Volleyball: Badgers win Big Ten championship outright with help from Gophers

first_imgAspirations were high for the Wisconsin volleyball team this year. They returned three All-Americans in Dana Rettke, Sydney Hilley and Madison Duello. They added an experienced defensive specialist in Minnesota transfer Lauren Barnes. Then, they started the year 4-4 against a brutal slate of non-conference teams. Their losses came against Marquette, Baylor and Washington twice — all teams currently ranked in the AVCA top 10. They used it as a learning experience and rallied to a Big Ten Championship. The Badgers had just one Big championship in the last 17 years after consecutive titles in Ten 2000 and 2001.Volleyball: Badgers retake Big Ten lead with victories over Minnesota, Michigan StateThe No. 5 University of Wisconsin volleyball team (19-5, 15-1 Big Ten) took care of both No. 7 Minnesota and Read…After their loss to Penn State Friday night, Wisconsin swept Rutgers and watched as Minnesota topped Penn state 3-1. Penn State’s loss to Minnesota gave the Badgers the top record in the conference.Since their second loss to No. 10 Washington Sept. 21, the Badgers ripped through Big Ten play with a 18-2 record, including a 12 game winning streak with seven against ranked teams.They have also played the toughest schedule among the top teams in the Big Ten. Wisconsin has faced Minnesota twice, Nebraska twice and Penn State twice, all three of whom are ranked in the top 10 of the AVCA rankings. None of those teams faced each other more than once. Their two conference losses came against The Ohio State University Buckeyes, a mid-tier team in the Big Ten, and Penn State in a five-set heartbreaker.The Badgers responded emphatically following the loss to Ohio State. They dropped only one set in their five wins since the loss, including wins over then-No. 5 Minnesota and then-No. 6 Nebraska.That streak ended with the Nittany Lions.Volleyball: 3 surprising boosts to No. 7 BadgersA season ago, the Wisconsin volleyball team reached the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament before their neighbor to the Read…The progression of this Badger team is evident from the start of the year. Both as individuals and as a group, UW has improved in all three aspects of the game. According to Head Coach Kelly Sheffield, this team relishes that improvement. “There’s still a lot of opportunities to grow individually and as a team,” Sheffield said. “Winning is fun, but there’s no better feeling than the feeling of getting better … that’s where the real confidence comes from.” Their confidence has grown not only from winning but from closing out sets in crucial games. In their loss to Marquette early this season, UW had six match point opportunities and failed to capitalize each time. In their first loss to Washington, the Badgers dropped a set after leading 24–20 which would have tied the match at 1–1. Volleyball: Badgers split pair of games, drop first match in Big Ten playAn undefeated record in Big Ten volleyball is a tall task. There are currently six Big Ten teams in the Read…The team’s ability to close out crucial sets seemed to change in a pivotal match in Lincoln against Nebraska. In a raucous environment, UW rattled off set-winning runs of 9–4, 11–5 and 6–2 against the top defense in the Big Ten. Since that night, the Badgers have closed sets furiously with the exception of the loss to the Buckeyes. Also, different Badgers have pioneered game-ending runs. On the road in the 3–1 win over Minnesota, outside hitter Molly Haggerty closed out the third set with back-to-back kills and finished the match on a personal 3–0 run. In their second sweep of the Cornhuskers, middle blocker Danielle Hart closed the second set with two kills in the final three points. To close the match, right side hitter Madison Duello provided two kills and an emphatic block on Nebraska’s Lexi Sun. Volleyball: Badgers record team’s best start ever in Big Ten playThe Wisconsin volleyball team (16-4, 12-0 Big Ten) has started 12-0 in conference play for the first time in Badger Read…Looking ahead to the NCAA Tournament, the Badgers will likely host two games following their loss to Penn State. A win over the Nittany Lions likely would have given the Badgers a top-four seed and the subsequent opportunity to host four games.The Badgers will rely on their varied offensive attack as tournament time arrives. Their offense is seventh in the country in hitting percentage and setter Sydney Hilley, a top candidate for Big Ten Setter of the Year, is currently third in the country in assists per game. Rettke, the two-time AVCA first-team All-American, will likely add another selection as well as a shot for the Big Ten Player of the Year.Their defense has been steadily improving since the start of the season. At the start of the year, five of the Badgers’ first eight opponents recorded hitting percentages above .200. Since then, only four of their last 20 opponents have eclipsed .200, and the Badgers won three of those four matches. Volleyball: All-American Rettke remains hungry following summer with Team USAJunior Dana Rettke has been one of the most intimidating forces in college volleyball for over two years now. A Read…Lastly, UW will look to regain their prominence at the service line. In their last eight games, the Badgers’ service errors have outnumbered their service aces. UW’s service aces either matched or outpaced their service errors in 10 of their first 18 games. Freshman Izzy Ashburn gave the team an unexpected boost at the service line and could be a key contributor in the serving facet of the game.An NCAA championship is a legitimate goal for this team. All three phases of the game are necessary to accomplish that goal.last_img read more

Conquerors hold on for 1-0 win to maintain top position

first_imgThe in-form Fruta Conquerors took on the third-placed Western Tigers as the Guyana Football Federation’s (GFF’s) Elite League III continued at the Georgetown Football Club (GFC) Ground last night; and expectedly, the match ended in favour of the Conquerors.Part of the action in the GFF Elite League IIIAs the referee blew the whistle to signal the start of the match, both teams looked mean and hungry, and the expectation was that they had a score to settle. The Conquerors took possession of the ball, and it was not long before they secured their first goal, in the 11th minute, when number 21, Ryan Hackett, fired a scud missile into the back of the Tigers net, leaving them in shock.The score was now 1-0, and the big cats were hunting for an equalizer. They employed every football tactic in their arsenal of strategies, but still came up short. The felines had 54 percent possession of the ball, but the Conquerors somehow were able to fend them off; thus at half-time the score remained 1-0 in the Conquerors’ favour.On the defensive for the rest of the game, the Conquerors were somehow able to withstand wave after wave of determined Tigers’ offensive play; and at the end of the match, the unchanged score of 1-0 meant the Conquerors had defended well enough not to allow the Tigers to convert any of their passes.last_img read more

Situation uncertain in Pakistan as former PM returns from exile

first_imgThe government has indicated that it plans to thwart their plans and has warned Sharif not to return. But it remained unclear whether the government planned either to deport him to Saudi Arabia, where he has spent much of his time in exile, or to arrest him. Sharif reached Heathrow Airport in London on Sunday evening along with a large group of reporters and supporters. The journalists accompanying Sharif were divided into two groups, one taking a Gulf Air flight and the other joining him on the Pakistan International Airlines flight. “I’m very excited to be returning after seven years,” he said, before boarding the direct flight from London to Islamabad. As for what kind of reception he expected in Pakistan, he said: “I have a mission that is much more important than any reception – to restore democracy in the country and restore the rule of law. So it is a very noble mission that I have.” Asked if he expected a safe landing, he said, “We hope so.” ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Uncertainty, anticipation and anxiety gripped Pakistan as Nawaz Sharif, an opposition leader and former prime minister, began his trip to return to the country after seven years in exile. Sharif, whose government was toppled by Pakistan’s current president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, in a bloodless coup in 1999, was expected to land at Islamabad airport this morning. He announced that he would return after the country’s supreme court ruled in late August that he could. The ruling came after Musharraf unsuccessfully tried to oust the court’s chief justice. Sharif’s supporters said they were planning a rousing welcome. Before boarding the plane, Sharif told his brother, Shahbaz Sharif, who faces arrest in Pakistan on murder charges, that it was not necessary for him to return to Pakistan. Shahbaz Sharif faces five counts of murder in cases the Pakistani government recently reopened, but he had been planning to return to Pakistan on Sunday on a separate plane from London. Nawaz Sharif served as prime minister twice in the 1990s, and he leads an opposition faction of the country’s governing party, the Pakistan Muslim League. He has consistently been one of the most vocal and defiant opponents of Musharraf, who is considered an important ally of the United States in its effort to curb terrorism. Pakistani officials remained tight-lipped about their strategy. “I can’t say,” Sheik Rashid Ahmed, the country’s minister of railways, told Dawn News, a television news channel, in regard to what the government planned to do about Sharif’s arrival. Ahsan Iqbal, the information secretary of Sharif’s political party, said Sunday that “Islamabad seems under siege.” Security was increased in Islamabad and an adjacent city, Rawalpindi, on Sunday. Police officers were stationed at intersections leading to the Islamabad airport and other entry points to the city. Barbed wire was strung and barricades were set up around the airport. By midnight, local reporters were told to vacate the airport premises.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more