Varsity - The Official Digital Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics

Varsity - September 27, 2012

Varsity is the free Official Digital Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics, covering Badgers football, basketball, hockey and more each week.

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Page 46 of 62

unpleasant task of informing Mikaelson that she wasn't eligible to compete for the Badgers. So she repacked her bags and returned to Norway. "I was a little disappointed,'' Mikaelson said. "At the same time, I was so nervous coming here be- cause I had never been here before. Going back home (for a year) was kind of a relief. In some ways, I think it was good for me because I grew up a lot more.'' During that time, she advanced herself com- petitively by playing for the University of Stavan- ger club team. She also took a job working with children with disabilities. Her schedule was all-consuming. She played vol- leyball in the morning, worked during the day, and played vol- leyball in the evening. "I'd wake up every single day at 6:30,'' she said, "and I wouldn't be home until 11 at night.'' When she came back to Madi- son and the UW, she said, "I was so ready for it.'' Especially when a playing op- portunity finally presented itself this season. "She has contributed in the past, she just wasn't consistent in the past,'' Waite said. "In the past, she would start out hot and get nine kills. But then she would follow it up with eight errors. She was high and low. Some of that could have been conditioning and getting used to the length of the matches. "But she really worked hard over the last year and she's much more consistent and much more of a threat. Courtney (Thomas) and Jules have found a tempo in the back-set that is much more conducive to Jules scoring. It's much faster and she likes that.'' Waite has been completely sympathetic to her life-style adjustments off the court. "She said to me, 'You eat hot meals three times a day here and we don't do that; breakfast is something cold,''' he recounted. "There were so many changes for her to the taste of food and the amount of food.'' Mikaelsen has missed eating some things in- digenous to her homeland; in particular, a special Norwegian dish prepared by her grandmother. While she has no interest in eating bratwurst, the 22-year-old Mikaelsen confessed, "I love cheese curds.'' That's so Wisconsin of her. 47

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