Oct. 22, 2012
MADISON, Wis. – The second half of Big Ten Conference play is already here for the Wisconsin volleyball team. The Badgers (15-8, 3-7) open the next round of conference play by hosting Illinois (10-10, 4-6) and Northwestern (14-7, 3-7) this weekend. Wisconsin and the Fighting Illini face off on Friday at 7 p.m. UW has a day off before playing the Wildcats at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Both matches are in the UW Field House.
UW is currently tied with Northwestern for ninth place in the Big Ten standings, only one win out of sixth place. Illinois is one of three teams tied for sixth.
Badger head coach Pete Waite addressed the media Monday at the UW weekly news conference. A complete transcription of his comments is below.
Opening Statement: (In the) first round of Big Ten play, we went down to Northwestern and got the win there and lost in five at Illinois - just missed that one. We're hoping (to) get them on our home court this weekend and get a couple of wins. We need to and want to improve in the second half of Big Ten play here.
Ellen Chapman's been on kind of a tear. She's been great offensively. Friday night's match she had 24 kills (and only) one error, which is outstanding for an outside hitter. We need the rest of the team to get on board and in sync offensively so we have more of a balanced attack so it's not just Ellen carrying the load. (We’re) looking forward to this weekend and the second half of Big Ten play.
It's easy to look at how difficult the Big Ten is. But has there been one thing or multiple things that have not allowed you to win some of these matches against some of these good teams?
It depends on the night sometimes. As of late, we've hit a couple of really good serving teams, so our service (receive) has been the issue. We'll continue to work on that.
Our serves, I think, have gotten better. I think Annemarie Hickey and Deme Morales are bringing a great jump serve so that's gotten more solid. And even on Friday night against Indiana, we were down 20-24 in the third and came back and we had set point at 25-24 and 26-25, and I think they beat us 30-28, something like that. That's one of those that, if we can close it out and get over the hump, then you go to the fourth (set) and we have a shot of winning the whole thing. And each game, each set we got better.
So it's still a work in progress, no doubt about that.
How different is the second time through, not only because you've seen them but they've seen you?
Everybody knows each other pretty darn well because, having played each other, watching more videotape on each other, but it makes everybody become better because they've got to step up their games.
We need to bring a little more variety in the offense and change some things up a bit. You have good scouting reports on them. But then you're telling your own players, here's what the other teams are seeing in you. You need to increase your shot selection, things like that. Overall for us, I think it's just consistency in every aspect of the game, and I think we'll get a couple more wins.
You look at it and you're only two games out of fifth, right?
There's a big clump. There's a lot of people beating up on each other on any given day. Purdue is a top-15 team (and) got beat by Indiana and Iowa within a week and they're in the top half of the Big Ten. There's kind of a top half and a bottom half, and the bottom half is beating the top half on occasion so it's real tight.
We want to be one of those teams knocking them off up top and work our way up the list.
It's strange to see a team of yours 1-4 at home in the Big Ten. It has to start at home, right?
You'll take them anywhere and that's the strange thing is there's years we'll beat a team at their place, and they'll beat us at our place. It's strange how comfortable teams get on the road sometimes and what they’re doing. And this is our chance right now. We've got two home games this weekend to get it done with. There's no reason not to.
I think these are two teams we can beat, but they're two teams that have beaten plenty of good teams in the Big Ten also.