Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.
No. 2 Penn State was just too much for Wisconsin to handle, as the Nittany Lions won the match in straight sets at the Field House.[/media-credit]Wisconsin volleyball head coach Pete Waite knew this weekend, the opening weekend in Big Ten play, would be difficult. He hoped, however, that his young team could rise to the challenge.Although the Badgers (11-2, 0-2) fought hard against both Ohio State (13-2, 1-1) Friday night and Penn State (11-2, 1-1) yesterday afternoon, they were not able to pick up a conference win after starting the season with a perfect 11-0 record.“In the Big Ten, you say this is a big week because every week is a big week,” Waite said. “It’s so strong that every win you can get is huge for the conference race and the NCAA tournament.”In front of two of its biggest crowds of the season, the Badgers succumbed to defeat against the No. 25 Buckeyes and No. 2 Nittany Lions.The Badgers fought especially hard Friday night against Ohio State, losing 3-2 in five sets (15-25, 25-16, 23-25, 25-23, 11-15). Wisconsin led midway through the fifth game before Buckeye libero Sarah Mignin went on an extended serving streak to put the Buckeyes ahead for good. Mignin had a similar streak late in game two which brought the Buckeyes back after trailing by as many as seven points.Some miscommunication occurred when two Wisconsin players let the ball drop just outside the eight-foot-line for an Ohio State point late in game five. Senior Allison Wack and freshman Annemarie Hickey gave hesitant looks to each other as they both watched the ball fall to the ground.The play proved to be a huge momentum swing in the set as the Buckeyes closed out the match just moments later.Wack put the blame on herself and admitted a senior leader needs to take control in that situation.“That was just hesitation, I think it was mostly me,” Wack said. “I just thought [Hickey] was going, she thought I was going. I just need to be loud and take it.”Wack, playing in her last Big Ten home opener, showed emotion and remorse immediately following the game.“I mean we had it, we were right there, so there was obviously a little regret of just missing some things and being a little hesitant,” Wack said.Ultimately, Ohio State’s height upfront proved to be too much for Wisconsin’s middle blockers.Mariah Booth and Allie Schwarzwalder, the last two Big Ten defensive players of the week, led the Buckeyes to 12 team blocks. Despite strong efforts from both Wack and freshman Elise Walch, the Badgers were never quite able to find rhythm on offense.The strong blocking effort was especially crucial in the match-deciding fifth game, though the lineup on the floor stayed the same.“I don’t know if they made any special adjustments, I think every set was slightly different inside or outside, and the block was able to set up different ways,” Waite said. “You know it’s a big athletic block out there so they did get a few blocks towards the end of the sets and it made a difference, but our hitters can respond and at times they can.”A rough loss for the Badgers, but a strong morale victory for the team that they hoped would result in momentum for their Sunday showdown with the three time defending national champion Penn State team.Welcoming the Lady Lions to the Fieldhouse yesterday afternoon, the Badgers showed they can compete with a team of their stature but were ultimately swept 3-0 (16-25, 17-25, 21-25).The silver lining for the Badgers was improving their point total in each set, but at times, the Badgers looked overmatched, hesitant and timid against the highest ranked team they’ve played all year.The losses were difficult to endure, but coach Waite and the team vowed to put this weekend behind them and continue to compete.“We always focus on one match, and that’s all you can do in any sport,” Waite said.
ANGELS at SEATTLEDetails/TV: Monday at 1 p.m., Fox Sports WestHow much was James Shields on the Dodgers’ radar this last offseason? The former Hart High of Santa Clarita star, who has already pitched in two World Series for two different teams in his nine big-league seasons, was one of the best arms available this past free-agent window. But the Dodgers weren’t biting.Things became a bit more curious as December rolled into January, and then early February — still nothing. Finally, the bold-move San Diego Padres decided to snatch up the 33-year-old in a four-year, $75 million deal. And look where Shields will make his 2015 debut?“That was the only stadium, growing up, that I went to,” said Shields of Dodger Stadium. “It’s definitely going to be pretty surreal. But I’m sure once the game starts, I’ll lock in.” • BASEBALL PREVIEW: NL West team-by-team previewBut can he tune out all the family members he will have there? The former ace of the Tampa Bay Rays and Kansas City Royals makes his seventh Opening Day start, although he’s just 1-2 with a 5.05 ERA in those appearances. San Diego, for all it did in adding Shields, plus a new outfield of Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Wil Myers, only tacked on an addition $10 million to their 2014 $90 million payroll.Compare that to the Dodgers and their record-breaking $272 million roster, where reigning NL Cy Young and MVP winner Clayton Kershaw makes his fifth straight Opening Day start. He’s got a 3-0 record in Game 1 appearances, including a win in Melbourne, Australia last season.In the AL West, the Seattle Mariners have gained a lot of attention as a playoff contender, led by former Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez. He’s making his seventh straight Opening Day start and eighth overall, posing a 5-0 mark and 1.52 ERA in those games.With Jered Weaver starting for the Angels, this is a rematch of the 2014 Opening Day, when the Mariners won, 10-3, in Seattle as Hernandez struck out 11 in six innings. Weaver struck out six in his six innings but gave up four runs (three earned) and three walks. Weaver, the former Simi Valley High and Long Beach State star, begins his 10th big-league season, making his sixth straight Opening Day start, and seventh in his career, the most in franchise history. He’s 3-2 on Opening Day.The Dodgers-Padres series continues Tuesday and Wednesday, 7 p.m., SportsNet L.A. The Dodgers then go to Arizona for three games (Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m.)• RELATED: Ways to get around Dodgers TV stalemateThe Angels-Mariners series continues Tuesday and Wednesday, 7 p.m., Fox Sports West. The Angels’ home opener is Friday at 7 p.m. (FWS) against defending AL champion Kansas City, with games Saturday (6 p.m., FS1) and Sunday (12:30 p.m., FSW).Also: Live MLB coverage of Monday’s Opening Day has Toronto at New York Yankees (10 a.m., ESPN), New York Mets at Washington (1 p.m., ESPN), Cleveland at Houston (4 p.m., ESPN) and San Francisco at Arizona (7 p.m., ESPN2).NO. 2: COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MEN’S NCAA TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIPWISCONSIN vs. DUKEDetails/TV: At Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Monday at 6 p.m., Ch. 2Say “Cheese,” you badgering Badgers, because not many of you pictured this when the tournament started. Wisconsin’s first title appearance since the 1940s comes against a Duke program making it’s ninth finals appearance under Coach K. Then-No. 2-ranked Wisconsin didn’t defend the 3-point line very well the last time it faced then-No. 4 Duke in Madison, Wis., during a 80-70 loss on Dec. 3. The Blue Devils shot 65 percent in that one, even though Wisconsin senior Frank Kaminsky outscored Duke freshman Jahil Okafor, 17-13, in a battle of big men.Also: The Women’s NCAA Tournament championship at Tampa, Fla.: UConn vs. Notre Dame, Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., ESPN.• RELATED: Stage is set for NCAA National Championship gameNO. 3: GOLF: THE 79th MASTERSDetails/TV: At Augusta, Ga., Thursday-Sunday, Ch. 2, ESPN, DirecTV, Golf ChannelSorry if Bubba, Phil, Rory, Charl or Sergio get overshadowed by the news that four-time Masters champion Tiger Woods, who just dropped in the world rankings below the No. 100 mark for the first time in decades, has decided to show here. Is he physically healthy? Is he mentally fit? Could he succeed with either of those issues not being 100 percent? Or does he really have a bad case of the yips? “You know,” said Brandel Chamblee, the Golf Channel analyst, “I’ve read where people said it wasn’t the yips. Well, you can call it whatever you want, but it’s catastrophically bad, what we saw. So to get past that on the most difficult place in the world to hit 100‑yard pitch shots, to hit 40‑yard, 30‑yard, any pitch shots … imagine the pin left on 3 and he’s off the back and he’s trying to cut it into that slope or run it up that slope. It’s the most difficult place in the world to hit pitch shots.”ESPN has the Par 3 Challenge on Wednesday at noon as well as first- and second-round coverage from noon-4:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday; Ch. 2 has third-round coverage Saturday from 12:30-4 p.m. and final-round coverage from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. DirecTV coverage has two featured groups on channels 701 and 702, Amen Corner on 703, holes 15-16 on 704, the CBS coverage on 705 and “Masters in Depth” on 706. Golf Channel has some live coverage from 5 a.m.-noon and 4:30-6:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and from 6:30 a.m.-noon and 4-6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.NO. 4: NHL: KINGS at VANCOUVERDetails/TV: Monday at 7 p.m., Prime TicketKINGS at CALGARYDetails/TV: Thursday at 6 p.m., FSWSo if the playoffs started today, the Kings … let’s just wait this thing out one more week. Too many things can go sideways. The Kings have already defeated the Canucks twice in Vancouver this season, but they lost in their only previous trip to Calgary, 2-1, on Dec. 29. Not to say the Kings’ other two games this week aren’t of importance as well — at Edmonton (Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. Prime Ticket) and the regular-season finale Saturday at home against San Jose (noon, Ch. 4).NO. 5: NBA: LAKERS at CLIPPERSDetails/TV: Staples Center, Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., TNTIt’s the last time they’ll have to exchange unpleasantries until next season. The Lakers schedule the rest of the week has them at Denver (Wednesday, 6 p.m.) and home against Minnesota (Friday, 7:30 p.m.) and Dallas (Sunday, 6:30 p.m.)NO. 6: NBA: CLIPPERS vs. MEMPHISDetails/TV: Staples Center, Saturday at 7 p.m., Prime TicketThe Clippers and Grizzles split a home-and-home series at the end of February, but both were grind-it-out decisions. There’s still a chance this could preview the opening-round of the Western Conference playoffs. After facing the Lakers on Monday, the Clippers have only this one to finish the week before closing out the regular season with two more next week.NO. 7: COLLEGE BASEBALLUCLA at USCDetails/TV: At Dedeaux Field, Friday at 3 p.m., Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m., Pac-12 NetworksThe Trojans outlasted the Bruins 8-4 at the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic before nearly 15,000 back in early March, a nonconference matchup. “I think we made the statement that we’re pretty good,” said USC coach Dan Hubbs. “We have a lot left to do.” Since then, USC has climbed from No. 25 to No. 10 in the rankings, while UCLA went from No. 6 to No. 4. These Pac-12 Conference games are the only meetings between the rivals before the NCAA regionals in late May.NO. 8: MLS: GALAXY vs. SEATTLEDetails/TV: At StubHub Center, Saturday at 4 p.m., Fox Sports 1Fans who make an appearance receive a replica championship ring, a title that came only after the Galaxy snuck past Clint Dempsey and the Supporters Shied-winning Sounders in that strange home-and-home Western Conference championship series. Remember when the Galaxy actually lost the second leg in Seattle, 2-1, but advanced … because they had better looking players?NO. 9: COLLEGE FOOTBALLUSC SPRING GAMEDetails/TV: At the Coliseum, Saturday at 3 p.m., Pac-12 NetworksSomeone just showed us that Bovada.lv has the Trojans as the fourth favorite to win the 2016 national championship at 12-to-1 odds, behind Ohio State (4-1), Alabama (7-1) and TCU (9-1). Just give us the odds of how the Trojans come out of this game without any major injuries.NO. 10: WRESTLINGFREESTYLE WRESTLING WORLD CUPDetails/TV: At the Forum, Saturday and SundayWhen they did the first one in mid-March, 2014, the team from Iran won the gold over the Russians and Americans. This year, the field goes from 10 countries to eight, but it includes Cuba in Group A with the U.S. and Russia, while Iran is the favorite in Group B. The American team again features 2012 Olympic gold medalists Jordan Burroughs and Jake Varner. Pool competition runs at 3 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. on Saturday. More pool competition is Sunday at 11 a.m. with the first- and third-place dual meets starting at 4:15 p.m.ALSOCOLLEGE BASKETBALL: JOHN WOODEN AWARD ANNOUNCEMENTDetails/TV: At the Club Nokia at L.A. Live, Friday at 5 p.m., ESPN2A new hour-long “College Basketball Awards” show will try to do for the sport what the Heisman presentation has done for college football. The L.A. Athletic Club, which continues to manage the Wooden Award for the men’s and women’s player of the year honor, has agreed to partner with ESPN and the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame to give this a shot. Of the 15 names on the Wooden 2014-15 ballot, the two freshman — Jahlil Okafor of Duke and D’Angelo Russell of Ohio State — could be the top two choices. The 15-player women’s ballot includes three UConn players: Moriah Jefferson, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Breanna Stewart. Ranking top 10 sports events April 6-12 you won’t want to miss:NO. 1: MLB OPENING DAY:DODGERS vs. SAN DIEGODetails/TV: Dodger Stadium, Monday at 1 p.m., SportsNet L.A. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error