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Sunday, June 16, 2024
Annie Pankowski

Sophomore forward Annie Pankowski, a Laguna Hills, Calif. native, will return to southern California with UW Friday.

Badgers' conference schedule heats up

Women’s Hockey

No. 3 Wisconsin flies to San Jose, Calif. this weekend to face off with the Providence Friars to begin its 2015-’16 campaign. The Badgers appeared in their eighth Frozen Four last year and have high hopes for this season.

Head coach Mark Johnson stressed that his team “took the summer seriously” and is getting into form already after a week of official practices. With several major contributors having graduated last spring, Johnson said he’s looking forward to seeing who will step up this year.

“We have our three returning goaltenders, so we’re in good shape back there,” Johnson said. “We have most of our blue line defensemen coming back, we will incorporate one freshman there, Mikaela Gardner, but up front is who is going to put the puck in the net, and who is going to score.”

Senior defenseman Courtney Burke was named this year’s team captain following a summer of playing on the United States U-22 National Team, along with five other Badgers. Johnson indicated Burke has “upgraded her conditioning” over the summer, and that the new leaders on the team are more than capable of filling the role.

The Badgers earned an impressive 29-7-4 record last year, and hope to start out this year with a pair of victories in this California showcase. Wisconsin holds the historical advantage against Providence, boasting a 4-1-1 all-time record.

Following the series, the team will hold a youth clinic on Sunday for girls from all around California. Johnson says the clinic is a good way to spread the game and “create Badger fans in a new part of the world.”

Volleyball

After stumbling out of the gate in Big Ten play with consecutive road losses to No. 1 Penn State and No. 12 Ohio State, the Badgers (0-2 Big Ten, 8-4 overall) return to Madison this week to play their first two home conference games. They face No. 9 Illinois Wednesday, and are looking to get back on track.

Head coach Kelly Sheffield compared this season’s Big Ten start to the mayhem of the ending scene of the movie “Animal House,” stealing a Kevin Bacon quote, “all is well, remain calm.”

“You start seeing the character of your team when things aren’t going the way you want them to,” Johnson said.

Sheffield asserted his team is not discouraged but rather is “always hunting for things to get better at.”

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“I see the workload that they’re trying to put in increase,” Sheffield said. “They’re searching for ways to win.”

The Badgers are coming off a very successful 2014 season, and are the defending Big Ten champions. Sheffield was quick to point out the positives from his team so far this year.

“Our middles are really starting to play well,” Sheffield said, additionally pointing out that the team’s defense has improved greatly.

Wednesday marks the 25th annual Steve Lowe Night, com- memorating the former head coach of the team. The first serve is at 7 p.m. in the UW Field House.

Football

Wisconsin got back to its old ways Saturday, as the Badgers (3-1) defeated Hawaii 28-0, largely led by a dominant running performance. Running back Taiwan Deal had a breakout performance, earning Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors, as he rushed for 147 yards and two touchdowns. Redshirt senior quarterback Joel Stave was impressed by the redshirt freshman’s play.

“I thought Taiwan did a great job running hard and really competing hard,” said Stave. “He’s not going to shy away from contact and what he was able to do finishing runs and being able to push piles... was really good for us.”

That physicality will be key this weekend when the Badgers open conference play against rival Iowa (4-0).

“It’s going to be a four-quarter game, kind of smashmouth football, that’s what both programs are going for and I’m excited for the opportunity,” redshirt senior cornerback Darius Hillary said.

Games like this are why senior safety Michael Caputo came to Wisconsin.

“The types of games I wanted to be in are the Wisconsin-Iowa types of games...heavyweight types of guys just slugging it out, coming straight at you, you know what’s coming, try to stop it...That’s what Wisconsin-Iowa represents,” Caputo said.

Iowa is led by QB C.J. Beathard, who won the starting job this year after battling for it last year, and has impressed head coach Paul Chryst early in the season.

“He knows it’s his team, his turn, and it looks like he’s playing confi- dent. He’s very talented,” Chryst said.

Often times coaches and teams try to play down the rivalry aspect of big games, but Chryst isn’t doing that at all.

“I want my players to embrace it. We are going to talk about it,” Chryst said.

The Wisconsin-Iowa rivalry has a long, and close, history. With Wisconsin holding a narrow 44-42-2 series lead, there have been many big games played in the past between these two teams, including when Chryst’s father played for the Badgers in the late 1950s.

“When my dad was a player here, [Iowa] was the one loss they had that kept them from going to the Rose Bowl,” Chryst said.

Stave also acknowledged the history in this rivalry.

“Knowing that it’s Iowa and the history we have with them, it’s always fun to be challenged by a tough team like them,” Chryst said.

The Badgers take on Iowa Saturday at Camp Randall at 11 a.m., looking to win the Heartland Trophy for the fourth straight year.

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