Offense responds in big way against OSU

first_imgThe Wisconsin volleyball team has finally put an end to its two-game losing streak.After dropping matches against Washington and Penn State over the course of the past week, the Badgers defeated Ohio State in three sets Sunday afternoon.According to head coach Kelly Sheffield, losing two games straight has not hurt the Badgers in their pride whatsoever. He said he sees Wisconsin as a strong team and believes that strong teams are able to come back. The Badgers displayed determination and perseverance against the Buckeyes, fighting off several OSU rallies throughout the three-set sweep.Although the match against Ohio State was the first time in the last four matches Wisconsin hasn’t faced off a ranked opponent, Sheffield was confident his team was ready to take on any opponent.“It wouldn’t have mattered who was wearing the uniform on the other side of the net,” Sheffield said. “You totally expect this team to come out and make a statement and I thought that’s what we did that today.”The distribution of hitters made a statement for the Wisconsin offense, helping it get back on the right track. The attackers seemed to be particularly challenging for Ohio State’s defense. The tandem play of Wisconsin’s middle blocker Dominique Thompson and right side hitter Courtney Thomas forced OSU’s back court defense to stay on its toes, as the two Badgers finished the match with a combined 21 kills.“We all were very focused, and we all wanted to get out of this losing streak that we were in,” Thompson said. “We wanted to come out hard today and show everybody what we could actually do.”Due to OSU’s constant substitution and switching between running a 5-1 and a 6-2 offense, Sheffield strategized multiple plays to mix up where Thompson and Thomas hit from along the net in order to throw the Buckeyes off balance.“Part of our game plan was to attack the middle part of the court. Our middles did a really good job today of transitioning hard,” setter Lauren Carlini said. “Courtney [Thomas] also did really well hitting from the middle of the court too.”Throughout the match, Thomas ran a route in which she approached her kills from the middle of the net, while Thompson would simultaneously approach from the right side for a slide shot off a quick back set from Carlini.“Lauren was trying to get the ball to Dom [Thompson] a lot early,” Sheffield said. “We thought we could be successful early at the middle part of the court, not just with her, but we thought that we could get the ball to Court on some second tempo balls in the middle.”That game plan set up was very effective for the Wisconsin’s offense as Thompson swung for 10 kills, while hitting at a .391 clip, and assisted on three blocks by the end of the match. That was an improvement from Thompson’s performance against Penn State where she had only six kills and a .333 hitting percentage.“I think we’ve got players that take pride when things don’t go the way that they want them to in a match,” Sheffield said. “They’re going to make sure that they come back with strength.”This is particularly true for Thomas, Wisconsin’s right side hitter.In Wednesday’s match, Penn State silenced Thomas, who completed the match with only one kill. Sunday, she finished on an entirely different note as she emerged from the match against OSU with 11, the highest amount of kills on either team.“I knew they [Penn State] set up a good block against me. I’m not always going to have a great game,” Thomas said. “If they set up a good block on me, so what, the next game gives me an opportunity to bounce back.”Sunday was an ideal time for the Badgers to bounce back and finish on top, as this win signifies both the end to a losing streak, as well as their first conference win of the season.“It feels good,” Carlini said. “It’s hard to play well against this team, but we executed the game plan well, and came out this week for our first Big Ten win. We’re excited about it.”Wisconsin will travel to Illinois to face off against the Northwestern Wildcats this Wednesday, as the Badgers continue to work their way through a challenging Big Ten schedule with a growing determination and confidence in their play.last_img read more

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The Looney Rule

first_imgMay Day, May Day, red phone ringin’, red phone singin’, head coach going down, no head coach gone down. No, folks this is not one of the scenes from the Black cinema classic, “Pootytang” that I happened to steal from the cutting room floor a few years ago.This is some reality TV type craziness. Pitt hired Mike Haywood, who led Miami (Ohio) to the MAC championship during the 2010 season after Dave Wannestedt resigned as the Panthers head football coach under duress. Now less than a month after he was hired as the first African-American head men’s football coach in the history of the university, Haywood has been unceremoniously dismissed as a result of some serious “felonious” domestic battery charges levied against him.Many Black folks on the streets of the city of Pittsburgh were expressing anger and frustration as a result of the firing of the now former “hire.” You cannot really say that he was Pitt’s coach. Heck the man never coached a game.If Mr. Haywood is guilty of the violations that he is accused of and the “glove” does fit, not only is his firing justified; is it possible that the assistant coaches that followed him to the University and who are now unemployed have the right to file a civil suit(s) against him for punitive damages?Please take a closer look at the lives he has damaged behind his own selfish actions and lack of spiritual, mental, moral and physical discipline.Haywood had the audacity to say this about his dismissal; “It isn’t fair. The truth will eventually come out.”No “mad” Mike; what isn’t fair is the stress thrust upon a group of assistant coaches not realizing that they were being loyal to a master of stupidity. Think about the men who sold houses to buy houses having to probably look for apartments, uprooting their families just because you fooled them into believing in you.Mike Haywood strutted into the Steel City crowing like a cock in a henhouse on Easter but he exited the Fort Pitt tunnels stumbling, fumbling and mumbling without ever coaching one single game. His “future” body of work now lies cold on the pavement of reality without life and the scene of the crime only outlined by the “chalk talk” of his misrepresentations.One former staffer with the university had this to say in the aftermath of Haywood’s dismissal. “I was very disappointed when they hired him. He was from a small school with only two years’ experience and the first was miserable, so he only had one year of being a proven winner as a head coach. He did have a few years as an assistant but he never stayed anywhere very long to prove himself. I feel sorry for him. He needs to try to land a job as an assistant again somewhere; maybe Charlie Weiss will give him something at Florida.”For his stupidity Mike Haywood does not deserve another coaching position, at least not in the near future. How does; “welcome to McDonalds how may I help you, sound to you?” No Mike wait on the next person, I’m still looking.(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: [email protected]­pittsburgh­courier.com or 412-583-6741.)last_img read more

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