Saturday, October 30, 2010

Live Volleyball Blog - Milwaukee @ Valparaiso

Join Associate AD Kevin O'Connor courtside at the ARC for Saturday's volleyball match at Valparaiso. Action begins at 5 p.m.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Live Volleyball Blog - Milwaukee @ Loyola

Join Associate AD-Communications Kevin O'Connor courtside at Alumni Gym as the Panthers take on Loyola tonight. The match starts at 7 p.m.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cross Country Preview: Part 3

Sophomore Elise Sigg sits down and discusses her season so far and the Panthers' chances at this weekend's Horizon League Cross Country Championship in Chicago.

This is the third and final interview in a three-part series in the week leading up to the league championship meet. We sat down with sophomore Bobby Glotfelty on Wednesday and head coach Pete Corfeld Wednesday.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Live Blog: Milwaukee at Wisconsin

Join assistant SID Chris Zills for the live blog of the men's soccer game at Wisconsin.

Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday!

Cross Country Preview: Part 2

Head coach Pete Corfeld sits down and discusses the season so far and the Panthers' chances at this weekend's Horizon League Cross Country Championship in Chicago.

This is the second of a three-part preview. We sat down with sophomore Bobby Glotfelty on Wednesday. Check back as we talk to sophomore Elise Sigg Thursday.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cross Country Preview: Part 1

Sophomore Bobby Glotfelty discusses the Panthers' chances at this weekend's Horizon League Cross Country Championship in Chicago.

This is the first of a three-part preview. Check back as we sit down with head coach Pete Corfeld on Wednesday and sophomore Elise Sigg Thursday.

Checking The Preseason Magazines

It is always fun this time of year to begin collecting up the wide range of predictions out there for the upcoming college basketball season.

Of course, the official Horizon League poll came out last week, and UWM was picked for fifth. Needless to say - and some reports in the media have confirmed this - that seems to be indicative of the split that exists among the voting public on the Panthers. There are plenty of people out there who look at them as a title contender, while others have a spot in the lower half of the league reserved for UWM.

So just what are others saying in the various magazines?

USA Today’s College Basketball Special Edition has the Panthers picked for second behind Butler. Tone Boyle is placed on the all-league first team, while Anthony Hill has a spot on the all-league second team. Three UWM games make the list of games to watch in the league this season, with contests at Detroit and Cleveland State along with the home game against Butler highlighted.

And, if you are giving this publication the credibility and knowledge test, it gets points for taking note of James Haarsma. It added a small item about the impact the transfer from Evansville could have in the league next year, something that may or may not fly under the radar in the months to come when people start looking beyond this season.

Lindy’s College Basketball picks the Panthers for third, with Tone on the all-league second team. In essence, the magazine says that if Tone is healthy, the Panthers can make a run at the title. Again on the credibility front, the magazine takes note of the arrival of Kaylon Williams. Panther fans already know his addition is the biggest of the off-season for UWM.

Then there are two publications that have lower expectations for the Panthers. The Sporting News has UWM fifth (and Cleveland State sixth), while Athlon picks the Panthers sixth. The short write-ups in each case still talk about UWM being a possible contender or “in the mix,” but one can conclude those publications find the depth of the league something to brag about this season.

Let’s also not forget that predictions of mid-major leagues can often be after-thoughts. I can tell you for sure many of them are completed in June or July, which is hardly time to consider much in the way of new people (or people returning from injury) and how they will fit into the mix.

And, not unlike the national polls, it is often easy to lean on the BCS leagues for lists, charts and top player features. For example, Athlon did a list of the top players back from injury this season. While I’ve been around long enough to know Tone Boyle wasn’t going to make that list, it is notable that the list included nothing but BCS-team players. One that jumped out at me was Matt Roth of Indiana. He’s a key returnee for the Hoosiers if they want to move up in the Big Ten, for sure. But a strong argument can be made that bringing back Tone’s 13-plus points per game is more important than the return of Roth’s 6.7 points per contest.

Now, if you want to start studying up on some of UWM’s non-league opponents, the overall scouting report would be solid. While there are a few outlier predictions, it is hard to find a team on Milwaukee’s schedule that wasn’t picked to finish in the top half of their respective league. Florida Atlantic seems to have the best upside, with Lindy’s looking at the Owls as an NIT team. FAU plays in the same division of the Sun Belt with Western Kentucky and South Alabama, with all three teams expected to be strong this year.

Northern Iowa, UC Davis and Western Michigan all got a lot of fourth-place picks, while Portland was a consensus fifth-place pick in the West Coast Conference.

And, in the end, the predictions mean next to nothing when the ball goes in the air Nov. 12.

Panthers Moving Up In National Rankings

UWM’s defensive numbers continue to get better, according to the latest NCAA volleyball statistics report.

The Panthers are up to 13th in the nation in blocking, averaging 2.74 blocks per set. Nebraska leads the nation in blocking at 3.19 per set.

Milwaukee has also moved up in digs, sitting 52nd this week at 16.41 per frame.

Individually, Natalie Schmitting is 52nd in the country, averaging 1.20 blocks per set. Kerri Schuh (103rd) and Rachel Neuberger (161st) are also in the top 200 nationally in blocks. Those three players rank in the top six in blocks in the Horizon League.

Morgan Potter is 106th in the country in digs, averaging 4.44 per set.

Meanwhile, the latest RPI report has UWM up to 71st. The Panthers are now the top team in the rankings, with Cleveland State having tumbled to 98th and Butler sitting at 107th.

Iowa State (14th) is the highest-ranked Panther opponent, while Tulsa is now up 38th. The Golden Hurricanes, whom the Panthers beat the first weekend of the season, have also moved up to 27th in the latest AVCA poll. Plus, Saint Louis is 67th, with the Billikens another team UWM owns a non-league win over.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Live Blog: Milwaukee @ Loyola

The Panthers are in a battle for first Sunday at Loyola. Follow along with the action here. You can also watch the contest here.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Live Blog: Men's Soccer at Loyola

Join assistant SID Chris Zills for the live blog of the men's soccer game at Loyola.

Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chancellor Lovell At The Hill

UWM Interim Chancellor Michael Lovell took time out of his Monday to join the Panthers at "The Hill."

Lovell is an avid runner who is a regular at the Pavilion and Klotsche Center. This time, he added "The Hill" to his daily regimen.

In fact, the chancellor ran from campus to "The Hill," then completed the 20 trips up and down "The Hill" with the team. For good measure, he ran back to campus when the workout was complete.

This was the final preseason conditioning workout for the Panthers before practice officially begins Friday.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Coach Botham learns about Pink Out...

Milwaukee women's basketball Sandy Botham took a camera around campus to talk about this weekend's Pink Out activities.

The Panther women's soccer team takes on Valparaiso tonight at 7 p.m. and Volleyball hosts Butler Saturday at 2 p.m.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Live Volleyball Blog - Milwaukee @ UIC

Associate AD Kevin O'Connor will be courtside in Chicago tonight as the first-place Panthers take on UIC. The match starts at 7 p.m.

Women's Soccer RPI Release Today...

Just like with Volleyball on Tuesday, the NCAA Women's Soccer RPI released today showed Milwaukee's penchant for tough opponents. In fact, the Panthers are 32nd in the country in the rankings and has not played a team lower than 94.

In fact, the team's four non-league wins are against teams ranked 19 (Ohio State), 63 (Missouri), 75 (Michigan State) and 94 (Kansas). Of those teams, only MSU was played in Milwaukee.

The Panthers' ties are notable, as they came at #13 Marquette and against #43 New Mexico. Their four losses have come to #1 Notre Dame, #24 Wisconsin, #32 Texas and #70 Auburn. UND, Wisconsin and Texas were all road games.

This bodes well for the Panthers as they are looking to make their third-straight NCAA Tournament and eighth overall. In 2006, Milwaukee earned the first women's soccer at-large berth in school and league history.

Here is a link to the official RPI.

There was a site I checked out yesterday in preparation for today's RPI release. The guy who does it was close to spot on and also included a non-conference strength of schedule, which the Panthers were sixth in the country. That site is here.

Monday, October 4, 2010

No Cupcakes Here

Regular readers of my weekly volleyball notebook are well aware the Panthers put together an extremely difficult non-league slate in 2010.

The numbers we knew going into the season included six-straight matches against teams that won at least 20 contests a season ago. The early-season run also included three NCAA Tournament teams and a full list of squads that have been picked to finish at or near the top of their league standings.

Now, the NCAA has released its first official volleyball RPI of the season. The numbers indeed show just how difficult UWM's schedule has been.

Iowa State has been UWM's highest-ranked opponent, with the Cyclones seventh. Tulsa, which the Panthers knocked off on the opening weekend of the season, is 35th. Saint Louis, which UWM also beat on the opening weekend, is 61st. Others in the top 100 include Wisconsin (42nd), North Dakota State (91st) and Marquette (97th).

And, the lowest-ranked team UWM has faced outside of the league is Toledo, which stands a very respectable 151st.

As for UWM's own ranking, the Panthers sit 89th in the RPI, second in the Horizon League to Cleveland State's standing at 82nd. Milwaukee is 1-2 against the top 50 and 3-4 against the top 100.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Live Blog: Milwaukee at Cleveland State

Join assistant SID Chris Zills for the live blog of the men's soccer game at Cleveland State.

Kick-off is scheduled for 12 p.m. CST on Sunday!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

King Of The Hill

A lot of Panther fans probably know about "The Hill" by now, but if you don't, Tom Enlund had a nice look at the Panthers' preseason conditioning routine in this morning's Journal Sentinel. And, the pictures above are snapshots from a video feature we're putting the finishing touches on.

You can read Tom's article here.

Meanwhile, check the main site Monday for the video feature, which includes thoughts from Rob Jeter, Tone Boyle, Anthony Hill and Ryan Allen.

It may be hard to believe, but the first exhibition game of the season is now less than one month away.

Baseball Alum Lands at Michigan

Ricky Babcock, who spent three seasons as the intern for the baseball team at Milwaukee, has recently moved on to a full-time position in the sport after graduation. Babcock was recently named the Director of Operations for the Wolverine baseball team.

The following release is courtesy of Michigan's website, available HERE:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan baseball program and head coach Rich Maloney announced the hiring of James "Ricky" Babcock to its newly added director of baseball operations position on Tuesday (Sept. 28).

"We are excited to have Ricky join us in our new baseball operations position," Maloney said. "This shows a continued great commitment by the university for our program at Michigan. This is something that we are very excited about. Ricky brings experience in a similar capacity that he will be most helpful as we try to continually move the program forward."

Babcock joins the Maize and Blue after working at his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Babcock was the Panthers' director of baseball operations and interned in the athletic administration office and in tickets and marketing. He was the director of baseball operations from June 2008 to June 2010 and was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the program. That included coordinating team travel, monitoring student-athlete academic, developing ideas for UWM's indoor practice facility, scheduling camps, coordinating summer baseball placement, being a contact for the visiting teams and other duties as assigned.

A native of Montgomery Village, Md., Babcock played for the Panthers in 2007-08 and served on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Athletic Board in 2008 and 2009.

"This is a great opportunity to work with a nationally recognized program," Babcock said. "I look forward to helping the baseball program continue their success within the Big Ten and reaching the goal in Omaha. Michigan is a special place for me and my family and I am thankful to be a part of the Michigan family."

Babcock is a 2010 graduate of UWM, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Educational Studies.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Live Blog: Milwaukee @ Texas

Live Blog: Milwaukee at Detroit

Join assistant SID Chris Zills for the live blog of the men's soccer game at Detroit.

Kick-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. CST on Friday!