The Wisconsin secondary has struggled all year and Hawaii will offer up a stiff challenge with star wide receiver Greg Salas.[/media-credit]Looking at almost any college football bowl predictions, experts will tell you the Wisconsin football team is headed to the Outback Bowl for a matchup with Auburn.Assuming they beat Hawaii this Saturday.This assumption should not be taken lightly as the Warriors will be fighting for their bowl lives in Aloha Stadium Saturday.After losing its first six conference games to start the season, Hawaii is rolling on a four game winning streak including a momentum-building 24-17 win last weekend.“Well, they were a 2-6 football team that has revived themselves very, very well,” UW head coach Bret Bielema said. “They were 2-6 and … regrouped and have played very well offensively and defensively. They have done some really good things in the kicking game. All four of these last games, none of them have really come easy, so they have earned each one of those victories.”As one of only two teams not to have clinched a bowl or been eliminated from contention — with Army being the other — the Warriors will have plenty of motivation on senior day.Currently on a 3-year bowl streak, the WAC school so far away from everyone will also be fighting to keep alive its hard-earned reputation as a decent football program.“Bottom line, if they win this game they are going to become bowl eligible for a very big bowl themselves,” Bielema said.Averaging 456.1 yards of total offense, including 348.7 yards through the air, the Badger corners will be tested once again. Exposed through mental mistakes against Northwestern two weeks ago, UW’s secondary will have to bounce back fairly quickly.Its first challenge? Stopping junior wide receiver Greg Salas, an offensive dynamo responsible for 103 receptions, 1,559 yards and eight touchdowns this season.“Our front four has to give pressure to help out our back end,” Bielema added.Given a bye week, Wisconsin has taken the same approach to fixing mistakes that they have all season.Hard work, hard work and, well… you know the rest.“Just like in the offseason we just know we have to work harder,” UW running back Zach Brown said. “It was a tough loss, but we are using the bye week time to get better.”Playing in a stadium four time zones away, the Badgers will face a host of challenges trying to stay prepared.Besides exams and warm weather serving as distractions, UW will also have to avoid looking toward the looming bowl game.“Honestly, we aren’t thinking about no bowl game,” Brown said. “We are worrying about Hawaii. That is our biggest game and we can’t look ahead. We just got to make sure we take care of Hawaii.”Not to be all business and no fun, Bielema has designated time for the players to relax and see the sites.Perhaps to inspire leadership, he mentioned going to Pearl Harbor.“The hard part for us is, because it is an extended stay, it has similarities to a bowl game,” Bielema said. “But obviously the game is going to be on us very, very quick. So we told our guys it is about focusing on the details of what we need to do to win Saturday.”“I am really excited,” Brown added. “Growing up, I was never a real big traveler and I never thought I would have a chance to go to Hawaii, so being able to do this is great and I am looking forward to it.”
Following a sweep of Bemidji State, the Wisconsin women’s hockey team is looking to build its case for the No. 1 ranking against North Dakota this weekend. In a two-game away series, the Badgers will take the ice, with hopes to continue their recent success.Last week, the Badgers won two one-goal games after nearly doubling their opponent’s shot total in each game. The focus this week is finishing those chances.“We didn’t have good habits in those games, so in the first two days of practice this week, we’ve been harping on, doing the little things right and getting back on track,” leading goal-scorer, redshirt senior forward Brittany Ammerman, said.Ammerman, who’s been off to a hot start (six goals, five assists and 11 points through 10 games), is finding the back of the net with ease and playing with a confidence only seen among the most skilled of players. The Badgers will be looking to feed her the puck and give her good chances when they roll into North Dakota.Despite North Dakota possessing a large defensive unit, the Badgers will continue their system of creating screens and deflections in front of the net. That deviates from the usual style of playing near the boards when facing a larger team. The Badgers’ system has worked very well for the team so far, as they’ve outscored opponents 38-14 through 10 games with Ammerman leading the charge.“The hunger will be increased this weekend with a weekend off next week,” Ammerman said. “I work hard to get in the position I am … and we’ll be chipping the puck by them and trying to make them turn. [In the crease] we’ll be looking to be our usual pesky selves and hopefully draw some penalties in the process.”After opening the scoring in Saturday’s 4-3 win over Bemidji State, look for Ammerman to continue to roll past North Dakota this weekend.On the defensive side, sophomore goaltender Ann-Renee Desbiens has been a force to be reckoned with between the pipes. With three shutouts through only 10 games, Desbiens has been sharp, posting a 1.61 GAA and allowing 13 goals. Paired with a large youth contingent on defense, Desbiens and the defenseman in front of her have meshed the more they play with each other.“I think it’s nice to have a younger core so we can play with each other for a longer period of time,” Desbiens said. “We still have a couple of years together, so it’s nice to build this confidence with each other and improve it.”That confidence has led the Badgers to an 8-2-0 record and No. 2 ranking in the USA Today poll. As Desbiens and her teammates continue to play together, she feels they can only improve upon what they’ve done so far and that what the Badgers have in store for the future is very exciting.“I learned a lot from last weekend, so every single game I get ready the same way no matter who we play,” Desbiens said. “It was a great learning opportunity.”With both the offense and defense playing and practicing confidently, there is excitement that the Badgers will elevate their already superb play. The team skated both Monday and Tuesday, where they practiced shooting and passing drills, prepping to deliver an offensive onslaught against No. 10-ranked and 4-4-0 North Dakota.The added depth this year has head coach Mark Johnson pleased and confident about the Badgers’ chances this weekend and going forward in the season. He said the experience some bench players had already gained when the team was missing some key players in its first few series was valuable.“It’ll be a good challenge and an opportunity for some other kids to get some ice-time,” Johnson said. “We have some depth this year … so we have capable people to come in and fill those minutes. We’ll give a couple of players an opportunity, and hopefully they come out and take advantage of it.”With the 2014-2015 season starting to kick into gear, the Badgers are looking to build a head of steam and push on against some tough upcoming opponents in a long away streak. Their next four series include North Dakota this weekend away, Minnesota State at home, St. Cloud State away and New Hampshire away.
Ahead of the GHALCA elections to provide a successor to Alhaji Raji’s throne, Joy Sports profiles the four candidates contesting for the leadership of the league clubs associationIncumbent vice-Chairman Isaac Koomson is one of four candidates contesting the chairmanship of the Ghana League Clubs Association. GHALCA has, in recent months, been in the news for the wrong reasons and Isaac Koomson wants to repair the association’s image if elected.”Immediately I say I don’t like what is going on, when are you going to come back? They will say when the kitchen was hot, you could not stay.”Kofi Poku is also interested in the GHALCA’S biggest post and the astute football administrator has promised to build the capacity of members if he gets the nod.”The dynamics means you need to know what you will get from your locality. Once you get that, you will be self sufficient and be able to do things.” Nana Oduro Sarfo has not hidden his desire lead GHALCA. The former Berekum Chelsea General Manager has pledged to help the association rediscover its true identity.”GHALCA is a traditional welfare which has been mistaken for a pressure group but I want to bring the welfare aspect of it.”Nana Oduro Sarfo, Kofi Poku and Isaac Koomson will be battling Chief Executive Officer of AshGold Cudjoe Fianoo to become the next GHALCA Boss.All four candidates are confident of victory today but their fate lies in the hands of the 110 members who will vote. – Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @JoySportsGH. Our hashtag is #JoySports