Volleyball players make Big Ten teams

Women's hockey signs three; a look at the Badgers in the polls

Three Badgers make all-conference volleyball squads

Wisconsin volleyball players junior middle blocker Sheila Shaw, senior opposite hitter Jill Odenthal and freshman setter Jackie Simpson were all named to all-Big Ten teams, which were announced Tuesday.

Shaw was a unanimous pick for the 2004 all-Big Ten team who leads the Badgers in kills (3.81 per game) and blocks (1.28 per game). She has recorded double-figure kills in 21 matches, and she has led the team in kills in 12 matches and in blocks in 14 matches.

Odenthal made the honorable-mention all-Big Ten team after ranking second on the team with 2.96 kills per game and third with 0.76 blocks per game. She has earned double-digit kills in 16 of the Badgers' 28 matches and double-digit digs in seven. She also made the 2004 InnTowner Invitational all-tournament team in September. Odenthal also received the UW's Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.

Simpson earned a spot on the all-freshman team after starting in 24 matches and playing in 27. She currently ranks fifth in the conference with 12.98 assists per game, and averages 1.81 digs, 0.82 kills and 0.74 blocks per game. She had a career-high 75 assists against then-No. 2 Minnesota Oct. 30.

Women's hockey inks three in early signing period

Three future women's hockey players have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Badger hockey program at Wisconsin next fall. Forwards Kayla Hagen, Angie Keseley and Erika Lawler have committed to Wisconsin during the early signing period.

"We're really pleased to be able to sign these three athletes early on," head coach Mark Johnson said. "They are good skaters and can handle the puck well. As we move into the spring we are hoping to round the group out and fill in the holes. We were really happy to get two of the top recruits out of Minnesota with Angie (Keseley) and Kayla Hagen. All three will help us replace the forwards we're losing next year."

Hagan is a 5-foot-5 forward from Crosslake, Minn. Who competed with the Hibbing High School Bluejackets. Hagan has earned all-area and all-state recognition and has been named to the Associated Press' all-state first team. She has participated in the USA developmental camp as well as the Community Olympic Development Program. She has racked up 252 career points in three seasons (134 goals and 118 assists).

Keseley, a 5-7 forward from St. Louis Park, Minn., who skated for the St. Louis Park High School Orioles, will bring another scoring touch to the team. She led the state in points with 103 last season and has 289 career points on 187 goals and 102 assists in 101 games. Like Hagan, she has trained with the Community Olympic Development program and has also participated in the National Development Camp.

"These women have all competed and performed, consistently at the level they are at. Both Angie and Kayla have put up big numbers since their freshman years," Johnson said. "Kayla went from 28 goals her freshman year to 49 to 57 last season. She holds five of 10 state tournament records in scoring. Angie led the state in points last season. This is the caliber of athletes that we are bringing in and the entire coaching staff is excited to bring them in."

Lawler, a 5-0 athlete from Fitchburg, Mass., who attends Cushing Academy, was named the best offensive player as a sophomore and made the New England All-Star League roster last season. She has participated in Lake Placid Under-16 and U-17 festivals and is the three-year recipient of the Bette Davis Award.

"We got a chance to see Erika while we were out in Boston last weekend," Johnson said. "It's certainly nice to get a good recruit out of the East Coast. She is just a great young person with a wonderful personality. She is the captain of her team at Cushing and will be a good addition to our team here."

In the polls… The volleyball team ranked No. 21 overall and No. 5 in the Mideast Region in the Rich Kern Percentage Index. The RKPI serves as an indicator of how a team might be ranked in the region and where it might be seeded in the NCAA Tournament. The Badgers were seeded No. 14 in the NCAA Tournament and will host Valparaiso, Notre Dame and Loyola this weekend in the first two rounds of the tournament.

The men's hockey team, after falling to Michigan State 4-0 but defeating Michigan 3-1 over the weekend, did not move in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Top 15 poll. The Badgers (10-4-0) stayed at the No. 2 spot. Western Collegiate Hockey Association foe Minnesota (10-3-0) moved from third to first after defeating Michigan and Michigan State. The team did take a dive in the U.S. College Hockey Online Poll, slipping from No. 2 to No. 4.

The Wisconsin women's hockey team moved up a spot in the USA Today/US Hockey Magazine Top 10 poll, as well as the USCHO poll. The Badgers, who defeated Harvard and Northeastern over the holiday weekend, moved from No. 5 to No. 4 in both polls. Minnesota (11-0-1) is still the top-ranked team in the nation according to the pollsters.

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