DuPont, Dolgner watch from sidelines on Senior Night

first_imgAs Brittney Dolgner wrote in her final “captain’s log,” it was supposed to be a great day to be a Badger as Wisconsin hosted Purdue in its season finale Saturday at the Field House.Unfortunately for Dolgner and fellow senior Caity DuPont, things didn’t exactly go according to plan on senior night against the Boilermakers.Through the first two sets, the seniors struggled along with the rest of the Wisconsin attack, as the Badgers fell behind the Boilermakers two sets to none. As a result, UW head coach Pete Waite opted to sit his two seniors when the third set began.“We weren’t quite getting it done in the first two sets, so we came out with a different lineup, switched some things around,” Waite said. “We had people who came in and did some nice things.”And while the changes did help the Badgers dominate the third set 25-15 and win the fourth set 25-20, Wisconsin’s only seniors were forced to watch much of their final match as Badgers from the sideline as the team’s younger players made an impact.“It was different… I don’t know,” Dolgner said of the last three sets. “It’s kind of frustrating because I was kind of struggling out there. … You just kind of have to take it in stride, I guess.”Dolgner seemed to take her own advice, as she remained positive after the game despite seeing only limited opportunities in two of the final three sets.DuPont, on the other hand, struggled to find much to say after the game, as she seemed to be overcome by the emotions that came along with her final match as a Badger.She did, however, offer one observation from the final three sets, all of which she watched from the sideline.“I was really proud of the younger players,” DuPont said. “They stepped it up and really played well tonight, picking it up.”As much as their final match did not go according to plan for Dolgner and DuPont, it was not much different than the Badgers’ season as a whole.From the beginning, one of the goals for the seniors was simply to be able to play when this final weekend rolled around as they battled injuries from the start of the 2009 season.According to Waite, being able to accomplish that goal was a feat in itself.“These two have worked really hard and we’re really proud of what they’ve done and what they’ve battled through,” Waite said. “Our goal for them was to have them playing here at the end of the season because of the injuries they’ve been dealing with and have been for the last couple of years.“We managed their backs really well and they were very smart about it this year, and we had them out there for the last weekend. That was a big goal for us.”With eight newcomers to the squad, including six freshmen, the Badgers’ early struggles were not surprising. The team did find its stride after seven matches, though, winning eight of its next 13 matches between Sept. 12 and Oct. 30.At that point, UW sat at 11-9 overall and 6-5 in Big Ten play, putting them in contention for a potential NCAA bid after missing the tournament last season for the first time in more than a decade.The rest of the 2009 season did not go as Wisconsin had hoped, however, as the Badgers lost their final nine matches to finish with the fewest wins of any UW team since 1985.After what looked like a promising season turned into the Badgers’ worst in more than 20 years, another loss was a tough way to go out for Dolgner and DuPont.“It’s overwhelming, I guess, knowing that it’s your last game,” Dolgner said. “You want to go out giving everything you have. Being out on the sideline, it’s hard to watch when you know you can do so much better, but you’re kind of limited by injury or something in your mindset.“I think, just knowing that it’s the end and you’re done, it’s emotional, and I think that’s what got to Caity.”Waite added his thoughts as DuPont struggled to keep from crying after the match.“Players go through their careers and experience a lot of things with a lot of different teammates and have a lot of fun off the court and on the court,” he said. “You know, those are some of the tears that are coming now, just thinking, ‘oh, it’s done.’”last_img

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