Monday, October 27, 2014

Second Half Starts

Katelyn Hegewald, the student-manager of the team, takes over the Milwaukee Volleyblog on a full-time basis in 2014.

Self-described as "that girl who sits on the bench and catches scarves, books, pens and sometimes even heavy necklaces that Susie throws when she gets frustrated," she will be writing the blog every week for the team and the many endeavors they encounter.

Today is her eighth installment for 2014.

We went into the weekend tied for first with Oakland and Youngstown, with Valpo and UIC tied for second. We traveled to Valpo and Chicago for a weekend of wins.

We headed down to Valpo on Friday and, as usual, stopped at the always-amazing Portillos. I am thankful for about a million things since I started doing this four years ago, but getting introduced to Portillos might be be in the top ten. So after the quick drive and pit stop for food, we ended up getting to the gym a little bit early, maybe not a little bit, more like almost two hours. The weather was gorgeous so the team got off the bus and started playing some old schoolyard games, which was a sight to see.

We got into the gym and Susie had everyone line up on the end line, a relay race was coming. After a very entertaining relay race, we played against the Crusaders and won in four. We got out of dodge and then got to our super-awesome hotel that had a pool with a waterfall right when you walked in the door (sorry, I am still secretly a 7-year-old at heart). The hotel also had a Starbucks inside of it which is pretty dangerous for me, I promised myself I wouldn’t get any, so naturally you could find me in line Saturday morning before we left.

Saturday we drove from Valpo to UIC and again, was a little early, so we took advantage of the unbelievable nice weather and spent a little bit more time outside in the Windy City. Another relay race, and a three-set match later we were on our way home with another victory. This makes us now tied for first with Oakland going into a one-match weekend against Green Bay on Friday.

As Maisey and I were sitting on the UIC bench, I remember turning to her and saying “God, I love this program.” I am not entirely sure of the play, but I am pretty sure it was a hard serve that Taylor passed beautifully out of her body line, Kayla did that really cool thing where she slides on her knees while setting a perfect set and Julie was there to slam it home. I turned to Maisey with the biggest smile on my face and again told her how much I love Milwaukee Volleyball. It was an outstanding weekend and I loved being apart of every single second of it.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Down in the Books

Katelyn Hegewald, the student-manager of the team, takes over the Milwaukee Volleyblog on a full-time basis in 2014.

Self-described as "that girl who sits on the bench and catches scarves, books, pens and sometimes even heavy necklaces that Susie throws when she gets frustrated," she will be writing the blog every week for the team and the many endeavors they encounter.

Today is her seventh installment for 2014.

This past week may have gone down in the books as one of my favorite weekends of these past four seasons.

I know I say that all the time, but seriously, so many shout outs this week! We started the week out with Western Michigan coming over and playing us Tuesday night, and what a game! If you missed the game just know that it was absolutely an outstanding game. A huge shout out goes to junior right-side Maggie Dunbar for getting her career high 20 kills against the Broncos. It was pretty awesome seeing basically every other ball Maggie touched be a kill. Way to go, Maggie. Another shout out from Tuesday nights game goes out to Hannah Blanchard who is currently tearing it up in the middle. We beat the Broncos and called it a night, and got back in the gym Wednesday for the weekend.

Friday we played our 'Go Pink' match against Wright State, who didn’t go down easy, but it was such a fun game to watch! We rallied against the Raiders and won in four. Senior outside Julie Kolinski lead the Panthers with 25 kills on the night. Susie agreed and commented at the end of the match that Wright State played well that we really had to earn that win.

Saturday night we wrapped up the three match week by playing Oakland, who is battling with us at the top for first place. We took the first set of the match, but Oakland would take the next three. Sophomore Myanna Ruiz and Kolinski both had 14 kills on the night, while junior Nicole Latzig made some noise with her 4 blocks and 11 kills, not to mention junior Kayla Prices seasons-best 55 assists.

In regards to the entire week, I believe that Susie said it best in her post match interview against Oakland: "They (Oakland) came to play, when you are the team to beat, it is very hard to win and play hard every single time. It's very hard and challenging, so we will be back to work on Monday."

So there you have it, the first half of conference play has come to an end. We will travel to Valparaiso on Friday and then head to UIC Saturday. I can not believe how fast this season is going! Only a couple weeks until the conference tournament, and as it stands now we are tied for first with Oakland and Youngstown. Hope to see you guys this weekend to kick off the second half of conference play!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Quiet Week

Katelyn Hegewald, the student-manager of the team, takes over the Milwaukee Volleyblog on a full-time basis in 2014.

Self-described as "that girl who sits on the bench and catches scarves, books, pens and sometimes even heavy necklaces that Susie throws when she gets frustrated," she will be writing the blog every week for the team and the many endeavors they encounter.

Today is her sixth installment for 2014.

We’ve got a short one this week folks. This weekend we only played one game and that was against in state-rivals and travel partner UW-Green Bay. But before we get into that, I’d like to just give a giant shout-out to the wonderful Green Bay Packers as they did work Thursday night and took care of the Vikings. Sorry to all you Minnesota people out there, gotta give credit where credit is due, you know?

Anywho, Friday night we took on the Phoenix of Green Bay. They were coming off of a tough first conference weekend as they lost to Valpo in three last Friday and lost to UIC in five Saturday night. It was bound to be a good match, and it sure was.

If you were at the game you probably noticed something about our bench. It’s packed. Like jam-packed. Three years ago when I started being the manager here, I had all the leg room you could imagine, really I could lay down across the chairs if I wanted to, I wouldn’t, but I could. This year, it’s a little bit of a tight squeeze and I am loving it! Our bench is full of some pretty great people and not only that but if anyone ever misses a play when taking stats they’ve got someone on each shoulder that they can ask for a replay of what just happened. It’s a full bench, but it sure is a fun bench, especially when Susie walks through and sings along to a song or cracks a joke.

We beat the Phoenix in four and are looking to move on to next weekends matches because it is our long conference haul. This coming weekend we are out in Ohio to take on Cleveland State and Youngstown State. Before I leave you there is one more order of business on the shout-out list that must be brought up. Over the last couple weeks a huge congrats goes out to senior libero Taylor Golabowski on reaching her 1,000th dig and senior outside Julie Kolinski on reaching her 1,000th kill! Great job ladies, and great job Milwaukee Volleyball!

Until next time...

Monday, September 29, 2014

Horizon League Kicks Off

Katelyn Hegewald, the student-manager of the team, takes over the Milwaukee Volleyblog on a full-time basis in 2014.

Self-described as "that girl who sits on the bench and catches scarves, books, pens and sometimes even heavy necklaces that Susie throws when she gets frustrated," she will be writing the blog every week for the team and the many endeavors they encounter.

Today is her fifth installment for 2014.

This past weekend was the start of the conference regular season and the Milwaukee Panthers were at home! Friday night we played UIC and Saturday against Valpo. I wasn't at the games this weekend, but you better believe I was watching. My best friend, Beth, cycles for Marian University in Indianapolis and this past weekend was her nationals. It is her senior year and they were hosting, so I made the drive down to watch her race.

Friday, after being at the track and in the sun all day I had a mini heart attack around 7 pm. I went to go watch the game on my computer and there was no stream or anything. I must have been outside too long because I instantly started thinking to myself, what day is it? What time is it, really? Am I even on the right website?! I then laughed at myself when I realized I was in a different time zone and it was really only 6 pm in Milwaukee and I still had another hour until the game started.

Then 8 o’clock rolled around and you could have pointed me out like a sore thumb in the crowd. Here is everyone in the stands with their pom-poms and cowbells and I was the only one in the stands with a giant laptop on their lap continuously looking down at it and then looking back up to cheer on whichever Marian racer was racing at that time. But it was well worth it, because I not only got to see Beth get bronze in her first event, but I also got to see us get our first conference win of the season!

Saturday was a little bit easier because by then, I was used to the time change, but I was leaving, so naturally I had yet another moment of confusion. By the time the game started I was already getting ready to head back home, so I had to watch the game through the Horizon League App. Which, if you don’t have that app you should definitely think about getting it! It is a great way to keep up with all Milwaukee sports and scores, you can stream games live, and it’s free! I made sure my phone was fully charged, plugged it into the AUX cord in my car and got ready to hear the entire game.

It was so intense hearing the game and not knowing what was happening exactly when it was happening! I mean, it was only a couple seconds behind but still! Also, I was driving through the fields of Northern Indiana so it’s not like my 4G was exactly perfect when streaming. It was cutting in and out, of course in the fifth game when it was tied 9-9. So I’m in the car, alone, set 5, game tied at 9-9 and the game freezes on my phone. Here I am, both hands 12 and 6 on the wheel (sorry mom and dad, I don’t drive 10-2 anymore) and it freezes. Naturally I start yelling at no one, telling my phone to please find a connection, and asking if my phone was actually serious right now? I’m pretty sure the van next to me full of an entire family thought I was a little bit weird when they looked over and saw me talking to myself. It was frozen for about 4 minutes, which felt like about 3 hours to me. The connection finally came back at match point and I got to hear us win in 5! It was an awesome weekend and we played awesome on top of it. We are now 2-0 in conference to start and we will be home again this Friday to play Green Bay! Can’t wait to see you all there!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Preseason 2014 Comes To An End

Katelyn Hegewald, the student-manager of the team, takes over the Milwaukee Volleyblog on a full-time basis in 2014.

Self-described as "that girl who sits on the bench and catches scarves, books, pens and sometimes even heavy necklaces that Susie throws when she gets frustrated," she will be writing the blog every week for the team and the many endeavors they encounter.

Today is her fourth installment for 2014.

This weekend ended our 2014 preseason and marks the start of our conference regular season. We drove out to East Lansing, Michigan on Thursday, I’m not sure if it’s because we’ve been traveling so much these past three weeks, but the bus ride really seemed like a hop-skip-and a jump away. We popped in a couple movies, did a little homework and bam, we were there.

Our first game of the weekend we meet up with Conference USA’s Western Kentucky once again. We put up a fight against the Hilltoppers, but they were able to take us for a win. We went out for some lunch and came back into the gym completely prepared to take on the Northeast Conference powerhouse LIU-Brooklyn (Long Island University). We were able to take on the challenge of the Blackbirds and won the match in three. It wasn’t a matter of a thirty seconds of Susie getting on the bus after the big win before she grabbed the microphone and started playing songs so everyone could sing along. Freshman, Mykie Olsen, impressed the whole bus as she beautifully sang “Summertime” from the Disney Channel’s hit movie High School Musical (truly a fan favorite).

We didn’t play until 7 pm on Saturday so we had the whole day to kill. We all got to sleep in and made our way down to breakfast, did a little homework, maybe snuck a little napper-nap in, but then it was mall time. There was a pretty sweet outdoor mall about one minute from our hotel so we headed on over. We all got our shopping partners and made our way to basically all the stores. East Lansing must have known that 20 professional shoppers were coming to town cause the deals were all ready for us and we spent half the time of our dinner at Champs showing each other what we all bought.

We got back to the gym to watch LIU-Brooklyn beat Western Kentucky. Then we got prepared to take on the Spartans. We worked hard in entire match but fell short and the Spartans would come out with the W. This has been a great preseason and has really made us tough and focused to start conference this weekend. On that note, we are at home this weekend!! We take on the UIC Flames on Friday at 7 and Valparaiso Saturday at 4. Students get in for free so feel free to make your way on over Friday and Saturday night! Looking forward to seeing all of you there and to get the 2014 conference play started! Until next time…

“No team works without teamwork.” -Dwayne Wade

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Land of 10,000 Lakes

Katelyn Hegewald, the student-manager of the team, takes over the Milwaukee Volleyblog on a full-time basis in 2014.

Self-described as "that girl who sits on the bench and catches scarves, books, pens and sometimes even heavy necklaces that Susie throws when she gets frustrated," she will be writing the blog every week for the team and the many endeavors they encounter.

Today is her third installment for 2014.

Another preseason road trip is down in the books for the Panther volleyball team! This past weekend we were in Minnesota for the Diet Coke Classic, and if you could pick a soda that the entire coaching staff loves it would some sort of Coke product. You could say the cooler in the locker room full of soda for the staff was empty by the end of the trip. Love that Diet Coke!

Due to a class conflict I couldn’t ride the bus up with the team, but I hear Frozen was played, which bummed me out a little because I still need to see that movie! I know, I missed the boat on seeing that movie when it first came out. I was in good hands though. The always wonderful Lori and Ottis Price, parents of setter Kayla Price, were generous enough to let me ride up with them Friday morning. A big shout out to them for letting me talk their ear off, I might be considered to some as a chatty Cathy, once you get me going. Oh, and I got to share the back seat with not only senior Taylor Galobowski’s dad, but also an entire box of cookies. So you could say the ride up was pretty solid.

We struggled Friday night against the Iowa State Cyclones but were ready to go Saturday morning to play the 19th ranked Gophers. What an outstanding game! If you didn’t get a chance to see it or read about it, just know this, it was electrifying. It was almost hard to keep stats on the laptop because I literally didn’t want to take my eyes off the court! We beat Minnesota the first game of the match but the conquered would take on the next three. It was an outstanding game played on both sides, truly. Both teams were made better by playing and being challenged by the other.

Later Saturday night, we played the last game of the weekend which was against the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes. We rallied hard but got beat by the Hurricanes and that concluded the weekend. Overall, in my opinion, I think this weekend was good, I think we are one step further to being totally ready to start conference. We played hard and we never gave up! I am very excited to go on our last preseason trip and then bring it on back to the K to kickstart the 2014 Horizon League Conference play!

Thursday we head on out to East Lansing, Michigan, to take on another Big Ten tournament Michigan State! There we will play the Spartans, LIU-Brooklyn and we will have our second matchup with Western Kentucky! See all you travelers in Michigan and I will see the rest of you at the next home game! Until next time…

“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” -Babe Ruth

Friday, September 12, 2014

Welcome to the VolleyBlog - 2014 Style

Katelyn Hegewald, the student-manager of the team, takes over the Milwaukee Volleyblog on a full-time basis in 2014.

Self-described as "that girl who sits on the bench and catches scarves, books, pens and sometimes even heavy necklaces that Susie throws when she gets frustrated," she will be writing the blog every week for the team and the many endeavors they encounter.

Today is her first installment for 2014.

Due to some issues beyond our control, the start of the blog was delayed so we will catch up in one shot today.

The Panther Volleyball team underwent their first road trip of the season, a quick nine-hour bus ride to Springfield, Missouri for the Missouri State Tournament. Ok, so the ride wasn’t exactly quick, but it was a pretty good time if you ask me! The ride down was Snooze City, everyone kind of passed out the second we got out of Wisconsin until we stopped in Peru, Ill., for some lunch. Once we got back on the bus, everyone was basically up for the rest of the time either doing homework or watching movies. We got to St. Louis, we all leaned up against the window to take pictures of the beautiful Arch and then it was merely a hop, skip and a jump to Springfield. For those of you that don’t know (I was one of these people) Springfield, MO, in September is hot, like really hot. It got up to the 90’s while we were there, but luck for us we were in an air conditioned gym all weekend!

The weekend didn’t go exactly like we wanted it to. Our first match of the tournament we lost to the Summit League's, Oral Roberts from Tulsa, OK. We then came back to the gym Friday night with our game faces on and beat Southland Conference’s Incarnate Word, from San Antonio, TX in three. Saturday we suffered a tough loss to Conference USA standout Western Kentucky in four. Fear not, we will actually be seeing Western Kentucky again next week in Michigan so we will have another chance to take them on! Our last game of the weekend was against Missouri Valley hosting team Missouri State. We lost in three to conclude the tournament. Although we went 1-3 on the weekend a huge congratulations goes out to Julie Kolinski who made the All-Tournament Team, she played absolutely outstanding!

After the tournament we got food delivered to the hotel got ready to go to bed because we were leaving at 6 am Sunday to head back to Wisconsin. But we got a nice surprise at around 11:30 pm. The fire alarms start going off. Now, I’m not talking your run-of-the-mill school fire alarm drill, I’m talking ear-piercing sounds. All the coaches, our trainer and myself were in Susie and Lindsey’s room. Once the alarms went off we all stood up, finding our shoes and making our way (walking) towards the door. After we got into the hallway we were asking where Susie was, because she was literally right next to us. We turn the corner to get out of the building and Susie is sprinting down the hallway with some of the girls. Susie Johnson was not playing around with the fire drill. We all made it out, the firefighters came and checked it out and we were good to go back inside. We all made our way back in but not before we all took selfies with the truck and firefighters behind us. Sophomore outside hitter Myanna Ruiz took a selfie with Kayla with the firefighters in the background. Totally unplanned, the firefighters saw that they were in the picture and threw on a smile and a quick pose for the picture...it was priceless.

We got on the bus and headed on home Sunday morning. We slept, did homework, watched movies, the works. Then some of us played Catch Phrase, which seemed like a good idea but you could say the amount of competitiveness of absolutely through the roof. The teams were Seniors (Julie, Amber, Ari, Taylor, Hannah, and myself) against the rest (Nicole, Maddie, Maggie, Kaisa, and Jess). I am very proud to say the the Seniors steamrolled. Okay, maybe not steamrolled, I might be being a little bias because I was on the winning team, but we did win.

We are back in the gym on Monday and preparing for our next tournament, Minnesota! There we will play Iowa State, Tulsa, and Minnesota. Hope to see you out there! If not, until next time…

“It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog." -Archie Griffin


Welcome to the Milwaukee Women’s Volleyball Preseason 2014 and I’ve got to say sitting behind the media table watching Robert Morris play Miami-Ohio during our home tournament writing this blog brings the biggest smile to my face and maybe even a tear to my eye. I have a good reason for the tear, trust me, but we’ll get to that later.

We just ended our two week preseason and to say it went great would be an understatement. Everything went smoothly, the gym wasn’t 900 degrees, the alarms for the emergency exit doors that clearly state, “Alarm Will Sound If Opened” didn’t go off and there were no serious injuries.

If you came to the tournament this weekend you probably noticed that our bench of staff is just as large as the team that stands at the end of the bench. Joining us this year on staff is Sommer Hill, Jake Conrad, Rachel Neuberger and Maisy Mulvey. At practice we keep score and take stats, but mostly wait for Susie to come over by us and say something funny or sing a part of a song. The song is usually a throwback Destiny’s Child song, because let’s be honest, if you’re randomly going to break out into song it should be a DC song.

Here comes that tear again. This year we will be graduating 5 seniors. The seniors include Julie Kolinski, Hannah Blanchard, Amber Simonton, Arianna Wiersma and Taylor Golabowski. All the seniors were either freshmen or sophomores when I transferred here, so I have the most history with these girls and the friendships I’ve made with them I am truly grateful for...hashtag cheesy, but seriously. In addition to the 5 seniors it is also my senior year, I know, you all are running for the tissues. I’ve loved every second of being at this school and being apart of such an outstanding program. So thanks to all the players, coaches, parents and everyone that reads this, it’s going to be a great senior year!

My quote today comes from the roots of my hometown. Mike Yeager is the head football coach at Carthage College. Yeager has a goal list for his players when they come in the door. Like many coaches that have a goal list the first to are pretty traditional: first is to get an education and second is to win their conference. The third goal he sets for the team is to “Win the Day.” Susie encourages this a lot, did we get better as a team, did we individually improve, did we “Win the Day.” I like this quote a lot because it can not only be applied in sports but also in life. So this is me encouraging all of you to win the day, everyday; sports, school, relationships, life doesn’t matter.

We are off to a great start as we just won our home tournament going 3-0. We are headed on the road for a couple weeks now but don’t worry I will still be bloggin’! We leave Thursday morning for Missouri State for another tournament. Until next time…

”Win the Day.” -Mike Yager