JEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoOne of the nagging problems all year for the Wisconsinsoftball team popped up again Saturday as the team failed to close out a winafter leading for much of the game.The Badgers gave up a lead in each game of Saturday’s twinbill against Ohio State, including a devastating 6-3 loss in game one.With its postseason hopes on the line and a 3-0 leadentering the seventh inning, UW was unable to put the Buckeyes away as pitcherLeah Vanevenhoven allowed six runs in the inning.“Losing that game was so heartbreaking,” freshman Livi Abneysaid. “We thought we had it; we went in with a 3-0 lead and we just weren’table to get it done for some reason.”Similarly, two weekends ago, the Badgers played adoubleheader at Illinois, during which they enjoyed a lead in both games beforeletting the Illini rally back for victories.In the game one, Wisconsin took a 2-1 lead into the bottomof the sixth inning. Unfortunately, Vanevenhoven gave up a two-run home runover center fielder Sarah Bryers, giving the Illini a 3-2 lead they would notrelinquish.The second game was much the same as the first, but theIllini did not wait as long to overtake the Badgers’ lead. With a 3-0 lead inthe bottom of the third, Wisconsin allowed six runs – including a three-runhome run by Bryers, which again knocked Vanevenhoven out of the game.Earlier in the week, Wisconsin had traveled to South Bend,Ind. for a nonconference matchup with Notre Dame. Much like the Illini series,the Irish rallied back from five down in the fourth to crush the Badgers 11-5.“One of the things we’ve needed to work on all year isputting the nail in the coffin,” junior Theresa Boruta said. “It’s alwaysdisappointing and it’s one of the most frustrating things that can happen to ateam.”Two things have occurred often in the Badgers late losses:an inability to keep the ball in the park and significant defensive miscues.One game that exemplified these problems for the Cardinaland White was the April 9 home matchup with Northern Iowa. Although Wisconsinnever led in the game, Vanevenhoven carried a no-hitter through 6 2/3 innings.In the seventh inning of that game, an Abney errorcontributed to a Northern Iowa rally. If not for the error, Vanevenhoven likelywould have gotten out of the inning with the no-hit bid intact. Instead, thejunior allowed a three-run home run before recording the third out.“It was disappointing,” assistant coach Julie Wright said afterthe loss. “We played well up until the breakdown with the error. Quite frankly,that lost the game for us.”Another problem in these losses has been the inability ofthe Wisconsin offense to make comebacks. In the previously mentioned losses, UWmanaged to come back in only one game – the second game against Illinois – butstill came up short in that contest.A great example of this is the second game against PennState on April 13. Vanevenhoven pitched brilliantly throughout, allowing onlytwo runs. Yet, after the Nittany Lions scored in the top of the sixth, theBadgers went down in order in each of the last two innings.“We just failed to adjust to what she was throwing,” juniorValyncia Raphael said following the game. “She was throwing us a lot more junkthan we saw in the first game. She threw more stuff off the plate and changedspeeds a lot. We struggled to adjust to the tempo of the game.”Of course, with Saturday’s win in game two, the Badgersfinally were able to overcome the things that had plagued them for much of theseason.This time, rather than succumb to the Buckeyes’ late rally,the Badgers did something they hadn’t done in a long time – make a seventhinning comeback.After giving up two runs in the top of the seventh –something all too familiar to UW – Wisconsin rallied back in the bottom of theinning, scoring three runs to win it on Boruta’s infield single.The win was the first for the Badgers in their last at-batsince Raphael beat Princeton with a walk-off home run on March 23.“It felt absolutely great and we needed it, especiallyconsidering the way the first game went,” Boruta said of the win. “Being ableto bounce back is always a good thing; it’s always a momentum builder.”?
Covington plays just 15.1 minutes per game for the Badgers, but coaches and teammates know how valuable she is to UW’s success.[/media-credit]When a player has served as a captain in two of her three years of play, it becomes clear that the player is a respected team leader.Such is the case with Wisconsin women’s basketball forward Anya Covington, who has seen extra playing time recently in the absence of senior Tara Steinbauer. Although not usually the first name in the box score, Covington, who has acted as a captain during both her sophomore and junior years, is the epitome of a leader both on and off the hardwood.“She’s always been a leader, she’s a natural born leader,” head coach Lisa Stone said. “She is really living the life of a leader … confident, mature. You think about people that have grown into maturation, she’s had it. She’s coming into her own as a basketball player, but as a human being, she’s special.”Although Covington has certainly made an impact on the court, her achievements off the court are equally impressive. A member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, the Student-Athletes Equally Supporting others and a representative on the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Issues Committee, it comes as no surprise that the junior has been voted a captain by her teammates two of her first three years.It is difficult to find a better example of a well-rounded and active student-athlete than Covington, but the Edwardsville, Ill. native has always felt comfortable in the spotlight.“I just have a heart for student-athletes and our issues that we’re going through, and just furthering our opportunities,” Covington said. “I’ve been doing it since middle school, and all these committees and boards and stuff, so it’s just natural to do it now.”Covington manages to handle all these activities not as a player who rides the bench, but rather one who serves a key role for the Badgers. Appearing in every game this season, the forward has been the third and often used post option behind seniors Lin Zastrow and Steinbauer all year.However, since Steinbauer suffered a career-ending ACL tear in the closing weeks of the season, Covington has started Wisconsin’s last two games. Forced to fill Steinbauer’s tremendous presence on the court during the most important weeks of the season, Covington’s play in the Big Ten Tournament could play a crucial role in the team’s success. “Anya’s done a really good job stepping in, and we really need her to step in big time now,” Stone said. “We’re planning on playing four games in four days, and her ability to step in and help out and stay fresh and stay out of foul trouble is going to be huge for us.”A physical player who known for her strong presence in the paint, Covington’s ability to collect rebounds may be the most valuable aspect of her game. Co-leading the Badgers in rebounds in a tough loss of Ohio State Sunday, the junior averages just under four rebounds per game in only 15.1 minutes per contest.With three career double-doubles, including one this season, Covington has proved that she has the ability on both sides of the glass to be a reliable post player. Earning valuable experience in her first two years, coaches and players insist that there is no better player to step in for Steinbauer at this crucial point in the season.“She’s been here for the last three years ready to play,” senior guard Emily Neal said. “…It was really sad for Tara, but it’s a great opportunity for Anya to come in, and she was definitely ready for it.”The junior forward could probably serve a starting role for other Big Ten teams, but UW’s depth and talent at the forward positions have kept Covington coming off the bench. Averaging 4.1 points per game this season and 5.1 points per game last season, Covington’s scoring has been restrained by her playing time.Shooting nearly 50 percent from the field over her career, the junior doesn’t look at herself as a backup to Zastrow and Steinbauer. In a way that exudes the team-first approach of the Badgers, Covington sees herself as working together with the senior standouts rather than acting as a backup to them.“I was told my freshman year I had to come here and pay my dues, so I mean that’s basically what’s going on,” Covington said. “It’s [Zastrow and Steinbauer’s] senior year, one of them goes down, I just step in. I don’t look at it as playing under their shadow. We’ve been playing together for the past three years, and it’s been fun.”Wisconsin’s three leading scorers this year in Zastrow, Steinbauer and Alyssa Karel are all seniors, but there is no question who will primarily fill the void left by those players. Equipped with the character and confidence that every coach looks in their players, no word seems to better describe Covington than “leader.”“It’s going to be tough next year with Lin and Tara both gone, but at the same time [Covington] has shown that she’s ready to step up,” Neal said.
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisNumerous winners were crowned this weekend after performing in Hillman’s annual Mock Rock talent concert.Contestants performed a number of electrifying acts, including popular songs like Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” and Megan Trainor’s “Dear Future Husband.* Event organizer Roxanne LaFleche says community members always look forward to the event, and it continues to grow every year.“I think it was eight years ago, somebody had the idea, one of the class advisors, how can we make the most money and have the best community time so we can bring everyone together and just have a good time. And it just snowballed from there. It gets bigger and better every year.”LaFleche says the event couldn’t have been successful without the sponsors and hard work of the performers. Money raised from the event will go to the class of 2024’s senior trip, graduation, caps and gowns, and more.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThis Tags: beat it, Hillman, megan trainor, Michael Jackson, Mock RockContinue ReadingPrevious Blue Line Club to host “Puck O’ The Irish” fundraiser and alumni gameNext Pickup truck crashes into snowplow on I-75 in Cheboygan County
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Kobe Bryant’s death remains an emotional topic for many in the city of Los Angeles and across the sports world.Rapper Snoop Dogg and former Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol paid tribute to Bryant during the 2020 ESPYS broadcast, which was held virtually by ESPN for the first time as a result of the pandemic.