Freshman continues family tradition

first_imgBRYAN FAUST/Herald photoAdjusting to the college life as a true freshman is no easy chore.Now, just imagine how hard it would be with the added pressure of being the top incoming recruit in the nation.Brittney Dolgner — with a résumé full of accolades such as 2005 PrepVolleyball.com Player of the Year — is up to the challenges, namely dealing with the demands of contributing right away and replacing one of UW volleyball’s steadiest players of the past decade, Aubrey Meierotto.Heck, she’s even taken Meierotto’s old jersey number — lucky No. 7 — although she selected it for a completely different reason.”I picked the No. 7 because I have seven people in my family,” Dolgner said. “It’s just something that sticks in my head … they are basically why I’m playing right now.”It’s easy to see how family is so significant to Dolgner, as three older sisters — Dara, Deanna, and Desi — are the reason why she began playing volleyball.The Dolgner name has become a staple in the small town of Waupun, Wis., as the three senior Dolgners each won two state titles for the Warriors, while Brittney won four straight en route to becoming the state’s all-time leader in kills with 2,480. The youngest Dolgner, Brandi, will be a freshman at Waupun High this year.While it may seem as though Dolgner has a great amount of hype to live up to, she doesn’t really see it that way for two main reasons.One: she talks to all four of her sisters every single day to keep her mind clear from both issues concerning volleyball and overall college life.Two: Wisconsin’s upperclassmen have taken her under their wing and have made her feel at ease in her new surroundings.”Adjusting to the team has been really easy because they’re such nice people and the coaches just help you through it,” Dolgner said.Dolgner’s first true test came in the AVCA College Volleyball Showcase two weekends ago against NCAA tournament-quality teams No. 8 Texas and No. 15 Ohio.Judging by the spark she provided for the Badgers in the very first game, she passed with flying colors.As Texas began to break away in the first game of the season, up 26-21, UW head coach Pete Waite turned to Dolgner to give the team some energy.The minute she came in, Dolgner made an impact and put the Badgers right back in the game. She had several key digs, a kill and a service ace as Wisconsin came within one point of the Longhorns before losing 28-30.With her impressive debut, Dolgner quickly became UW’s go-to attacker as she led the team in kill attempts with 40 in the consolation game versus Ohio.”As the days [of practice] went on, she got better and better,” Waite said. “She got more comfortable, and she’s athletic enough where she can bring a lot of different shots and bring some great things for us.”She was hitting out of the back row for us and we’ve not had anybody doing that on a regular basis for years, so she’s a great addition.”However, Dolgner had to understandably play through a good amount of first-match jitters, saying she was certainly as nervous as she’s ever been.”It was very nerve-racking,” Dolgner said of her first game in the UW Field House. “I was so nervous; I was shaking and everything.”And yet she has plenty to improve upon in her game.”I still have to get used to the blocking,” Dolgner said. “I’m not used to such powerful hitters coming from high school since our conference was kind of weak.”Serving is another facet of Dolgner’s game she believes she still has work on, too, as was evident from her team-high seven service errors in the AVCA Showcase.”My shoulder was just a little sore,” she said. “It’s not a big thing. I’m just not consistent yet.”Waite knows that once the first-year player becomes fully accustomed to the college life in her freshman year, he will have one of UW’s finest on his roster.”We know she’s very capable of making some great plays,” Waite said. “Now it’s a matter of getting used to the team, getting used to the sets, the team, everything.”She’s just going to get stronger and stronger.”last_img

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