Badger Sports Roundup

Monday press conference verbatims: volleyball coach Pete Waite and women's golf coach Todd Oehrlein

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Volleyball coach Pete Waite:

On confidence for the season: "Going into the season I'm excited. Confidence comes with playing some matches and seeing how the team does. But this team, I like a lot. The energy and the enthusiasm the team brings to the court is a step up from last year. The things they are doing in the gym in preseason, so far, is a step up from last year. So I think, even though there are some young players in the group they are going to progress quickly and I think they're going to come together well. I'm excited about it, but until we meet an opponent we won't know exactly how well we'll do."

On invitational opponents and opening at home: "It's going to be great to be home right away. We start off with New Hampshire on Friday night and that going to be a good match. It's a team that not many people know about, but it's a very good team. It's a team who's coach, Jill Hirschinger, was coach at Drake for a number of years and did a great job there, also at Ferris State and then out in New Hampshire. They took Minnesota to four games last year in the NCAA tournament and Minnesota is obviously a top ten team, so they really hung in there. I think Kansas City is a team that is trying rebuild from last year and they were struggling a little bit so it will be interesting to see them. Washington is a very strong team, they've got a new coach, Jim McLaughlin, who's in his second year I believe. He was at Kansas State so we've seen him a number of times before. We know his style of offense and they are very, very strong all the time. I think it's a good blend of teams coming in and it is great to be home. Our fans are awesome and it's going to be a test, for our freshmen especially, to be playing in front of a bigger crowd than they've ever been used to. That's something that they have to do and be able to play well and not get rattled in front of a big crowd."

On Morgan Shields: "She is really the key to the team this year, being a fifth year senior, returning All-American, she's the oldest in the group. We will do as Morgan does. She's one who actually needed to settle into her position. Earlier, as a player, she had to battle Lizzy Fitzgerald, and took a backseat to her. Then when she got the helm last year, she did a nice job. She's got the mentality of just go, go, go all the time, she actually has to settle down and really run the team, outside of herself. She's doing better with that and I think she's going to have a great year. She's just fighting really hard, she worked very hard over the summer. She's been doing some new things in preseason that I haven't seen her do, so that's exciting for me to see."

On the freshmen: "We've got some great freshmen in. We're going to be relying on a couple of those people to come in and do some great things this year. Maria Carlini will probably be starting for us on Friday night. She's a 6'2", Canadian, middle blocker who does awesome things. Amy Bladow will be rotating through in that same middle blocking position. She's a three-time state high jump champion out of Colorado, so she's going to be helping us out a lot, too. Lindsay Boler from New Orleans, has got the Sherisa Livingston kind of jump and arm on her. Kind of a rocket, [her arm is] a little out of control right now but she's going to be an awesome player. We're going to see some great things out of this group and like I said this group brings more enthusiasm and excitement than I've seen in a couple years. For a couple years we were defending the Big Ten title, after 2000 and again after 2001, and that's very difficult to do. Now we're kind of looking up at everyone else. We've got to go after them and I like that, it's a good place to start."

On the team's capabilities: "There are a few questions, but I feel like I do have a good handle on it because of the way they have approached everything. They worked extremely hard in the spring and summer to prepare themselves for this preseason and now going into the first match. This team has been more focused and intent on learning. They really soak things up in the gym and they take them and place them into the scrimmages and hopefully into the competitions. It's a faster learning group than I've seen, so I think their learning curve is going to be huge. They are really going to be taking off as the season goes on. They are going to learn along the way, but I think they are really going to battle in the mean time."

Women's golf coach Todd Oehrlein:

Opening comments: "I am awfully excited to be coming to Madison. The last two weeks have been very busy and it has definitely been a transition so far. We are making progress and we have had a very productive two weeks and we're excited to get started."

What was your knowledge or relationship with (men's golf head coach) Jim Schuman and how closely will you work with him? "Well we're going to work very closely and we're very close right now, our desks are 15 feet apart so we will be very close to each other. However, I did not have any close relationship with him prior to coming to Madison. I've had a couple of players from the Madison area that have worked with him, everything I have heard he does a tremendous job and I really enjoy getting to work with him so far for two weeks."

What is the biggest challenge coming to Madison where the hope is to eventually win a national championship? "The main challenge is just going to be able to keep all the best players here and keep them away from the dreams and ideas of wanting to move south. We are going to want to recruit the best players here and just be able to compete at this level with having a winning season and it can be done."

How was it being considered a candidate for the men's golf coaching position as well as women's? "I was a candidate for the men's (coaching) job and I did come down and interview for the men's (coaching) position. Throughout that process, they also asked me if I wanted to be considered for the women's (coaching) position. I was obviously very flattered and excited about that and was looking for that opportunity and welcomed that opportunity with open arms. The opportunity to come back home and join a major program is a great opportunity."

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