The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, December 11, 1998, Page 9, Image 9

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UW wants wins to get back in front of home fans
By Andrew Strnad
Staff writer
Like Homer’s “Odyssey,” the story of the
Wisconsin volleyball team is about its
journey home.
Wisconsin is this year’s host
university for the NCAA
Final Four. And if they
win two more matches,
UW will be able to play
in the school’s first
ever Final Four in
front of the home
The Badgers (29
4) begin their jour
Wisconsin Coach John Cook said.
The Badgers led the Gators two
Cook returns to Lincoln for only the sec
ond time since taking
the reins in
“It’s good to be
back here,” Cook
said. “I’m excited
for all of the teams
that will get to play
here at the colise
Someone who
has played at the NU
| Coliseum hundreds
I of times for the Huskers
but who will be wearing
the red and white of
Wisconsin tonight is
Assistant Coach Christy
Johnson was a two-time
ney tonight at 5 at
the NU Coliseum
against the
University of
Barbara (29-5).
If the pressure to
make it to the Final Four
as the host team isn’t big
enough, senior defensive
specialist Lindsey Buswell
said the presence of the
as well as top-seed
ed Nebraska make it that much
more difficult.
“It would be great to play the
Final Four in our hometown, but
there’s still pressure to play teams
like UC-Santa Barbara,” Buswell
The Badgers have felt the pressure
before - as recently as last year when,
as a top seed, Wisconsin was one game away
from reachmg the Fmal Four against Florida.
“It’s something that doesn’t go away,”
3888 m 88888
All-American setter at Nebraska
(1994-95) and a member of NU’s
1995 national championship team.
f The Omaha native joined Cook
at Wisconsin last year after spending
one year as coach at Millard North
High School.
Cook said he hopes that given the
local ties of Johnson and himself, the
fans at the NU Coliseum will get behind
the Badgers against UC-Santa Barbara.
Wisconsin (29-4)
Seed: 2
Ranking: 8
Conference Record: 17-3
Tourney Record: 9-6
How they got there: Beat Arkansas Little
Rock 3-0 in 1st round, beat San Diego
3-0 in 2nd round
thing we will forget,” Buswell said.
The other part of Wisconsin’s journey
home involves its coaching staff.
For starters, Cook called Lincoln home
from 1988-1991, when he was an assistant
head coach under Nebraska Coach Terry
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Coach hopes finals don't take energy out ofUCSB
By Shannon Heffelfinger
Senior staff writer
The University of California-Santa
Barbara volleyball players have been stress
ing out about their biggest tests of the semes
ter all week.
The subjects of the exams haven’t been
UCSB’s NCAA regional semi-final oppo
nent Wisconsin, or its possible regional final
matchup with either Nebraska or
Pepperdine. ■ ikiiwc
auvuus stress has been UIMIV t
more academic than
athletic UCSB holds
its final exams this
week, and the
Gauchos didn’t arrive
in Lincoln to prepare
for their 5 p.m. Friday
match against eighth
ranked Wisconsin
(29-4 overall and 17-3
in the Big Ten) until
Thursday after
Instead, they
were taking tests \
in Santa nk,
Assistant Coach
Ted Gilkey, the only UCSB
representative at the Pacific
Region teams’ press conference Thursday,
was expecting the players and Head Coach
Kathy Gregory to arrive for a 7 p.m. practice
- which will be just the Gauchos’ second
practice of the week.
“It's been extremely difficult,” Gilkey
said. “The players at UC-Santa Barbara take
their academics so seriously. I've been at
institutions where final exams are important
and they meant a lot, but not as much as they
mean to this team.
“There’s a lot of stress going on right
now. When they get here later today, I’m
hoping that all the pressure will be off their
As one of only four schools in the coun
try to have competed in all 18 NCAA
Tournaments, UCSB (28-5 and 13-3 in the
Big West) has grown accustomed to postsea
son pressure on the court.
Last season, the Gauchos defeated
Texas in three straight games in a
regional semifinal match before losing
to eventual national champion Stanford in
the regional final in Palo Alto, Calif.
UCSB returns just seven players from the
1997 team, but the small list includes some
big names. Junior outside hitter Roberta
Gehlke, a second-team All-American as a
sophomore, leads the Big West in kills per
game (5.05) and digs per game (4.07).
Katie Crawford, a 1997 first-team All
American, missed 11 matches with a broken
thumb but has begun to return to form. The
senior middle blocker collected 18 kills
against UCLA in the tournament's second
Big West Freshman of the Year Brooke
Rundle (setter), junior Charlene Conlye -
who owns a .303 hitting
percentage - and seniors
Eric McCown and
Tania Yamashita round
out the starting lineup.
Gilkey said the
Gauchos are eager for
their on-court test
against Wisconsin -
even if their prepara
tion does call for
a quick crash
course in
Badger tenden
“Our match
with Wisconsin is
going to be exciting,”
Gilkey said. "They’re
a great athletic team
and they are very well
UC-Santa Barbara (28-5)
Seed: 3
Ranking: 11
Conference Record: none
Tourney Record: 12-17
How they got there: Beat Santa Clara
3-0 in 1st round, beat UCLA 3-1 in 2nd