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

Sophomore Lauren Carlini was named Big Ten Player of the Year.

Volleyball: Postseason play begins against Western Michigan

No. 2 Wisconsin (28-2 overall) is ready to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament starting Thursday against Western Michigan (22-13). The Badgers clinched the Big Ten title last weekend after defeating Purdue (22-10) in three sets.

Wisconsin received four of the Big Ten’s five major awards given out at the end of conference play. Sophomore setter Lauren Carlini was named Big Ten Player of the Year and Big Ten Setter of the Year. Junior libero Taylor Morey received Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and Kelly Sheffield received Big Ten Coach of the Year.

Along with the awards, Carlini, Morey and senior hitter Courtney Thomas were named to the first-team All-Big Ten. Sophomore middle Haleigh Nelson and senior middle Dominique Thompson were named honorable mention to the All-Big Ten team. Freshman hitter Kelli Bates was placed on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team. The awards highlight the Badgers’ talents and head coach Kelly Sheffield is proud of his team.

“This is an unbelievable time of year,” Sheffield said in a press conference Monday. “Sixty-four teams still playing for their season. It’s a gift with how hard our players have worked to get to this point.”

Sheffield believes his team is still improving, even this late in the season.

“Our kids are as energetic as they have been all year. We are trying to stay healthy, find ways to get better,” Sheffield said about their 19-match winning streak. “This is the time of year that you want to be playing your best. I think we are.”

The Badgers begin postseason play against Western Michigan. Sheffield is ready for tough competition from the team. Sheffield knows the Broncos will be a tough match led by a well trained coach.

“They’re not as physical as the top teams in this league, but you can tell they’re very well skilled,” Sheffield said.

The Broncos are competing in their 12th NCAA tournament and third under head coach Colleen Munson. Munson is in her 10th season at Western Michigan. This match will be the ninth meeting between the Broncos and the Badgers, with Wisconsin leading the all-time series, 5-3.

The Badgers hope this is the start of a run to the national championship game.

“You got to play it out and not rush it. This is the best time of the year, not just for us, but in any a sport when you get to this,” Sheffield said.

The Badgers’ match begins at 7:30 p.m. in the UW Field House Thursday.

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