Hard workers. Tough guys."
Sounds a lot like Wisconsin. The style of offense might differ, but these teams could be very much alike in other areas.
Both Wisconsin and BYU are 6-2. Both are good teams with aspirations of being among the elite. It will make for an interesting, and most likely, highly-entertaining afternoon at Camp Randall Stadium.
If you are lucky enough to have a ticket, I hope you use it. This is a non-conference game, but it figures to be big-boy football with two big-time programs.
After opening the Four Nations Cup with a dominating 10-0 triumph over Sweden last night, the U.S. Women's National Team faces Team Canada tonight at 6 p.m. (CT) in Lake Placid, N.Y.
In yesterday's contest, Meghan Duggan, who was named team captain on Monday, put the U.S. on the board redirecting a shot from the point into the net in the first period. Hilary Knight also added a goal in the third period that put the U.S. up 8-0. Jessie Vetter split time with Molly Schaus in net for the U.S. and combined for an eight-save shutout.
Tonight's game between the U.S. and Canada is the third tilt between the two rivals in the last month, and is the second chance for the American squad to claim a victory on its home soil.
Video is available through FastHockey.com, for a fee, and live stats are available on the USA Hockey site.
Nov. 6, 2013
In this week's Badger Blog, senior Mary Massei writes about the team's trip to Heartland Farm Sanctuary and impact volunteering has on the team and the community.
This past weekend our Badger softball team had the opportunity to volunteer at Heartland Farm Sanctuary, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping homeless farm animals in Wisconsin. Heartland also reaches out to the youth and works with young adults with disabilities. Their farm allows the youth to get away from their every day lives and assist in doing barn chores.
As a program, we thought it would be a great idea to take just a couple hours out of our Saturday afternoon to help prepare this organization for the winter months. By working together as a team, we helped clean up the barn, interact with the animals and build multiple chicken coops. Usually when you see the softball team covered in dirt it's from stealing bases but this time it was from putting hard work into manual labor helping out a good cause within the community.
Volunteering at Heartland showed me more than that we can handle tools, but it showed me that our program is capable of doing big things when we all invest and join together. For some of the girls it was their first time even stepping foot on a farm, but when assigned a task, everyone put all of their effort into it. We may have been out of our element and had to deal with some adversity, but that didn't stop us from seizing the moment and getting the job done.
When I see the team working hard doing volunteer work together, it reminds me of how blessed we are to be a part of this program. It may be just a couple hours out of our Saturday afternoons, but our services truly impact the community and organizations we help out.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The road to the 2013 NCAA tournament runs through Champaign, Ill., for many of the Big Ten's best as eight of the conference's top teams travel to the University of Illinois for the 2013 Big Ten tournament.
Follow the Badgers' journey as UWBadgers.com chronicles the team's every move from the dinner table to the locker room:
The 2013 Four Nations Cup is underway in Lake Placid, N.Y. as five players with Wisconsin ties will represent the United States during the week-long tournament.
Meghan Duggan, who won three national titles during her time at Wisconsin, was named captain of the U.S. squad yesterday. Duggan will serve as captain for the Four Nations Cup and during the rest of USA Hockey's Bring on the World Tour as the squad prepares for the 2014 Olympic Winter games in Sochi, Russia.
Joining Duggan on the U.S. squad is former Wisconsin netminder Jessie Vetter and forwards Brianna Decker and Hilary Knight. In addition, future UW player Annie Pankowski is on the team of 25 players that are vying for one of 21 spots on the U.S. Olympic Team roster, which will be announced on Jan. 1.
The United States opens the tournament tonight at 6:30 p.m. as the U.S. faces Sweden. Team Canada and Team Finland are also partaking in the tournament.
All contests during the 2013 Four Nations Cup can be watched online at FastHockey.com for a fee. The tournament wraps up on Saturday, Nov. 9.