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Hey everyone! I'm Sarah Nurse and I'm very excited to be
taking over the blog for Madison Packer this year!
A few quick things about me:
I'm a sophomore from Canada, a mashed potatoes fanatic and I just happen to be
Beyonce's biggest fan.
I spent my first summer in Madison with a majority of my
teammates as we all took summer classes. Despite having to take classes, we
were able to find ways to let loose and have a ton of fun. For my first Fourth
of July in the U.S., a handful of us made the trip up to Madison Packer's
cottage to celebrate Independence Day where we spent the weekend on the lake
waterskiing, paddle boarding and tubing. A few weeks later, a group travelled
to Eau Claire for a massive country concert that had an incredible lineup of
some of our team's favorite artists. Overall, it was great to spend eight weeks
with a lot of my fellow Badgers and we all are looking forward to the upcoming
The past few weeks I spent time with the Canadian U-22 team in Calgary, as we had a team camp for two weeks and then we played the U.S. U-22 team in a three-game series. It was cool to play in the series with fellow Badgers Blayre Turnbull, Mellissa Channell, Emily Clark, Ann-Renee Desbiens, Annie Pankowski and Alex Rigsby.
Until next time!
Hey Badger fans!
Sorry about the delay, but these past few days have been
crazy! This will be my last update about training with the U.S. National Team.
I will also be answering some questions that fans asked on Twitter about
training at the end of this article.
Hey Badger Fans!
Hope everyone had a good week. Like I said in the last
update, half of the team went to Switzerland last week for the Montreux
tournament, so the rest of us got a lot of reps and technical work done.
Hey Badger fans,
Lauren Carlini here. I'm going to be doing a weekly update
about how things are going out here as I'm training with the U.S. Women's
National Team in Anaheim, California.
After opening its spring season with drills at Marquette, the Wisconsin volleyball team continued competition Sunday afternoon, hosting Minnesota in the UW Field House. What was initially planned to be a full match was cut down to a three-set scrimmage due to opponent injuries. Despite the event's brevity, the crowd of more than 500 people was given a good taste of what to expect from the NCAA runner-up Badgers in the 2014-15 season.
The match featured a mix of familiar and new, as redshirt freshman Taylor Fricano and freshman Tori Blake both saw ample playing time. Sophomore Taylor Morey looked a natural in her role as libero, taking over for senior Annemarie Hickey, who coached from the sideline and assisted in drills before the match.
Blake, who saw action in just 22 sets last fall, switched off with junior Dominique Thompson and fellow freshman Haleigh Nelson at middle blocker. During the team's four-month break, Blake seems to have gained more control as a hitter, and fans can expect to see more of her in the upcoming season as she gains experience working with 2013 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Lauren Carlini.
Time plays an integral role in the relationship between a setter and middle, allowing for their chemistry to build both on and off the court. This was apparent in the progression of Nelson through her first season, as she improved from one kill in her first match in the Cardinal and White to averaging 1.74 kills per set on a .318 attack percentage for her rookie season. In the same way, look for Blake and Carlini's on-the-court communication to progress as the pair works together throughout the spring and offseason.
Another new face on the court was Fricano, the 6-4 right side/outside hitter, who saw playing time after taking a redshirt during the 2013 season. Along with junior Ellen Chapman, Fricano stands as the team's tallest player. The two will complement one another nicely at the net with Chapman on the outside and Fricano on the right. The Badgers finished just seventh in the Big Ten with 2.33 blocks per set last season, and height may be a new defensive weapon for the team in the upcoming season.
One very familiar aspect of the scrimmage was the Badgers' signature aggressive serving. Head Coach Kelly Sheffield, 2013 Volleyball Magazine National Coach of the Year, has emphasized in the past that players have "been given the green light to be very aggressive" at the service line. This trend continued into spring competition, as UW garnered aces from multiple players including Chapman, who led the team in aces per set (0.23) in 2013. The crowd also saw a new face at the line as Nelson served for the first time on her birthday. Whether this was a birthday gift from Coach Sheffield or the start of a new trend for the 6-3 middle blocker is yet to be determined. Morey also made a serving transition, moving from a long float serve to a jump serve during the scrimmage.
Wisconsin will continue spring competition on Wednesday, April 16 as it hosts Marquette for a full match. Competition will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the UW Field House. Admission is free to all with several members of the team available afterwards for a Q&A.
this week's Badger Blog, head coach Yvette Healy discusses the Badgers tough schedule and their first home series of the 2014 season.
It's opening weekend in Madison! It's exciting to be home in
Wisconsin, after playing on the road six of the last seven weekends. We've been to Texas, California, Tampa,
Miami, Louisville, and Chicago. We're
15-12 right now, with big ranked wins over #8 Arizona and #23 Northwestern.
This season has been filled with adversity,
facing the toughest schedule in school history.
We've played #4 Florida twice, #17 Texas A&M twice, #5 Washington, #11
Arizona State, #8 Arizona, and #23 Northwestern three times. We still have eight
ranked games ahead against #6 Michigan, #15 Minnesota, and #19 Nebraska. At least two of our games against ranked
opponents will be at home, when we host #19 Nebraska here on April 30th.
We'll face off against a tough Iowa team this weekend, as we
get into the heart of Big Ten play. Being
from the Midwest, it's easy to appreciate how special Big Ten softball is. What an amazing conference; great academics,
great facilities and exciting rivalries.
It's an honor to play legacy programs like Iowa, with their 16 NCAA
tournament appearances, 4 trips to the Women's College World Series, and 31
NCAA tournament wins. Iowa is the type
of successful, legacy softball program that we're working to build here at
Wisconsin. They have so much history when
they step on the field, with 27 All-Americans.
We know playing opponents like this is never easy. Iowa has competed in Madison 8 times, and they've
only lost one series. The Hawkeyes are 12-3 all-time here at
Wisconsin, which is an 80 percent win percentage. Our goal is to start evening those numbers
out. We're working to make strides, to
improve and to grow. One game at a time,
we're making progress, we're changing history, and we're building success. It's a tough task to change history, but this
senior class is certainly up for the challenge.
It has been a long season for the Badgers in Madison, and although it didn't end
on the high we had hoped, I could not be more proud of my teammates. The
determination, hard work, and relentless spirit of my teammates propelled us to
successes many people doubted when we set out on our journey together last
It is a bittersweet ending for many of my teammates, in large part the senior
class. While we are happy with our four years here at Wisconsin and looking
forward to bright futures, it is difficult to leave behind a team that has
meant so much to us over the years. The team this year has been like a family
on and off the ice. The spirit and kindness of every girl in our locker room
made packing our bags together one final time a difficult and emotional moment.
On behalf of my teammates I want to thank all the fans in Wisconsin and beyond
who have supported us throughout the season, and for the seniors throughout our
entire careers. It seems like just yesterday some of us were pulling on that
Badger jersey for the first time, and my hope is that the future Badgers
recognize the honor and pride that comes with bearing the motion W on their
chest--it truly goes by too fast.
While many memories have been created over the years, I will always remember
the pride that accompanies being part of such a rich and historic tradition as
a Badger athlete. The team was disappointed last weekend, but if I know
anything about my teammates, it is that they will never quit. The seniors are
moving on, but there is a fresh group of talent being added to the roster next
year and a solid core returning that will do whatever it takes to continue
bringing hardware back to Madison.
Lastly, I want to thank our families and all the people back home. I have said
it before, and sincerely mean it when I say that none of us would be where we
are today without the love and support of those who first gave us the chance to
chase our dreams. The coaches who pushed us when we were little and the parents
who drove us to the rink and waited for us until it was time to make the drive
back home are the reason we are where we are today. My parents said to me after
the last game, "Thank you for all the memories, it's been a great run." I want
to take this opportunity on behalf of my teammates to thank not only my
parents, but also all the other parents of my teammates who have made this
journey one that I will remember for the rest of my life.
has been a fun ride Badger fans, and while I am sad it is coming to an
I look forward in the coming days or weeks to revealing the next blogger
for the Wisconsin women's hockey team. Until next time, thanks for
reading, and ON
Hey Badger Fans!
A big thank you to all those who came out and supported
us this past weekend as we battled Harvard in the NCAA quarter finals. The team
was blown away when we hit the ice for the start of the game and the crowd
erupted. The atmosphere and energy in the building was amazing and unlike
anything we have experienced yet in our new home and we are very grateful to
all those who helped us from the other side of the glass.
The team was very pleased with our effort Saturday night
and it was a special moment for the seniors to get a win in our final game on
home ice. This week is sure to fly by quickly as we will practice the next few
days and then head out early Wednesday for the Frozen Four. The team plans to
prepare for the upcoming weekend the same way we have all season, and is
excited for the opportunity to face off against Minnesota Friday night.
There are a number of banquets set to take place along
with a few other events, but the sole focus of our team is the game Saturday
night and working harder than we have all season to achieve our ultimate goal.
I am proud of my teammates for all the hard work that has been put in this
season. There were a lot of people who were skeptical about us being placed so
highly along the way, but we battled hard Saturday night, earning the right to
play this weekend and gaining confidence along the way.
The game Friday night is something we have looked forward
too all year, now the time has come to prepare and go to work. We are proud of
ourselves for reaching the tournament, but also recognize simply making the
trip is not the goal we set for ourselves last September.
I encourage all those who cannot make the trip to tune in
to the various outlets that will be available to act the action this weekend.
It is set to be some of the best collegiate hockey this season and will be
something hockey fans do not want to miss.
Again, my teammates and I want to thank all our fans and
the community for being supportive throughout the season, and on behalf of the
senior class, thank you to all those who have come out to cheer us on
throughout our Badger career. We have traveled all across the United States,
and there are no fans louder or more loyal than those who come out in Madison.
Thank you also to our families who have been supportive not only throughout
this season, but since day one, we share this journey with you! Be sure to
check back in throughout the week as I will have a few more posts and some
special interviews with teammates as we head out in search of our ultimate goal
at the 2014 Frozen Four! Until next time, thanks for reading, and ON