first_imgSophomore Elle Ohlander and the Badgers hope to get a big win over the Phoenix.[/media-credit]In its final tune–up before Big Ten play begins next week, the Wisconsin volleyball team will hit the road to take on the UW-Green Bay Phoenix tonight at the Kress Events Center.The Badgers (4-4) are coming off a second- place finish in the Notre Dame invitational, where they first lost to Notre Dame before sweeping New Mexico State in the tournament finale.Senior Brittney Dolgner and 6-foot-6 sophomore Elle Ohlander were both named to the all-tournament team. The two tallied 39 combined kills against Notre Dame and New Mexico State. They both credit their teammates for giving them the opportunity to make an impact on the court.“I think it hasn’t really been what I improved on, it’s been what all of us have done together as a team,” Dolgner said. “The team is taking away attention from the outside hitters and we’ve just had a lot more openings — it’s been really great.”“[Coach Pete Waite] and I were talking, and he was just telling me to go out and hit every ball as hard as you can,” Ohlander added. “We’ve also been having really good passes and sets, so that makes things much easier for us too.”The Badgers will have to contend with two strong Phoenix outside hitters, seniors Nikki Hintze and Holly Visser. The two lead Green Bay in kills, averaging 3.42 and 2.94 per set. However, while the two may pose a threat to the Badgers, UW head coach Pete Waite said the team hasn’t been focusing too much on defending the duo. Instead, the Badgers are concentrating on improving their own play, not defending others’.“We’re watching [Green Bay] on tape and looking for tendencies, but really we’re working on our side of the net and creating a really strong tempo, a really steady focus, and really consistent play,” Waite said.Sitting at 4-4, Waite and the Badgers are a bit disappointed with their record going into the Big Ten season. However, while in years past the team had performed better in the early goings, its schedule hasn’t been as difficult as it is this year, according to Waite.“We scheduled pretty strong this year, and we’re trying to get ready for Big Ten play,” Waite said. “We’ve accomplished what we wanted to as far as improvement, but now it’s about sustaining a high level of play going into and throughout the Big Ten season.”For the Badgers, improving their record against the Phoenix may not be so difficult. Wisconsin has never lost to Green Bay, beating them seven times in as many meetings. However, the two teams haven’t met since 2000 and the Phoenix return three starters, including Hintze and Visser.“It’s an in-state rivalry, it’s great for volleyball around the whole state,” Waite said. “They’re excited for us to be coming into town, and we’re not going to overlook anybody. They can play really good ball.”For many players on the team, facing the Phoenix has personal implications as well. In pPlaying an in-state rival, several of the athletes have former teammates who they will be competing against for the first time.Ohlander, for example, will be facing a high school teammate, setter Whitney Schott, who she has never matched up against in college. Regardless, the sophomore is excited for the opportunity to play against an old friend.“I think it’s going to be fun., I haven’t seen her in a long time, and it’s going to be weird to see her on the other side of the net,” Ohlander said. “We’re going to go in there and play our best volleyball and bring it to them.”In their last match before returning home to begin conference play, the Badgers will hope to end their preseason on a high note. While the Sept. 23 match against Iowa might be seen as a more important and exciting contest, Waite and his squad are looking to keep their focus on Green Bay before shifting their attention to Iowa.“Even when we mentioned it today, they were excited about their first home match and Big Ten match,” Waite said. “They always love playing at home, the crowd is great here. But first of all, we’re taking care of Green Bay, and then we’ll start looking at Iowa and getting ready for that and the rest of the Big Ten.”—Extra notes:Dolgner was named to her second all-tournament team this season after averaging 3.57 kills and 2.00 digs per set at the Notre Dame Invitational. She had a team-high 13 kills against the Fighting Irish and tallied 12 kills in the Badgers’ win over New Mexico State.The Badgers are 7-0 all time against UW-Green Bay, with six of the seven wins coming at the Field House.Sophomore setter Janelle Gabrielsen, in her first year as the Badgers’ only passer on the court, is averaging a team-high 9.29 assists per game. While she was also a hitter last season, Wisconsin switched its offensive scheme to a 6-1, with Gabrielsen adjusting her role accordingly. She earned all-tournament honors for her passing in the Badgers’ first tournament this season, the InnTower Invitational at the Field HouseWisconsin begins its Big Ten season next Wednesday, Sept. 23 against Iowa at the Field House. Last year, the Badgers split the season series with the Hawkeyes, losing the first match 3-0 and returning the favor at the Field House, winning 3-0.last_img

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