For UW volleyball head coach Pete Waite, the spring season has not gone as smoothly as he would have hoped for.”This spring has been a challenge because we’ve had so many illnesses and a few injuries that we’re nursing,” Waite said.Several Badgers have missed some time this spring due to either injury or illness. Morgan Salow was out for an extended period of time with mononucleosis, and Audra Jeffers has been resting her back after having surgery on it last spring. After playing in Wisconsin’s first spring tournament, freshman Caity Dupont has sat out, as she is recovering from back surgery.Due to all the illnesses and injuries, Wisconsin recently had to withdraw from the Great Lakes Center NCAA Invitational.”It’s been a challenge to have as many people on the court as we’d like,” Waite said. “The team has made good progress and we like the things we’ve seen.”With all the injuries this spring, several other players have been able to make their case that they too deserve more playing time next year.One of those players is sophomore Katherine Dykstra. So far this spring she has 34 kills and 6 blocks while playing the right side — a position unfamiliar to her. Junior Maya Carroll, who has played sparingly over the last three years, has seen increased action at middle blocker and has contributed with 25 kills.Now after taking nearly a month off from competition, Waite’s squad is ready to return to the Field House for one last spring match. The Badgers (27-6 overall, 16-4 Big Ten in 2006) will take on inner-state rival Marquette (16-15, 10-4 Big East) Friday night.”[Marquette has] lost a couple of starters just like we have, but they have a number of good players coming back,” Waite said. “We know it’s a well-coached team and a very disciplined and hardworking team.”Just like the Badgers, the Golden Eagles lost three seniors from last year’s squad. However, Marquette is returning its top offensive performer in junior Kimberley Todd, who averaged 4.81 kills per game on her way to being named to the All-Big East first team.”We know this is another good challenge for us, especially since we’ve got a few players playing out of position due to illnesses and resting some of the other players,” Waite said.After wrapping up its spring season with a match against Marquette, Wisconsin will head overseas once the school year is over for more training.”We’re looking forward to the opportunity to be challenged by some top international teams,” Waite said. “And for the players to be out of their comfort zone, because when you travel overseas everything is different.”The Badgers will travel to the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Italy over a 14-day period in early June. During the course of their trip, Waite thinks the different situations his team is put into will help them prepare for the Big Ten season.”Obviously the languages are different, food is different and everything throws them off kilter, and that’s what happens in Big Ten play,” Waite said. “The opposing team is always trying to put you under stress and the best teams react well to that. They are used to it and don’t get phased by it.”We’re looking for a chance to put them under some stressful situations and see how they react to them.”— UWBadgers.com contributed to this report.