Badgers happy to be home

first_imgJEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoAfter playing on the road for all of its September matches, the Wisconsin volleyball team was getting used to playing away from the Field House.”It’s amazing to be back home,” senior Jackie Simpson said after Friday night’s victory over Purdue, Wisconsin’s first game back. “We missed it so much.”The Badgers had gotten so used to preparing for a game on the road that getting ready for their first Big Ten home game against the Boilermakers at the Field House felt strange to them.”It was really funny [Friday], because we were all [at the Field House] getting ready for the game, and we felt it was weird,” Simpson said. “Normally, we are getting ready for a game at a hotel. It was so nice to be home to just get ready to go and be out there with the fans. It was amazing.”After playing 10 straight matches on the road — and going 9-1 during that stretch — some Badgers were beginning to think they were never going to play another game in the Field House.”It was kind of unreal to be home tonight. This morning I didn’t even think we were going to have a home game,” senior Reineke said after Friday night’s match. “It is really nice to be back in front of our fans in the Field House and get their support again.”And that is exactly what the Badger fans did — they supported their team. With an average of just fewer than 6,000 fans a match this weekend cheering them on, the Badgers were able to pull off a pair of sweeps.With the Badgers facing a game point to Indiana during the second game of the match on Saturday night, everyone in attendance rose to their feet and cheered the Badgers to a come-from-behind victory.”This crowd is what really made me want to come here,” freshman Allison Wack said after the Badgers win over the Hoosiers. “It was the biggest factor for me. It’s great to play at home in tight games like that (and) having the momentum from the crowd helps a ton. Every play they get in the other team’s heads, which may have helped too. They are just a great asset to have here at the Field House.”And the Badgers were appreciative of all the fans that came to watch them play.”I want to say that was a great crowd,” head coach Pete Waite said after Saturday’s win. “7,074 were awesome. Thanks to everybody who came out tonight. That was awesome.”However, Wisconsin’s homecoming will be brief as the hit the road this weekend to take on rivals Minnesota and Iowa.Dolgner gets defensiveComing into this past weekend’s matches, Waite stressed the need for his team to improve defensively. It did a good job of doing so this weekend, out-digging both Purdue and Indiana, while not letting many balls hit the ground.One player who seemed to take Waite’s message to heart was sophomore outside hitter Brittany Dolgner. She led the team in digs in both matches with 11 against Purdue and nine against Indiana. “Being an outside hitter you are expected to hit a lot and get a lot of blocks and stuff,” Dolgner said. “Blocking and defense is the main thing that I’ve been working on this year.”For the year, Dolgner is second on the team in the category– behind senior libero Jocelyn Wack — averaging 2.24 digs per game.DuPont, Wack share timeSo far this year, sophomore Caity DuPont and freshman Allison Wack have been splitting time at the starting outside hitter opposite of Dolgner. This past weekend was no different.In the first match against Purdue, Waite started DuPont, and she came out swinging in Game 1. DuPont put down 3 while hitting at a .286 clip. In the second game, however, DuPont began to fade so Waite inserted Allison into the lineup.”We got [Allison Wack] in the end of the second game,” Waite said. “We had given [Purdue] a couple points, and we just wanted to finish things off. Looking at the stats after Game 2, I though Caity was fading a little bit. I think she hit .000 in that second game. She hit really well in the first game but just not as well the second. Al came in, and she’s got a different tempo and different shots, and she did a great job.”The next night against Indiana, Waite gave the starting nod to Wack instead.”I really just wanted to see how they both would respond to the starting spot,” Waite said. “We have to find out who’s best as a starter and who comes in off the bench well.”Wack responded well to getting the starting spot, finishing the game with 12 kills and only having three errors for a .391 hitting percentage. She also chipped in with two blocks.”All week in practice I’ve been working really hard on staying mentally tough. Last week, I had a pretty forgettable match at Northwestern,” said Wack, who two weekends ago hit -.143 against the Wildcats. “The biggest thing for me is just forgetting about it, wiping the slate clean and starting over. I just went out and worked my hardest and tried to shake off the errors.”last_img

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