TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE
The Badger women’s volleyball team is heading into the season with expectations set high. After falling to Stanford in the NCAA championship match last season, they are hungry for success this season.
Some marks of success have already been granted to the team. The American Volleyball Coaches Association, AVCA, has them ranked number one in the preseason poll, with three players selected to the All Big Ten team. The players Dana Rettke, Sydney Hilley and Molly Haggerty are all seniors who will play crucial roles in this season.
Dana Rettke, middle, was the youngest member on the USA National Team in 2019 which qualified for the Olympics during that time. Her impressive presence at the net will continue to force opponents to work around her defensively.
Sydney Hilley, setter, earned the accolade of Big Ten Setter of the Year last year, as well as AVCA First Team. Her connection with the offense will be crucial for scoring points this season.
Speaking of offense, Molly Haggerty, outside, will play an important role in this aspect of the game. Ever since her debut season being named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, she has continued with being named to the Big Ten Second or Third Team every year, except for the year she redshirted due to a back injury.
While these three seniors have been highlighted, the team has five other seniors. Having such an experienced team bodes well for success throughout the season.
The Badgers opened their season at the UW Field House with back to back sweeps against Purdue, ranked 13.
Everything has been looking good for the Badgers thus far, but their schedule isn’t easy.
In order to best precaution from COVID-19, games will be played back to back with every opponent. This will provide unique challenges because there isn’t much time to prepare for a re-match. If you have a five set match with a team one day, the team will have to be prepared both mentally and physically for another tough match with little time to recuperate.
The schedule is also tough because every team the Badgers face made the National Tournament last year. They will be facing very experienced opponents every time who have all tasted success before.
While this season is different from any one before it, Badger volleyball will continue to do what it has always done…be exciting to watch.