Sheffield ready for packed Field House in volleyball home opener

first_imgAs the Wisconsin volleyball team heads home for its home opener Friday, head coach Kelly Sheffield hopes to repeat the Badgers’ strong performance against Colorado State last weekend in a raucous environment. “They had 7,000 fans there, [an] all‑time high,” Sheffield sat at a Monday news conference. “Really great environment, great crowd. I thought our kids rose up to the occasion. It was a great team effort against a really quality opponent.”The Wisconsin volleyball team returns home Friday night for its first home match of the year, facing the Miami Hurricanes in the first game of a round-robin tournament.The Badgers started the 2014 season with five straight road wins, and they look to be in top form after going 3-0 over the weekend at the Northern Colorado/Colorado State Classic.It will be an emotional night for the Badgers, who will return home after a historic 2013 national championship runner-up season. Last season, the Badgers defied all odds and became the lowest seeded team to ever advance to the national championship.Penn State ends Wisconsin’s post-season cinderella runIn one of the most unanticipated post-season streaks in program history, the Wisconsin volleyball team fell to Penn State 3-1 Read…“We’re excited about this weekend coming back home,” Sheffield said. “We’re hoping that we’re able to pack our place, just like the place we just left was full for us. We hope our fans will show up and pack the Field House.”Sheffield said, however, that any emotions from the pregame festivities will not be a big distraction for the team, even as they see the 2013 season celebratory banner being put up.“I don’t know if there will be a whole lot of emotion, to tell you the truth,” Sheffield said.  “Maybe it makes for a better story if we weep, hug each other, things like that.”While excited about the increased attention and respect the Badgers are getting following their strong 2013 season, Sheffield said he’s not looking back in year two as he aims to keep his team focused on the new season.“Last year just isn’t in our vocabulary,” Sheffield explained. “There’s a different type you can tell that. But we want to be one of those programs that does it consistently.”With a number of key contributors returning, the Badgers will have a great opportunity to establish the consistent success Sheffield is looking for, starting with sophomore setter Lauren Carlini.Carlini setting up for strong sophomore campaign For sophomore setter Lauren Carlini, it will be rather difficult to top her freshman year in Madison. The anchor of Read…Carlini was sensational in her first year as a Badger, when she was named the 2013 Big Ten Freshman of the Year and was part of the NCAA Championship All-Tournament team. Back for her second season, Carlini not only appears better than last year, but smarter and more unpredictable with where she sets the ball to her teammates, Sheffield said.“The plays that she’s running, the progressions, what she’s seeing on the other side of the net is totally different,” Sheffield said of Carlini. “She’s speeding up the offense a lot more.”Outside hitter Ellen Chapman is also expected to play a major role in continuing Wisconsin’s success this year as she enters her senior season looking to expand her leadership role in the team.Chapman’s motivation elevates play to new heights At 6-foot-4, Ellen Chapman’s teammates have looked up at her throughout her career. But this year, her teammates will look Read…Earning All-American Honorable Mention honors in 2013, Chapman’s upcoming season as a Badger seems poised to be her best, Sheffield said, noting a number of improvements already this year.“She’s putting up first and second team All-American numbers right now,” Sheffield said of Chapman. “There was a drive [Friday vs. Northern Colorado] that if she continues that, she keeps growing on that, man, she’s in for a special season.”The Friday match at the Field House between the Badgers and Hurricanes begins at 7 p.m. The Badgers will finish the tournament with games at noon against Missouri State and 7:30 p.m. against Ball State Saturday.last_img read more