Granato, Sheffield preview week ahead for respective teams

Head coach Kelly Sheffield said he expects his team to respond well after splitting its pair of conference games this past weekend.

Image By: Shoaib Altaf

After a busy weekend in Badger athletics, Wisconsin men's hockey Coach Tony Granato and Wisconsin volleyball Head Coach Kelly Sheffield preview the week ahead. 

Volleyball:

The Badgers (2-2 Big Ten, 11-2 overall) fought hard this weekend as they were faced with back-to-back conference matches on the road. They defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes (1-3 Big Ten, 12-5 overall) in three sets on Friday night. Then quickly turned around and battled the Nebraska Huskers (4-0, 11-3) on Saturday night and fell just short as they went down in five sets.

“Game four was just classic,” Sheffield said of the Nebraska match, acknowledging the back and forth play between the teams.

Sheffield said his team lost the match in the fifth set, when it struggled to control the ball. Wisconsin was on the defensive side for what felt like most of the fifth set. And as Sheffield explained, “When you’re back on your heels the whole time, you’re going to have a tough time”

Opponents have been hitting very low percentages against the Badgers this season, especially from the left pin. This is mainly because of the Badgers’ strong stationary block from the right side.

The team is also focused on picking up the tempo offensively from the right side, but that is still a work in progress. As long as the block does not get compromised, Sheffield says that he is not concerned.

It is no secret that the Big Ten is an extremely competitive volleyball conference. There is not much time to focus on the wins and losses, but the focus must be on getting better. Sheffield said that he has received several text messages from his players that they are ready to move on from the loss and take on the next challenge.

The Badgers will host Minnesota this Wednesday at the Fieldhouse.

Minnesota (2-2, 13-2) is coming off of a couple losses as well. With identical conference records at this point, Wednesday's match is sure to be a competitive match.

“We’re looking for a loud crowd to help us out,” Sheffield said.

-Jacqueline Damrow

Men's Hockey:

The Wisconsin men’s hockey team began its season Sunday with a 3-2 victory against Michigan Tech and it will get ready to continue its season by opening up Big Ten play Friday against Ohio State.

Monday afternoon Head Coach Tony Granato said that he thought his team played very well, especially with having three freshmen in the his lineup.

“Our new players had an impact on the game in a positive way,” Granato said.

This weekend’s play showcased many freshmen’s talents, including Linus Weissbach, a recruit from Sweden who started his career with two goals in the opening game. Weissbach was the only freshman who was unable to start training early, not arriving with the program until September. However, Granato noted that Weissbach is a quick learner and the team has taken to assisting him after seeing the skills he brings to the organization.

Granato also expects other teams will come out full force against the Badgers, especially after witnessing the physical game they played against a quality opponent in Michigan Tech.

Granato did mention a few bad line changes in the game on Sunday which led to two opportunities for Michigan Tech to score, one of which resulted in a penalty and the other a goal.

As for goaltender Kyle Hayton, Granato said his confidence helped keep him focused during the game after letting in a bad goal. When confronted about his poor positioning on that play, he was not shaken. Granato said that he maintained the right mindset. “They can get as many shots as they want, but they’re not scoring,” Granato said of how his goaltender responded.

As for future preparation, Granato mentioned that he feels he knows this team better than the team last year because of the number of returners on the ice, so he is ready to focus on the details of the game while they get ready to start conference play much earlier than in the past.

With there now being 24 conference games after the addition of Notre Dame, Granato said it will be an exciting time for everyone, and he isn’t worried about starting conference play so soon.

-Peyton Kadlecek

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