Seniors wrap up careers

first_imgDuPont, Salow step upAftersharing time on the left side with freshman Allison Wack to start the season,sophomore Caity DuPont has started to see the court more frequently as of late.”I think being in more does build myconfidence,” DuPont said. “Now when I go on the court I’m not second-guessingmyself. I know what I’m supposed to do. I know what I can do. Confidence is abig thing.”Because of the increased playingtime and confidence from DuPont, her numbers have started to go up as well.DuPont has reached double-figure kills four times in the last eight matches,including a career-high 16 kills against Iowa Friday night.Junior outside hitter Morgan Salowhas also seen her playing time increase down the stretch. However, this weekendSalow found herself in a different position. With middle blocker Audra Jeffersout with a foot injury, Salow stepped into the middle with ease.”InitiallyI wasn’t as comfortable as the outsides, but I’ve been playing every spot sinceI’ve came here, so I overall got a lot of experience in every one of them,”Salow said. “I felt really good about coming in for [Jeffers]. I was prettyconfident and I had to do it for the team.”On the weekend Salow tallied 12 kills and hit at .267 clip.She also chipped in with five blocks. Wisconsin home untilthe Final FourWhen theNCAA tournament bracket was announced Sunday night, the Badgers received thenews they wanted to hear: They will be hosting the first and second rounds ofthe tournament. Coupled with the fact the Field House was already selected toserve as a regional host for the tournament, that means the Badgers will nothave to leave Madison until the Final Four, should they make it that far.”It saysa lot not just for our level of play the last couple of years but it says a lotfor our fan support,” said Waite of Wisconsin’s selection as a host for the firstand second rounds. “[Attendance] has been fantastic, and it’s up another 500 or600 from last year’s average.”We arehaving a great time in the Field House. It just raises our level of playanother 20 to 25 percent from what we normally do when we are on the road.”Wisconsinwill see familiar foes come to Madison for the first- and second-round matches.Wisconsin will face Northern Iowa, a team it swept earlier this year at the BYUInvitational, in the opening round of the tournament on Friday. Game time isscheduled for 7 p.m.IowaState and San Diego — both teams Wisconsin defeated last season — face off inthe other opening-round match, which begins at 5 p.m.”We knowthese teams very well,” Waite said. “It’s strange how things work out. Lastyear we played at San Diego, so we will get to see their team. Iowa State,obviously we know Christy Johnson and we’ve seen them in spring ball and lastyear here. Northern Iowa we played this year. For whatever reason it worked outthat we’re familiar with these teams, and that’s always nice.”ShouldWisconsin make it to the Elite Eight, it could mean a matchup against defendingnational champion Nebraska. It would also be Nebraska head coach John Cook’sfirst trip back to Madison since 1998, when he left to take the coaching job atNebraska. From 1992-’98, Cook coached the Badgers to a 161-73 record and wonthe 1997 Big Ten title. “[Nebraskais] the defending champions and they have the last two National Players of theYear on their team,” Waite said. “They are very strong, but I would rather seethem here than anywhere else.”Tickets for the first two rounds of the NCAAtournament are available in a three-game package through the UW Athletic Ticketoffice for $10. For fiveseniors — Taylor Reineke, Jackie Simpson, Jocelyn Wack, Megan Mills and AmandaBerkeley — this weekend marked the final time they will wear a Wisconsinuniform during a regular season match. For mostof them, it really has not yet sunk in that their time is almost up.”It’sreally weird, that’s what I keep telling people,” said Wack after Fridaynight’s win against Iowa. “It hasn’t quite set in yet. We’redefinitely going to go into [Saturday] with a great attitude, … pumped up andready to play Minnesota. It’s great to play them every time. Being the last BigTen home match, it’s crazy. That’s all I can say.”In their final match on Saturday,the seniors stepped up their play in guiding Wisconsin to another three gamesweep of Minnesota. Simpson led the Wisconsin offense by distributing the ball proficiently,tallying 35 assists. Reineke led the offensive charge with 14 kills and Wack hadtwo service aces to go along with 13 digs.”Being the last match for five of us out there, it wasreally important for us to come out strong and just play Wisconsin volleyball,”Simpson said. “(We wanted to) show what we’ve learned over the past fouryears.”last_img

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