Sheffield, Byrne, Granato reflect on previous week, comment on week to come

Head coach Kelly Sheffield is excited for the future after a tough NCAA Tournament loss to Standford.

Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger

Volleyball:

After coming off of two tough losses against ranked teams, the No. 11 Badgers (2-4 Big Ten, 11-4 overall) are eager to take on No. 5 Nebraska (6-0 Big Ten, 13-3 overall) this Wednesday at the field house.

Wisconsin traveled to Nebraska just 12 days ago and lost in a very competitive, tough, five-set match. At Monday’s press conference, head coach Kelly Sheffield said that his team is “chomping at the bit to get another shot at them.”

Obviously, the Badgers' focus is on tangible results, but Sheffield still finds value in any outcome. The Badgers' mindset currently, according to Sheffield, is introspective — to keep working and just getting better game after game.

Specifically, the Badgers are focusing heavily on serving and getting a better block.

When UW had a couple of tough losses last year, it could rely on its veteran players to bring it out of the funk. This year, with a predominantly young team, Sheffield says that from the outside looking in, the Badgers are seemingly missing their veteran core. The reality is, however, that the Badgers, according to Sheffield, “have just had a tough schedule playing some elite teams that simply have a little more experience than we do.”

These growing pains have not discourage the Badgers, but instead UW’s players take pride in how hard they have fought on the court, and they are confident in its ability to learn and perform more as the season goes on. Sheffield said despite the tough schedule, there has been no sign of losing confidence or energy.

“Their minds are in the right place,” Sheffield says. “I think we got a group that’s in this for the long haul.”

Cross-Country:

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams were successful at the Greater Louisville Classic on Sept. 30. Sophomore Oliver Hare lead the men’s team to an eighth place finish and was named the Big Ten Cross Country Athlete of the Week.

On the women’s side, three athletes finished in the top twenty at the Louisville Classic, helping the Badgers earn a second place finish to a very good Boise State team.

Redshirt sophomore Amy Davis finished in 11th place overall, with senior Sarah Disanza following right behind finishing in 12th place. Sophomore Alicia Monson also finished strong at 20th place overall.

The Badgers are excited to host the ninth annual Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational this Friday at the Zimmer Championship Course. Twenty of the top 30 men’s cross country teams in the nation will be competing, including top-ranked Northern Arizona. Eighteen of the top 30 women’s teams will also be in attendance this Friday.

The course, which is in great shape for this weekend, will also host the 2018 NCAA Cross Country Championships.

The Badgers are enthusiastic going into this weekend, especially the women’s team. Amy Davis is expected to finish well, along with a few of her teammates. At Monday’s press conference, Mick Byrne, director of cross country and track and field, said, “the exciting thing about our women's team right now is that we're really deep.”

The men's team, however, is “hobbling a little bit into the meet this weekend,” said Byrne. With the questionable status of senior Morgan McDonald, the rest of the team will be challenged to step up.

Men's Hockey:

The Wisconsin men’s hockey team opened Big Ten play this weekend as they took on Ohio State. The Badgers fell to the Buckeyes 2-3 on Friday night, but came back and clinched a victory Saturday night and beat the Buckeyes 3-2.

At Monday’s press conference, Granato said that he felt it was a “solid weekend” for his team. As it was only the second and third games of the season, Granato said, “there are some things we wish we could have done better, but that is part of growing as a team.”

Defensively, the Badgers held the Buckeyes to 42 shots this weekend. Granato explained the difference between this year and last year is that the players simply are more comfortable. “The team defense was very apparent this weekend,” said Granato.

After this weekend, Granto is confident that the team has potential to score just as much or more than they did last year.

“It was great to see our freshman contribute,” Granato said, referring to freshman Tarek Baker’s two big goals of the weekend.

Granato also said that he felt it was good for the Badgers to have Big Ten games right away in the season and that it helped the boys “jump right in and realize that we’re already in the heat of the season.”

The Badgers are travelling to Boston College this Friday and then will play at Merrimack on Saturday.

Going into this weekend, there is not much concern for a dip in intensity with a nonconference game. Granato said he is excited for his team to get on the road and focus just on hockey. Granato said he felt the team played well when they were away from the Kohl Center last year and that “it’s important to get off to a good start on the road.”

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