Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Sophomore softball player joins volleyball team

Sophomore softball player Brianna Witter, entering her first full year at UW Oshkosh has earned a spot on the women’s volleyball team and will now handle multiple sports for the 2015-16 school year.

The volleyball and softball standout from Muskego chose to take an offer to play softball from the University of Tampa a year ago, and Witter said the original plan was to get away from home for college.

“I always said I wanted to go somewhere far,” Witter said. “Once I got there though, it felt a lot different.”
After feeling homesick at the end of the fall 2014 semester, Witter said she wanted to come back to Wisconsin and UWO had everything she was looking for with her biology major.

“I like the distance it is from home,” Witter said. “They have a great campus, and I think the river is really pretty.”

At the end of the semester, Witter contacted softball head coach Scott Beyer.

Beyer said he received great recommendations from previous coaches and girls who knew her that were already on the team.

“Some of the information that got back to us was about how good of a kid she is,” Beyer said. “I was told we need to have her on our team.”

Volleyball head coach Brian Schaefer, also known as Lumpy, was not aware of Witter and her volleyball ability when she first arrived at Oshkosh.

Schaefer later heard from Tony Mack, one of his men’s volleyball players that his girlfriend Witter was transferring to play softball and she had played volleyball at Muskego.

“I don’t know how many conversations Tony and I had,” Schaefer said. “But finally I decided to email her about how tryouts worked.”

Witter said that early on she thought about playing two sports in college, but once she declared to go to Tampa, it wasn’t an option.

“I’ve been playing softball a lot longer,” Witter said. “My coaches helped more with recruiting for softball through competitive traveling leagues.”

During the softball season she was unsure, but after talking it over with Beyer in the offseason, Witter decided to give volleyball a shot.

Beyer saw no problem with her playing volleyball. He believed if anyone was capable of playing both sports, it was she.
“I gave her my full support,” Beyer said. “I don’t want kids to regret anything, and I told her if she doesn’t, she’ll regret it.”

After hearing all positive reports about Witter and knowing she did some work in the offseason, Schaefer was still unsure on whether she would make the volleyball team.

However, once tryouts began, Schaefer knew there was going to be a roster spot for her.

“She caught our eye right away,” Schaefer said. “She looked athletic, tall, in good shape and was very quick to the ball. All the things you want in a volleyball player that you didn’t originally recruit.”

When tryouts began in August, Witter admits she felt a little nervous.

“I took a whole year off,” Witter said. “All of the other girls there knew they were coming here to play volleyball.”
Once Witter made the team, it didn’t take long for her to feel part of the team and she said the team is welcoming, helpful and easy to get to know.

“They asked me my name on the first day of tryouts and Lexi [Thiel] helped me through the way,” Witter said. “Now we are always together and talking even when we’re not at practice.”

With one year of Titan athletics under her belt, Schaefer said Witter is able to lend a hand to all of the freshman and transfers.

Playing multiple sports at Oshkosh gives Witter the opportunity to have two collegiate coaches. She said both Beyer and Schaefer are very similar to each other in all aspects.

“They both get along with the players and goof around a lot,” Witter said. “You feel like you can go to them with anything.”
Witter also said she likes the fact that both of them are very passionate for the sports that they coach.

“Lumpy plays a lot of volleyball in his spare time, and coach Beyer plays a lot of softball,” Witter said
Witter said both coaches are good about helping her balance each sport. With team meetings and fall ball starting for softball, Schaefer said he wants Witter attending as much as possible on volleyball off days.

“She needs to meet the new freshmen,” Schaefer said. “She obviously has friends she wants to see, and it’s better than sitting around doing nothing.”

Beyer has no doubt she will be ready for softball season in the spring, despite missing reps in the fall.

“She’s building strength,” Beyer said. “Her upper body and lower body are getting worked out right now.”

Despite not seeing a lot of playing time early in the season, Schaefer said sees improvement in Witter every day.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re playing or not,” Schaefer said. “You’re still a great asset to our team whether it’s helping our starters or anywhere else.”

Balancing school, volleyball and softball is a tough task, but Beyer said he enjoys the way Witter continues to grow and mature each and every day.

“She’s a great kid, great student and overall great athlete,” Beyer said. “She gets it and understands what it takes.”

This is the reason Witter chose to attend Oshkosh and she said she’s accepted the challenge of being a multiple sport athlete in college.

“I like it a lot,” Witter said. “It’s really helping me with time management, and I don’t have an offseason anymore.”

Beyer and Schaefer said the coaches have a great relationship at the University and that Oshkosh athletics offers all of its athletes with the best Division III experience.

“It says something about the coaches and how we get along,” Beyer said. “We’re not secluding our kids from other opportunities.”

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