Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Megna's Memoirs - Northwestern & Green Bay

Sept. 24th- Another Big Ten Team Beat By the Panthers

We started of quickly against Northwestern. I played the ball into Kreuser, who made a run to the outside left, pulling their central defense apart. She laid it back to me, I laid it back to Kayla about 35 yards out on the left side, with their defensive still pulled apart, Kayla served the ball into the box. Talbert, with one of the sweetest flicks I have seen, sent it to Kenzie on the opposite side of the box (right side) who placed the ball far post past their keeper. 1-0. It was a great build up that I am sure I didn’t do justice to.

Our second goal was of a different nature… the crazy nature of Sarah Hagen, that is. Our team has struggled in the past with scoring, that hole has been filled and then some. She has scored 11 goals in 11 games. Sammy Vovos flicked the ball onto Hagen, who dribbled to the left corner of the 18 yard box, then with her left foot, her non-dominant foot, hit a shot line drive, far post and side netting, keeper diving but no chance. 2-0. Read More.

Kate Megna is a junior on the women’s soccer team and writes a weekly blog post recapping the previous week’s women’s soccer action. To read previous blog posts visit Megna’s Memoirs.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Felsing On Active Double-Figure Digs List

Thanks to some research by Matt Shoultz from Iowa State - with assistance from a few of us in the Horizon League and others - a list of active double-figure digs streaks has been compiled.

According to the research - and upon seeing the list a few other schools might discover new entries - Lauren Felsing's streak of 39-straight matches in double figures in digs ranks fifth in the country among active streaks. Brittany Malicoat of Valparaiso actually has the longest active streak in the country, having reached double figures in 63-straight matches. The all-time longest streak is 80 matches, set by Jocelyn Wack of Wisconsin from 2004-2006.

Felsing's streak of 39-straight matches puts her 13th on the all-time list.

Felsing isn't the only Panther with a notable digs streak - in fact Becky Peters has three of them. Twice she has reached double figures in digs in 25-straight matches, a mark that sits 26th all-time. She also has a streak of 31-straight matches, which ranks 16th all-time.

While we're recounting some volleyball stat notes, the new NCAA stats are out. Felsing is 24th nationally in digs per set while Peters is 33rd nationally in kills per set. As a team, UWM ranks 17th nationally in digs per set.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Overseas Updates

A number of former Panther men's basketball players are continuing their careers overseas. While a lot of those seasons are just getting underway, and player moves are still being made, here are where some former Panthers are scheduled to play this year.

Boo Davis - Harem SC (Italy)
Shaun Fountain - Vichy (France)
Paige Paulsen - Huesca (Spain)
Marcus Skinner - Piratas (Columbia)
Joah Tucker - St. Quentin (France)
Clay Tucker - BC Kyiv (Ukraine)

This is still an abbreviated list for now, with a handful of others that will likely sign contracts in the next month or so. Over the last few years, there have typically been a dozen or so former Panthers playing overseas at one time.

If you want to try and keep up yourself on some of the Panthers playing overseas, a great spot to go is Eurobasket. Some information is more consistent than others, and some of the websites require a translation that isn't always clear, but you can still get some stats and news notes.

UWM-Northwestern Post-Game Press

The UWM's 2-1 win over Northwestern was  a well-earned third win over a Big Ten team for the Panthers. They also beat Wisconsin 3-0 and Ohio State 4-3 this season and are unbeaten in their last seven games against Big Ten teams (5-0-2).

• Charles Gardner from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was at the game and had a nice article about it here.

• Soccer America also featured parts of my recap in their "College Soccer Reporter" here. You need a subscription to read it, but you can get a free three-month subscription without a credit card.

For those that don't want to head over, their Morning Briefing is titled "Hagen Is Downright Scary". For my recap, click here.

• In other game news, freshmen Makenzie Gillaspie and Sammy Vovos got their first collegiate points. Kenzie scored the first goal of the game and Sammy picked up an assist on Sarah Hagen's goal just before halftime.

• Erin Kane was featured earlier in the week in the Courier News in the Chicago area. The story discusses local prep athletes playing in college and can be found here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Catching Up With the Baseball Team...

Now that school is back in session and the baseball team has fall ball underway, it’s time to take a look back at what some of the current players accomplished on the baseball diamond this summer…

Several members of UWM’s roster played this summer in the Wisconsin State League.

Three of those players spent the season with the Sheboygan A’s, leading the team to a 46-20 record.

Shawn Wozniak topped the team in batting average with a .422 clip, a number that finished third in the league. He appeared in 43 games, scoring 39 runs and driving in 38. His 23 extra-base hits included 16 doubles and a team-high six home runs.

Tim Patzman was second on the list with a .380 batting average, appearing in a team-high 64 games and recording a team-best 250 at bats. He collected a squad-high 28 doubles, drove in 43 runs and went an impressive 19-for-19 in stolen bases.

On the mound, Zach Hoch appeared in 10 games, striking out 21 batters in just 13.1 innings of work while recording a 3.38 ERA.

Cole Kraft played for the Eau Claire Cavaliers, finishing 10th in the league with a .354 batting average and earning the team’s “Key Player Award”. Kraft helped the team to a 33-23 record, starting 51 times in 52 appearances. He scored 37 runs, had 16 doubles and drove in 38.

Wes Munson played for the Oshkosh Giants, finishing fifth in the league with a .391 batting average in 46 games.

Andy Gerhartz played for the Tradewater Pirates in the KIT League (Kentucky/Illinois/Tennessee). In 37 games, he recorded 24 hits, scored 28 runs and stole 23 bases to go along with a .428 on-base percentage.

Doug Dekoning played for the Lannon Stonemen in the Land O’ Lakes League. He was named the Western Division 2008 Rookie of the Year, batting .447, slugging .737 and recording a .512 on-base percentage.

Josh Groves spent the summer with the Madison Mallards in the Northwoods League, appearing in 54 games. He collected 35 hits and scored 33 runs while driving in 16.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Megna's Memoirs - Heading to Minnesota

Thursday the 18th - Heading to Minnesota

We left Milwaukee on Thursday around 10:30 am and headed for Minnesota. After New Mexico last weekend, we were disappointed with our results, and this weekend in Minnesota will be a great opportunity to get back into the national rankings. 

The bus ride went quickly--five hours straight through. Most people slept or tried to get their homework done. Before we knew it, we were at our hotel, checked in and headed back to training. 

Minnesota’s field is off campus, so it doesn’t have that feel that Englemann does, but is good quality and we got a good training in. We, of course, ended with the finishing game I talked about last weekend. The keepers said we could only make five goals this time. After three rounds, the keepers will be getting smoothies and we will be playing this game again... Read More

Kate Megna is a junior on the women’s soccer team and writes a weekly blog post recapping the previous week’s women’s soccer action. To read previous blog posts visit Megna’s Memoirs.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Al's Run Pub...

Nate Weiland and Holly Nearman were featured in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's story of the run here.

There is also a picture of the two of them after the race here.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Panthers Shine At Al's Run

The Panthers boasted the men's and women's winners of Al's Run, which was Saturday in Milwaukee.

Nate Weiland, a former athlete and current assistant coach, won the men's side, while Holly Nearman won the women's race. Nearman exhausted her cross country eligibility last season and will be a senior with the track and field team this season.

Weiland ran a time of 24:58 to win the men's race by 26 seconds over second place. Another former Panther, Aaron Nodolf, finished fifth with a time of 25:44 and won the 30-34 age group.

Nearman, meanwhile, won by nine seconds with a time of 29:45. She is the reigning Horizon
League Outdoor Athlete of the Year and was a two-time all-league first-team runner in cross

Al's Run is an 8,000m and featured 1,877 male runners and 1,406 women. Results available here.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Still More Thoughts On Bud

A few additional thoughts on Bud ...

Detroit Director of Athletics Keri Gaither

"Bud Haidet has been a tremendous role model, mentor and friend since I joined the Detroit Titans program. His dedication to the advancement of intercollegiate athletics with a solid focus on academic achievement and student-athlete welfare is evident in everything he's done at Milwaukee. I wish him all the best in his new adventure."

UWM Volleyball Coach Susie Johnson

“Bud has played a very critical role for me, personally. I have been here 13 years and a lot of that has to do with Bud. He gave me an opportunity to be an assistant coach and then saw my development to become a head coach and he didn’t waver at all as soon as the opportunity came. He made me feel like I could do it, he gave me confidence and hired me as the head coach here. I am very grateful to him and I think he has done a great job with the transition into division one. It is really hard to believe that we have only been D-I 20 years with all of the championships and all of the NCAA Tournaments, so he clearly has done a great job hiring good people all-around and making them comfortable and keeping them here.”

UWM Men’s Soccer Coach Jon Coleman

“He has shown a lot of leadership since I was a player here in 1993. The soccer program has grown by leaps and bounds and he has helped guide the way. At the same time, I think he has created an environment for success and it’s great he has been able to hire some significant and quality people – Brian Tompkins and Louis Bennett within the soccer program – to be associated with those types of people and I am glad that he gave me the opportunity. We wish him all the best for whatever the future holds. He leaves a legacy and he has taught me a lot and has been very helpful and influential in the program’s success, my success and the success of UWM as a whole.”

UWM Baseball Coach Scott Doffek

“I think the baseball program is a microcosm of his whole career here. We started from zero … we weren’t even a division one program when he got here. And myself, along with (former UWM baseball coach) Jerry Augustine – who started in 1995 – slowly grew the program under Bud’s leadership. I think we are at the point now where we are a healthy division one program and a lot of that has to do with Bud’s impact.”

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

More Quotes

While waiting for volleyball to start its match vs. Northern Illinois at the Klotsche Center, here are a few more quotes about Bud Haidet.

Wisconsin and former UWM men’s basketball coach Bo Ryan

"I want to thank Bud Haidet for giving me the opportunity to pursue my coaching career on the Division 1 level. He believed in what we could bring to the team and to the program and he gave us a chance to do it. I will forever be indebted to him for that. Without micro-managing, he was able to give coaches a chance to pursue their ideas and do their own thing and for that I am deeply grateful. I wish him the best of luck in his retirement."

Yale and former UWM soccer coach Brian Tompkins

"Bud saw the department through some lean times in the early years but
always held fast to his vision of making UWM a respected Division One
program. By all objective measures he has succeeded admirably. He gave
me and many other coaches the chance to develop our craft and although
things weren't always easy, the experience was invaluable. Bud can
head into retirement with the knowledge that many people, students,
coaches and administrators alike have been indelibly enriched during
his tenure."

UWM Associate AD and former volleyball coach Kathy Litzau

“One of the greatest things about Bud was the leadership he provided for each of us to do our thing. Certainly the thing that I am probably most thankful for was the work and life balance that he allowed us to have. I think I was the first coach to have kids and he allowed me to bring them in or take the time that I needed and still be in a profession that I loved. He made it very easy for that to occur. I think the commissioner said it best when he said Bud really knew how to locate talent [in hiring coaches]. Everybody knows there is more to it than just the sport. The development of the student-athlete and good academics has always been instilled to us by him. Academically and athletically we have always excelled and he certainly had a lot to do with that.”

UWM Track and Field/Cross Country coach Pete Corfeld

“Besides being here about as long as he has been and being one of his first hires as a coach, I have pretty much seen all of the things he talked about [at the press conference]. Going from NAIA to division three, division two, division one … I have lived all of that and it has brought a big difference over the 20, 21 years the changes have happened. It’s pretty impressive and it’s really cool, as an alum of the university, to see those changes as a coach.”

Loyola Director of Athletics John Planek

“Bud's longevity in this business is a testimony to his hard work, knowledge and dedication to intercollegiate athletics. He will be missed."

Also, in case you haven't caught it yet, you can see coverage from Garry Howard in the Journal Sentinel here and coverage from Mike Kennedy in the UWM Post here.

Press Conference Video

If you want to watch Monday afternoon's press conference, it has now been uploaded to the blog. We are in the process of adding this video to the main website, too, but it is faster (at least for now) to get it on the blog.

Thanks to Frank Campenni, a producer/director in Video & Multimedia Production at University Information Technology Services for recording the event for us, as well as doing some quick repair of a tape that didn't cooperate.

The full press conference video is a little over 17 minutes. And many apologies that I am the still shot on the image above.

Former Athlete And Staff Member Is Hall of Fame Bound

Heather Czappa, a four-year letterwinner on the swim team at UWM from 1995-99 who was also an assistant Milwaukee swim coach for six years, will be inducted into her high school athletics hall of fame later this month.

On Friday, Sept. 26, Czappa will receive the honor during homecoming festivities at her alma mater, Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids. She will be introduced by Keri Siekert, her high school coach, at 5:30 p.m. and inducted in pre-game ceremonies before Lincoln’s homecoming game against DC Everest at 7:30 p.m. that night.

As a high school athlete, she set one conference, two sectional and 11 school records while also earning valedictorian honors in the classroom.

As a collegian, she was a two-time league champion and all-league selection in the 100 backstroke. Czappa was the school-record holder in the 200 backstroke and the 100 backstroke when she graduated and was also a member of the school-record setting 200 and 400 medley relay teams. She was named the UWM Rookie of the Year after her freshman season and earned team MVP honors as a sophomore.

Czappa graduated Summa Cum Laude from UWM after majoring in English with minors in psychology and mass communication. She was an eight-time member of the CSCAA Academic All-America Team and an eight-time Dean's List selection.

She is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics and Senior Women’s Administrator at Alverno College in Milwaukee.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Following Up On The Big Announcement

As you can read here, Bud Haidet announced his retirement as the director of athletics at UWM. There is additional coverage on the main site, including a full transcript of the comments from Bud, Chancellor Santiago and Jon LeCrone. But, on the blog, I thought I would just collect up some other quotes about Bud from various people in athletics.

So, this will be one of a few posts of thoughts from others. I'll also plan on posting links to some of the articles and features on Bud over the next few days.

Current Marquette and former UWM men's soccer coach Louis Bennett

"Obviously, I'm real respectful and thankful to Bud. He's the one who gave me my first opportunity to be a head coach and was extremely supportive in what I did. What he did with me, he did with so many other first-time head coaches in other sports, which is a testament to his style. I'm happy for him, and I think he deserves congratulations for his body of work."

Valpo Director of Athletics Mark LaBarbera

"The Horizon League's position as one of the premier mid-major conferences in the country is attributable to the strength of all of its members. What Milwaukee has been able to achieve both athletically and academically under Bud's leadership exemplifies this strength."

UIC Director of Athletics Jim Schmidt

"Bud is a leader both in the Horizon League and with national issues. The
success UWM has experienced can be attributed to his vision and hard work.
We at UIC wish him the best. We will miss his competitive spirit."

Megna's Memoirs - Road Trip to New Mexico

Note: This entry will be much longer, covering a lot of outside of game activities. - KM

Travel Day: Sept. 11th

Last weekend was our first real road trip—across town to Marquette doesn’t count so much. We had to be packed and ready to leave Englemann Locker room by 6:30 a.m. Now let me tell you, we are not the most cheery team that early in the morning. So, it was quiet ride to the airport.

Our flight took off and we were assigned seats alphabetically, which places me next to our head coach Mike. Now a little background on Mike: He is a health fanatic, no meat, no sugar, no fried food, no carbonated food, nothing artificial—organic. Naturally, it affects what we can eat, so no fried food, no soda, no candy. So the flight attendant comes over the loud speaker, “Our complimentary drink service will be coming around shortly.” For the past three years on flights, Mike and I have been seat buddies, and I have been ordering tomato juice because of it... Read More

Kate Megna is a junior on the women's soccer team and writes a weekly blog post recapping the previous week's women's soccer action. To read previous blog posts visit Megna's Memoirs.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Felsing, Schmitting Earn All-Tournament Honors

One day after completing play at the MSU Showcase, Natalie Schmitting and Lauren Felsing were named to the all-tournament team at the event.

The news came after the tournament wrapped up Saturday night with Michigan State beating UCONN in three sets. That means the Panthers also finished second in the event, posting a 2-1 mark. UWM played its matches in the tournament Thursday and Friday, returning to Milwaukee early Saturday morning.

Felsing was spectacular in the back row all weekend, but especially so in the five-set win over UCONN. She had 23 digs in the match, and along with Lauren Hintze, Becky Peters and others consistently frustrated the Huskies' hitters in the match. Meanwhile, with the Panthers listening to the advice of head coach Susie Johnson and setting the middle, Schmitting took advantage with 17 kills in the win over UCONN. On the weekend, Schmitting had 31 kills and never hit below .467 in a match.

The statistical highlights for the weekend for the two honorees look like this:
Schmitting - 2.82 kills per set; .529 hitting pct; 7 blocks
Felsing - 4.18 digs per set; just one receiving error in 74 chances

It is the third week in a row Felsing has claimed an honor. She was the league defensive player of the week after week one and was named to the all-tournament team at Bradley last week.

By the way, the win over UCONN marked UWM's fifth-straight over a Big East foe.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Announcing A Men's Basketball Schedule

With the 2008-09 men’s basketball schedule now set (or so we hope!), it starts the process of looking a little closer at the opponents and matchups that await the Panthers this season.

Before getting to that, though, a little insight on actually announcing a schedule. Some schools did so a few weeks ago, and some still have not. We've fallen somewhere in the middle compared to league schools, even though it was looking like we might be the final one to get the schedule set.

There are so many factors that work into setting the schedule, which is another discussion for another time. But, our goal in announcing the schedule is to do so when we think it is 100 percent set, right down to the game times for home games. Of course, it usually turns out it is not 100 percent set, as no doubt something will shift for TV or otherwise and we'll be announcing a change. The main thought, though, is to try and avoid the confusion of time and date changes by announcing the schedule when it is as close to 100 percent set as possible.

This year, we announced the schedule on a Tuesday morning. As recently as the day before, there was a change to the schedule, as well as another possible change that fell through.

Meanwhile, you may have noticed the women's schedule has not yet been announced. That is because, in part, just yesterday the possibility of shifting two games for television purposes came about. So, we wait and hope to announce a complete schedule very soon.

Here are a few of the early notes on the non-league part of the schedule...

- UWM will be part of a multi-game exempt tournament for the second time in the last three seasons. The Panthers hosted the John Thompson Classic two years ago at the U.S. Cellular Arena.

- This season will mark the second time UWM has played in a tournament at Iowa State. The first time was in 2001 when the Panthers split two games in the Tribune Cyclone Challenge. The Panthers lost to host Iowa State, 71-62, before beating Nebraska-Omaha, 87-68.

- The matchup with Iowa State will mark Milwaukee’s first contest against a Big 12 foe since a win over Oklahoma in the first round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament.

- Cal Davis is the only school on the 2008-09 schedule the Panthers have never met. The Aggies are members of the Big West Conference.

- The Panthers will be looking to snap an eight-game losing streak against teams from the Missouri Valley Conference when Bradley visits Dec. 20. Milwaukee's last wins over teams from the Valley came in 2002-03, when the Panthers knocked off both Indiana State and Missouri State.

- SIU-Edwardsville is playing its first season in Division I after building a stellar tradition as a Division II school. In fact, the Cougars made it to the Elite Eight of the Division II tournament as recently as 2006. SIUE has already earned membership into the Ohio Valley Conference, and will begin competition as a full league member in future seasons. In the meantime, SIUE has loaded up this year’s schedule with big-name Division I opponents, including Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa State and Bradley.

- Miami (Ohio), the alma mater of UWM Director of Athletics Bud Haidet, will return to the U.S. Cellular Arena next season as part of a home-and-home arrangement. That is an attractive mid-major game against a typically strong Mid-American Conference school.

- This is the first of two-straight years where UWM will play both Wisconsin and Marquette on the road. The Golden Eagles come across the street to the U.S. Cellular Arena in 2010-11 and the Badgers come back to The Cell in 2011-12.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Nowicki Wraps Up Third Minor League Season

Joe Nowicki, who played at UWM from 2003-06, recently concluded his third season of minor league baseball in the Baltimore Orioles organization. He spent the 2008 campaign as a member of the Delmarva Shorebirds, the Orioles Class "A" affiliate located in Salisbury, Maryland.

Joe helped lead the team to a 78-61 record, batting .276 in a team-high 130 games. The South Atlantic League All-Star was selected by members of the Delmarva Shorebirds Fan Club as their "Player of the Half" (the season is split in two halves schedule-wise) and topped the club with 74 runs scored, 36 doubles, six triples, 19 home runs, 78 runs batted in, 241 total bases and 492 at bats.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Some Extra Volleyball Notes

The latest weekly UWM volleyball notebook is now up on the main website here as the Panthers get ready to head to Michigan State for matches Thursday and Friday. But here is a little more from the volleyball front.

UWM’s big win over Iowa State Aug. 29 continues to hold up nationally. The Cyclones were 18th in the country when the Panthers beat them, and ISU is still 28th in the national poll this week. Iowa State went 2-1 this weekend, with its only loss coming to #13 Middle Tennessee. The win is the most notable for a Horizon League school so far this preseason, but it is not the only notable win. Valpo has wins over Notre Dame and Louisville while Loyola beat Northwestern.

There were also a few questions as to why the Wingate by Wyndham Invitational this past weekend was played at Illinois Central College instead of on the campus of host Bradley. BU is actually building a new on-campus rec center for volleyball and women’s basketball, and the hope is it will open later this fall. In the mean time, the Braves will call ICC home, even going as far as to replace the ICC blue padding around the volleyball standards with BU red padding for its matches.

By the way, the Panthers left town before the all-tournament team was announced. It was included it in the post-match notes upon arrival home Saturday night, and in the weekly notes online, but it is worth highlighting again as UWM was well-represented. Becky Peters was named the tournament MVP and was joined on the all-tournament team by Maddie Sueppel and Lauren Felsing.

Finally, a little more about the tournament field in East Lansing. Michigan State was in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament a year ago and actually should have gone further. The Spartans went up 2-0 on Nebraska in their regional semifinal match only to drop the next three sets. UCONN, meanwhile, beat league preseason fave Cleveland State on the opening weekend of the season. Assistant coach Tim O’Brien used to be the head coach at Loyola.

Meanwhile, if you think UWM’s string of five-straight Horizon League titles is impressive, how about the two league-related streaks Florida A&M has put together? The Rattlers have won 99-straight league matches and have won seven-straight league titles. Here is a link to an interesting article on the Rattlers if you want to read more about some of the unique ways they are getting things done.

Panther Sibling Called Up By SF Giants

Conor Gillaspie, older brother of Milwaukee women's soccer player Makenzie, was called up to the Major Leagues by the San Francisco Giants on Saturday. Conor was drafted by the Giants with the 37th overall pick in the June 2008 MLB Amateur Draft just 92 days earlier. It was the quickest ascent to the majors in the club's storied history.

Here is the release from the Giants' official website.

Welcome To The Verizon Wireless Panther Blog Zone

Welcome to the Verizon Wireless Panther Blog Zone, the newest addition to our coverage of UWM Athletics.

Not unlike many other blogs that are springing up on sports websites across the country, we’ll use this blog to go beyond the news, results and recaps we regularly post on our main website, http://www.uwmpanthers.com

The “we” includes me, as in sports information director Kevin O’Connor, along with assistants Kevin Conway and Chris Zills. We split up many of the sport responsibilities in our office, so eventually you will probably notice some trends in who posts blog entries about different sports. But, we’ll all make contributions as we see fit.

We’ll also look to build other regular features. As some of you many know, Kate Megna of the women’s soccer team has started her second year of “Megna’s Memoirs,” a blog we have previously been posting on http://www.uwmpanthers.com. We’ll add this as a special blog to this page, and keep our eyes open for other opportunities to create new content.

We’ll also use the blog to take you on the road with our various sports teams, as we regularly travel with our squads. And, who knows what else we might come up with. Honestly, this will be a work in progress as we move along, but we’re confident it will be a good addition to the constant flow of information we try to provide.

So, be sure to keep checking back to the Verizon Wireless Panther Blog Zone for regular updates – probably even something later today.