Women’s water polo opened its season with big wins against UC San Diego at home on Friday and away at Whittier on Saturday. The Trojans came away with a 2-0 record to kick off their 2016 campaign to the championships, winning 17-4 against UC San Diego and 28-2 against Whittier.The Women of Troy hosted UC San Diego Friday and opened up with a 4-0 lead with goals from junior driver Stephania Haralibidis, sophomore utility Hayley McKelvey, junior driver Nikki Stansfield and sophomore utility Annika Jensen. The Tritons answered back with a power play goal. Sophomore goalie Victoria Chamorro and the Trojan defense left UC San Diego scoreless for the next 10-plus minutes of play. Chamorro and the defense kept the Tritons at bay, the Trojan offense added on five more goals bringing their lead 9-1 at the half.Freshman goalie Amanda Longan made her debut in the cage in the second half for the Trojans racking up four saves by the end of the half. USC’s offense continued to fight hard tallying up 8 more goals for a final score of 17-4. Top scorer junior two-meter Brigitta Games totaled four goals from the two-meter position. Stephania Haralibidis and junior two-meter Avery Peterson also scored three goals each earning hat tricks.The Trojans carried their momentum from Friday’s win to Whittier on Saturday. USC dominated Whittier, leading 8-2 by the end of the first quarter. The Trojan defense left the Poets scoreless for the remainder of the game. The offense also packed a punch with six Trojans tallying 3 or more goals while another three Trojans made their first goals of their careers. Stat leader of the evening was Peterson who totaled a career-high 6 goals against Whittier.Longan started in the cage for the Women of Troy batting down four saves for the Trojans. Longan and the Trojan defense held the Poets to just 2 goals into the half. Senior Alegra Hueso took over the cage in the second half allowing no goals and tallying five saves to help the defense stop the Poets.The Trojan offense continued their scoring frenzy leading 16-2 by the end of the first half with 4 goals from Peterson as well as a career-first goal for freshman driver Mackenzie Flath. The offensive momentum carried into the third quarter for the Women of Troy with junior driver Ioanna Haralibidis adding 3 more goals to the scoreboard as well as another two from Games.Jensen helped the Trojans finish strong in the fourth quarter with a career-first hat trick bringing her total to 3 goals. Freshman driver Courtney Fahey also made a splash tallying 2 back-to-back goals to kick off her career. By the end of the fourth, Peterson would add 2 more goals bringing her total to 6 for the evening and the final score to 28-2.After a successful pre-season weekend, the Trojans will be hosting the Brazilian National Team for a scrimmage Feb. 10 at 5 p.m. at the Uytengsu Aquatic Center before hitting the road for the Triton Invitational on Feb. 13-14.
Wide receiver Nick Toon sat out against Indiana as a precautionary measure after hurting his left foot against Nebraska in the conference opener. Toon leads UW with 25 catches in five games.[/media-credit]The Wisconsin Badgers are looking to get back to full strength against Michigan State Saturday with injured wide receiver Nick Toon expected to return to practice this week.Toon was sidelined against Indiana with a left foot injury he sustained during the Nebraska game. Toon sat out as a precautionary measure against Indiana, but is expected to see playing time against Michigan State.“He ran around on Sunday and felt really good, he is going to jump into Tuesday’s practice,” Bielema said. “He felt good on Saturday, we probably could have played him, but I wanted to see the other guys perform.”Defensive tackle Patrick Butrym also suffered a minor ankle sprain – not a high-ankle sprain, Bielema said – against Indiana and is expected to participate in light practice and be back on the field for the Badgers this weekend.“He said basically he felt really tight on Sunday, but it was better [Monday] and he has got a goal in his mind to run around a bit Wednesday and hopefully practice Thursday,” Bielema said. “He is so smart with the game plan, I would feel really good about him playing even if he didn’t really get any time until Saturday.”Focus remains consistentWhen it comes to preparing, the Badgers tend to take a similar approach every week.Bielema said he likes his team to be fired up, but has the confidence in his players to know the difference between right and wrong.“It’s not what happens, it’s how you react to what happens. We’ll do our talking between our pads,” Bielema said. “To me, there are three things you need to have on the road – you need to have great execution, great communication and discipline.”For Bielema, this discipline cannot be installed in a week. Rather, it has to be something built into the Badgers’ framework over time.“That’s something you can’t really install in a week, you have to have discipline in your mentality, in your framework, and that’s what we recruit,” Bielema said.Quarterback Russell Wilson also said he feels that the daily activities in preparing week-in and week-out foster success.“I think that games are won on the field, by our preparation during the week, by the extra film we put in,” Wilson said. “Everything that you do during the week really helps you prepare for the game.”When it comes to preparing for the games, Wilson is a visual learner. He studies the opponent and visualizes how the game will be played out ahead of time.“I visualize a lot, when I am preparing during the week especially when I am playing away, I envision myself being in the stadium – where the clock is, the first downs, all that stuff I visualize,” Wilson said. “That prepares me for the game.”Badgers return to East LansingOffensively, the Badgers will look to continue their solid ball security, while defensively Bielema hopes to create some turnovers and capitalize on them.“We have been great with ball security and that will need to continue on the road,” Bielema said. “Defensively, if we have a chance to get our hands on the football, we need to come up with it.”Michigan State’s strong defensive stance will prove to be a challenge for the Badgers in the upcoming game.Bielema still remains confident in Wilson’s ability, despite the Spartans’ aggressive defense that has proven capable of bringing pressure all over the field.“You can mentally or physically challenge a quarterback, and that’s exactly what they (Michigan State) are doing,” Bielema said. “One of the good advantages of [Wilson] is that he doesn’t get overly rattled by anything that I’ve seen thrown at him.”A big part of Wilson’s success comes from the success of Wisconsin’s offensive line.“Our offensive line is doing such a great job right now, we have a lot of experienced guys up front and their blocking ability gives me a lot of time to make decisions, to stay up on my feet, make the right throw at the right time, that obviously helps,” Wilson said.This weekend’s game will mark only the second away game for the Badgers this season. Road games may come with a different set of challenges, but Wilson remains confident.Keeping confidence and trust along with knowledge for the game is what Wilson tries to show his teammates are important in winning.“The calmer you are, the more confident you play, the more that you trust your offense, the more that you trust what you see, the better off you are going to be,” Wilson said.Confidence in BCS rankingsWith the release of the BCS rankings this week, the Badgers find themselves sitting at No. 6 just behind Oklahoma State (No. 4) and Boise State (No. 5). However, Bielema is not too concerned with UW’s current status.“The computers, the rankings and all that stuff, it’s all going to sort itself through in the end, I really do believe in that,” Bielema said. “If we keep winning and taking care of things around us, than everything takes care of itself.”Wilson agreed with Bielema in regard to the requirement of patience.“All that really matters is playing great football week by week and see where we are at the end,” Wilson said, “We have to weather the storms, just play with confidence, play with a little bit of swagger and play great football.”