If most volleyball teams lost the talent of Dana Rettke, Sydney Hilley, Lauren Barnes, and Grace Loberg — to name a few — most would consider the following season to be a rebuild. But not Wisconsin. Though they graduated these seniors after winning the National Championship, the Badgers are still in position for another big season. They will reload in hopes of clinching a fourth straight Big Ten Championship on their way to another deep postseason run.
The Big Ten Volleyball Preseason poll revealed that the conference’s coaches are still worried about Wisconsin, despite an unfamiliar looking roster. Big Ten coaches voted Wisconsin to defend their title and win the conference again this year.
To do so, Wisconsin will turn to Devyn Robinson and Anna Smrek. Both middle hitters were named to the preseason All-Conference team. In addition, outside Sarah Franklin, who transferred to Wisconsin from Michigan State, was named to the preseason team. Julia Orzol, also returns to help the Badgers’ attack. Orzol was key in helping Wisconsin win the national title as a true freshman, playing all-around.
Nebraska and Minnesota were picked to finish second and third in the preseason poll. Wisconsin beat both teams in the 2021 tournament en route to winning the national championship.
The Badgers will open the 2022 regular season at TCU on August 26.