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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Lauren Carlini

Senior Lauren Carlini is second in the Big Ten in assists per set.

Badgers head to Seattle for two Top 10 matchups

The No. 4 Badgers (8-0) will play their final nonconference matches this weekend in the Pac-12/Big Ten Showcase hosted in Seattle. Wisconsin plays No. 10 USC (6-2) Thursday night and No. 5 Washington (9-0) Friday night.

After sweeping its opponents this past weekend, Wisconsin is ready to compete with two Top 10 teams in the span of 24 hours.

At a press conference Monday, head coach Kelly Sheffield expressed his excitement over the Badgers’ record, and the preparation for his team’s competitive opponents this weekend.

“This past weekend was a pretty good weekend, we had our moments where we played pretty well defensively,” Sheffield said.

The Badgers’ defense will have to be at its best for the Trojan and Husky offenses this weekend.

“They [USC] have got a couple nice freshmen that are coming in there and doing a good job, they run a 6-2, both of these teams do, 6-2 offense,” Sheffield said, “so there are a lot of attackers coming at us.”

Sheffield prepares his serve-receive offense for USC’s junior outside hitter Samantha Bricio.

“I think arguably she’s one of the top two or three (servers in the country), that’s for sure,” Sheffield said. “It looks like a float serve but she puts so much pace on it, it’s about 60 miles an hour so it’s on you very, very quickly.”

Playing with some of the best teams in the country, the Badgers are excited to compete.

“I think when you’re talking about two historic programs like Washington and Southern Cal, teams that have won national championships, two of the best coaches in the game; our players, everybody in our program knows what those two teams have done,” Sheffield said.

Though USC has won three NCAA national championships and Washington one, these teams play with different approaches.

“The other challenging thing about these two teams is you’re probably playing Southern Cal who probably runs maybe the slowest tempo offense in the pack and then the very next night, you’re playing a Washington team that might be the quickest,” Sheffield said.

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Switching from slow to fast offenses should not be too difficult for the Badgers’ tough defense. Sheffield believes his passers have improved and are prepared to face such tough competitors, as long as the team has the right morale.

Going into this tournament having only lost three sets, the Badgers plan to maintain focus on their side of the net.

“We talk about being prepared, knowing the scouting report, executing that and having the right mind set. And we think if we’re going to play well on our side, the wins and losses will take care of itself,” Sheffield said.

With the start of Big Ten play only days away, Sheffield could not turn down the opportunity to play in this tournament.

“I think it’s great experience and a great opportunity for us,” he said. “Whether it’s the first week or the fourth week, yeah. I think it absolutely prepares you for the Big Ten.”

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