Oct. 21, 2013
MADISON, Wis. – It was an up-and-down week for Wisconsin volleyball coach Kelly Sheffield. After his Badgers lost to 16th-ranked Michigan on Friday, they came back to down No. 5 Michigan State on Sunday. It was the highest ranked team that Wisconsin has defeated since sweeping No. 2 Penn State on Oct. 27, 2006.
Sheffield talked about both of those matches as well as this week’s matches against No. 7 Minnesota and Illinois at UW’s weekly news conference on Monday afternoon.
for a Buck
Wednesday, Oct. 23
UW Field House
The 16th-ranked Badgers (16-4 overall, 5-3 Big Ten) wrap up their tough stretch of six matches against top-25 ranked teams on Wednesday when they host the Golden Gophers (18-3, 6-2) at 7 p.m. in the UW Field House.
Wisconsin wraps up the first half of the Big Ten season and a four-match homestand on Sunday, hosting the Illini (8-10, 4-4) at 1 p.m., in the Field House.
A complete transcription of Sheffield’s comments is below.
Opening Statement: We started off the weekend against Michigan on Friday. Had a tough match, didn't really play the way we were hoping to play. Two nights later, played Michigan State and I thought we rebounded really well after Friday's match. I thought defensively we were really good. Serving we were really good.
Annemarie Hickey was absolutely fantastic defensively the whole match. I thought Lauren Carlini did a really good job of executing game plan. Ellen Chapman probably played one of her most complete games of the year, certainly put a lot of pressure on them from behind the serving line. I'm proud of the way that we responded coming back two days later.
We've got a really quick turnaround. We've got another top-10 opponent on Wednesday against a really, really good and physical Minnesota team. Their outsides are about as good as anybody in the conference. They've got a player of the year candidate in the middle. We've got to try to figure out a way to slow her down a little bit and then a couple of freshmen that have come in and really done a nice job.
So we've got our hands full getting past -- taking the good stuff that we took from Sunday, but getting ready for another big one, another animal here in a couple days.
How much fun has it been playing all these good teams?
You know, at times it's a lot of fun. At times it's … I'm already bald. I can't pull too much more hair out.
The Big Ten is awesome if you just enjoy competition because it comes at you from all sides. Yeah, there is an element of fun in sitting there and trying all right.
I was telling my team this. The first time you watch film on a really good team, you sit there and say, ‘How in the world are we going to be able to do anything?’ this is the greatest team that's ever been assembled. The more you watch, you start seeing the tendencies and things start making a little bit more sense. And by the third or fourth time (watching), all right, maybe we can do something with them. You get five, six, seven, eight times that you start watching, and a game plan starts coming together. That is fun, and that part of it is fun.
It’s fun when you're out there in the match and you're making adjustments and the kids are able to -- they're executing those adjustments and they're in a good place, and you're seeing the things that you work on all week long. It works for them and they're scoring, and the confidence that they get from that. Yeah, that is a lot of fun.
The process can be tough. The highs and lows are … they're powerful. Our team was, they were down Friday night. They were upset they let a great opportunity get by and they felt they didn't really show up too well.
That was one of the things we talked about on Saturday. I asked Lauren how much sleep she got the night before when we saw each other Saturday morning at the team meeting, and she said, ‘Not much.’ Courtney Thomas goes, ‘I don't think anybody in this room got much sleep last night.’ And I said, ‘You're probably right there.’
I said, ‘But here's the thing. As low as you felt last night, that's going to be magnified if you're able to find a way to come out with a good win tomorrow,’ and that's what this conference is. You have to move on to the next match quickly, and you're going to have some tough matches you've got to be able to rebound from. You're going to have some great wins, and you've got to feel good about those when they come, and you've got to be able to move on to the next one regardless quickly.
Kelly, I know you weren't here a year ago, but last season Wisconsin had 17 wins overall. You're one shy of that, and you had five wins in the Big Ten, you've already matched that. Do you sense a level of satisfaction amongst your players right now?
I hope not, no. I don't sense that at all. I didn't sense that Friday night. We come in this week and go 2-0, we'd be a game out of first. Our kids are talking like that.
I don't hear talk about the NCAA Tournament. I hear talk, and it's not just from our players, it's from our coaches. We're all being very conscious of it, what is in front of us.
But I do see a team that's grown in confidence as we move forward and a team that certainly I think I'm getting a little bit better of a handle on although I don't think I did a great job of helping them out on Friday.
But, no, I don't sense overconfidence. I don't see a lack of work ethic. The exact opposite. Saturday morning, you don't do any jumping. You don't do anything real explosive the day before. You're just kind of walking through some stuff on Saturday. So it's the day after we played, and then the day before we're about ready to play a top-five team, and we're watching our film. We do our walk-throughs and serving and passing, and kids are stretching.
I've got Deme Morales asking me to spend time with her afterwards serving and Ellen Chapman wanted to stay after and work on her line shot, and Taylor Morey is wanting to get some more passing reps, and Dominique Thompson wants to work on her slide, and Lauren Carlini is in there setting. Half the team is sitting there trying to get extra reps afterwards.
I think those are winning habits. When things aren't going well, are you going to be an active participant in your own rescue, or are you just going to sit around and feel sorry for yourself? I think our kids have done a really, really good job of being a part of -- they're taking ownership. I don't see any resting on anything from this group.
I think they're hungrier now than what they were probably a month or two ago because I think they're starting to believe.
Kelly, you said you try not to look ahead to the NCAA Tournament, but is there any part of you that sits here and goes, if we get there, we're going to be ready, given the competition that you have played?
I don't think that being ready has been a problem for anybody over the years in this conference. By the time you've gotten through this schedule, you've seen everything. You've seen a lot of different styles of play.
The one thing that you do worry about, and I think other coaches in this conference, and probably the Pac-12 as well, you get a little bit worried about is your team going to be broken down by the end?
We started off the year broken down. You try to find times to rest. You keep encouraging them to make sure that they take care of their bodies and they're managing their time well so they're not putting everything off until the end of the week or on Sunday, and nutrition and being hydrated and all those things. We're constantly talking about that.
The NCAA Tournament will … we'll deal with that. We've got a long way to go before we start talking about that. That's obviously a goal. We don't want to be a team that just gets in. We want to be a team that's competing for championships and titles. We're putting our emphasis on that and just a daily process of getting better right now.