Janelle Gabrielson (6) and the Wisconsin volleyball team hopes to find success this weekend at the Oregon State Invitational.[/media-credit]After hosting its own tournament last week, the Wisconsin volleyball team will play in the Oregon State Invitational this weekend.During their own InnTowner Invitational — which took place at the Field House last weekend — the Badgers went 1-2, sweeping South Dakota, but losing to Duke and Ohio. While the outcome of the tournament was less than ideal, head coach Pete Waite saw improvement throughout the course of the weekend.“I was really pleased with their mental toughness and desire on the court,” Waite said. “I think the people in the stands saw a real improvement and saw that they really were fighting for every point.”Now, the Badgers will head to Oregon State to take on Seattle, Cal State Fullerton and Oregon State. Last year, UW swept Cal State Fullerton at the UNLV Classic at the beginning of the season. However, the Badgers lost to Oregon State in the Marquette Cheese Bowl last season. The loss still lingers in some players’ minds.“I think it’s in some of the returning players’ minds,” sophomore setter Janelle Gabrielsen said. “We would really like to beat them on their home turf. I think if we keep playing like we have been in practice, and we play as a team, then we’ll have a good shot.”For senior outside hitter Brittney Dolgner, though, playing Oregon State means matching up with one of the Pac-10’s top outside hitters, Rachel Rourke. In last year’s match, Rourke overpowered the Badgers, which Dolgner credits to much of the Beavers’ success.“I take it personally because their left side was just killing us,” Dolgner said. “I really just want to get in there and stuff [Rourke] a few times. I just think that if we shut her down, we’ll shut their whole team down.”But with those strong words aside, Dolgner noted that practice has been focusing mostly on defense over the past week, which was one of the Badgers’ weaker points during the tournament last weekend.“We’ve mostly been focusing on blocking,” Dolgner said. “We got beat a lot on the block last weekend so that was one of our main focuses.”“I think they’re really going to bring it to us again,” she continued. “Oregon [State] beat us with a couple good hitters last year, and I think we’ve been working on defending them all week.”But while the Badgers are confident in their attempt to upset Oregon State on its home court, they will have to face a Beavers squad with five returning starters.Wisconsin, on the other hand, has eight new players who have not yet been fully acclimated to the college game. Nevertheless, Dolgner has seen the team improve immensely over the past week, and she feels that the team’s improvement, coupled with a win in the upcoming tournament, would be a huge step for the Badgers.“A win would definitely be great, and just the steps we’ve taken to get to where we are is really great,” Dolgner said. “A lot of people can’t tell the difference between the freshmen and the seniors, and that just shows how much we’ve improved.”Going on the road for the first time this season, the Badgers will enter an environment other than the friendly confines of the Field House. While that may be a daunting task to the younger players on the team, according to Waite, many times a team’s goal can be much stronger on the road when entering a more hostile atmosphere.
Girls Golf Rocks! That’s the message from a group of girl golfers who want to inspire others to follow them into the sport.Twelve members of the Essex County Girls squad have been trained as leaders and mentors for the project to promote the sport with the help of four local golf clubs.Their message is that golf is a fun and sociable game, with health benefits and a competitive edge – and they want other girls to join in. Their recent photoshoot (image © Leaderboard Photography) for the campaign poster shows that golf can be anything but fuddy-duddy.The Girls Golf Rocks campaign tees off with a big taster session in April at each of the four clubs taking part – Little Channels, Crowlands Heath, Playgolf Colchester and The Rayleigh Club. Three county squad girls will be helping out at each club.Following the taster sessions, when local schoolchildren will be welcomed by the PGA professionals, there will be a four-week structured coaching programme provided by the clubs, with the county girl players mentoring the newcomers.The finale will be a competition on the par three course at Channels GC in May, where new young players will enjoy playing holes with their mentors, benefiting from their experience and encouragement on the course.The project is being led by the Golf Foundation and supported by England Golf and Active Essex.Katie Moggan, Regional Development Officer for the Golf Foundation, said: “The Essex County Girls really do deserve great credit for launching Girls’ Golf Rocks and it is very much their project. As young, athletic players who love this game, and who exhibit a great sense of fun when playing golf, you really couldn’t find better ambassadors for this sport.“In terms of breaking down the barriers for new girl golfers, these county players really ‘get it’. They know how to encourage new players and I am sure they will be excellent mentors for young people coming into these clubs.”The project will be directly linked to the national ‘This Girl Can’ promotional campaign on TV and other media (www.thisgirlcan.co.uk) which aims to inspire more women and girls to enjoy exercise. See more also on Twitter at #thisgirlgolfs.Katie praised Lauren Spray, Women and Girls Participation Manager for England Golf, Helen Tarttelin, Essex County Development Officer, Louella Hitchcock, Essex County Captain, and Wendy Cook, County Junior Girls Organiser for Essex, for their “brilliant work” in the organisation for a project which, if successful, may well be tried in other regions of the country. 23 Mar 2015 Girls Golf Rocks is set to inspire new players