Premier passer emerges

first_imgBRYAN FAUST/Herald photoIn her third season as Wisconsin’s setter, Jackie Simpson finally seems to have the hang of things.It’s not as if Simpson struggled the past two years, but she has really emerged as one of the Big Ten’s premier passers this year.Through the team’s first 13 matches, Simpson is averaging 13.05 assists per game, good for fourth in the Big Ten and 17th nationally.Simpson has also become much more of a scorer than in the past, confusing opponents with a fake-set attack. While she’s only averaging under one kill per game, Simpson has been extremely efficient with a .400 hitting percentage, something she attributes to her teammates behind her.”A lot of it has to do with our back row players, especially Jocelyn [Wack],” Simpson said. “She’ll be back there to keep an eye out on their blocking and tell me what zone to go to. She’s kind of like my second set of eyes.”Simpson’s individual numbers may not have drastically increased this year, but UW head coach Pete Waite has noticed a great improvement in her game as she is running the team better and opening up many more kill opportunities for the Badgers’ outside hitters.”Her game’s growing,” Waite said of Simpson. “She’s changing and we’ve talked about how much she knows as a setter and that she can bring it in every game.”She’s a crafty setter, she’s deceptive, and when she’s aggressive and does everything she can, she does some great things,” Waite continued. “She’s a tall setter, jumps sets and when she starts throwing the ball down, it really freezes the middle blocker, which opens it up for the other hitters in the offense.”Wack keeps NCAA record aliveJunior libero Jocelyn Wack was in danger of losing her NCAA record of consecutive games with double-digit digs Friday night against Michigan State, as she headed into the third game with only seven digs. Wack dug a couple of balls in the final game to finish the match with 11 digs to just barely eclipse the mark.Wack only needed two games the next night against No. 24 Michigan to keep her record alive, finishing with a match-high 16 digs.Carlini tweaks ankleSenior floor captain Maria Carlini was in a foot brace all week but still started Friday. Sophomore outside hitter Morgan Salow subbed in for her briefly in the second game, but during the third game Carlini took herself out after two straight kills.”She landed hard on her heel and then ran into the pole so she decided she needed a little break right then,” Waite said. “We took her out and I thought Morgan Salow did a nice job, got in there, got a kill and took some good swings to give her a rest when she needed it.”Carlini started Saturday night and played the whole match.Happy Birthday to MayaSaturday marked junior middle blocker Maya Carroll’s 20th birthday, and Waite decided to give her a present of sorts during the third game — some playing time.Following a dead ball at 27-11, Wisconsin’s student section began to sing “Happy Birthday” to Carroll, prompting Waite to insert the middle blocker into the lineup.”That was a little gift from me and the whole team,” Waite said. “We’ve talked about that as a team all the time where we really should have a time where we can put other people in who have been working hard in practice and deserve it in some way, and this is one tonight that was a present from the whole team.”Carroll finished with one kill on one attempt for a perfect 1.000 hitting percentage.last_img

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