Varsity - The Official Digital Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics

Varsity - May 15, 2014

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

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64 // VARSITY May 15, 2014 Badgers return to Eugene for NCAA regional UW will play Albany on Friday in its first game T he 2014 postseason schedule has been an eerily familiar one for the Wisconsin softball team, which prepares for an NCAA regional game on Friday at 4 p.m. (CT) against Albany (30- 10) in the Eugene Regional hosted by Oregon. The Badgers (34-18) fin- ished the regular season with 33 wins and a 15-7 conference record, earning the No. 4 seed in the Big Ten tournament for the second-straight year. UW met five seed North- western in a rematch of a 2013 conference quarterfinal game, and the Badgers won, 5-4, thanks to a five-run third inning. In the tournament semi- finals, Wisconsin faced Michi- gan for the second year in a row, losing a heartbreaker, 4-3, in walk- off fashion. Despite coming up short in defending its Big Ten tournament championship, the Badgers had already done enough to earn a spot in the NCAA tournament ― a place the team has been before. "Going into the Big Ten Tournament," UW head coach Yvette Healy explained, "we said it was déjà vu all over again, getting the four seed and then matching up with Northwestern again. The déjà vu just continues. We're going back to Or- egon." This season's NCAA regional does have its differences, though. For starters, host Oregon is ranked No. 1 in the country ― two notches higher than its ranking dur- ing the 2013 Eugene Regional. But even in the wake of a program-best campaign last season, UW may be even more pre- pared in 2014 to face off with one of the best teams in the country. Of its 52 games played, Wisconsin has played 18 (or about 35 percent of them) against ranked teams, so the Badgers are no stranger to tough opponents. "I'm glad how the schedule worked out," Healy explained. "And for how good the Big Ten is, I think that's probably what prepared us the most. I don't know if there's any other way to get prepared than to play the best teams in your con- ference and in the country. If you had to go face the No. 1, you might as well schedule that way." SCHEDULE (34-18, 15-7) LAST WEEK Friday Northwestern W, 5-4 Saturday #10 Michigan L, 4-3 UP NEXT Friday Albany 4 p.m. CT INSIDE SOFTBALL BY CHRISTIAN BLATNER @BADGERSOFTBALL

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