The Wisconsin Badgers have scheduled themselves a tough preseason for the 2018 season, one that includes seven 2017 postseason teams.
The 2018 team will return all but two players who leave the program following their graduation date – Lauryn Gillis and Kelli Bates. Both players will be tough losses for the Badger program as they were constant fixtures on the court. Gillis posted 233 kills for an average of 2.43 kills per set while Bates posted 295 kills and 298 digs.
Despite the losses for the Badgers, they will be returning a handful of youthful starters for the 2018 lineup. The team’s leading scorer, Dana Rettke will be out on the court this season. Rettke posted 286 kills, 25 aces and 155 blocks – leading the team in both kills and blocks on the season. Rettke earned a mountain of awards in her freshman season including:
- VolleyMob Freshman of the Year
- AVCA Freshman of the Year
- AVCA Northeast Regional Freshman of the Year
- AVCA First Team All-American
- VolleyMob Second Team All-American
- Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Year
- 9 Big Ten Freshman of the Week (record)
- 2 Big Ten Player of the Week
Also returning is setter Sydney Hilley who dished out 1,329 assists on the year along with 228 digs as a freshman. Libero Tiffany Clark, Tionna Williams and Madison Duello are also among the players that will return to the Badgers court.
The Badgers went 22-10 overall and 11-9 in Big Ten play in 2017 and were ousted by Stanford in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. The team finished 12th in the AVCA final ranking of the 2017 season and 14th in VolleyMob’s final rankings.
Press Release courtesy of Wisconsin Athletics
Seven teams that competed in 2017 post-season tournaments highlight the 2018 non-conference schedule for the Wisconsin volleyball team. The Badgers play eight matches, including six against 20-plus win teams, prior to the Big Ten Conference season, head coach Kelly Sheffield announced on Thursday.
“It’s a good, challenging pre-conference schedule, something we were hoping to be able to put together when we got started,” Sheffield said. “Three of the weekends are either at home or within driving distance for our fans. Our home tournament has Texas and High Point, two NCAA tournament teams, coming to the Field House.
“This should be great preparation heading into the Big Ten and a schedule that will definitely challenge us.”
The Badgers, who wrapped up the 2017 season with a 22-10 record and ranked 12th in the final American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll, open the non-conference season, competing in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at the Target Center in Minneapolis on Aug. 24-25. Wisconsin and No. 10 Minnesota represent the Big Ten, taking on Florida State (18-11) and North Carolina (14-14) from the ACC. The Seminoles lost in the first round of the 2017 NCAA tournament.
Wisconsin hosts the HotelRED Invitational on Sept. 1-2 in the UW Field House. The Badgers face No. 5 Texas (27-3), an NCAA Elite Eight team, and High Point (24-8), an NCAA first-round team, in the annual tournament.
UW travels to the state of Texas for two individual matches, playing at No. 21 Baylor (24-7) on Sept. 7 and at North Texas (29-4) on Sept. 9. The Bears advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament while the Mean Green advanced to second round of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC) in 2017.
The Badgers wrap up the non-conference season, traveling to in-state rival Marquette (22-10) on Sept. 14-15 for the Marquette Invitational. The Golden Eagles lost to Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA tournament last season. UW will also face Illinois State (22-13), a team that competed in the second round of the NIVC in 2017, at the tournament.
Wisconsin returns 11 letterwinners and four starters plus its libero from the 2017 season. Dana Rettke was named the AVCA National Freshman of the Year while freshman Sydney Hilley and junior Tionna Williams earned honorable mention All-America recognition. UW also returns Molly Haggerty, a 2016 third-team All-American, and Danielle Hart, who both redshirted last season. The Badgers return nearly 70 percent of their kills and nearly 85 percent of their blocks from last year.
NOTE: Season tickets for the 2018 season go on sale, Friday, June 1 at 8:30 a.m. More information on season ticket requests will be announced at a later date.
2018 Wisconsin Volleyball Non-Conference Schedule
Fri.-Sat. Aug. 24-25 at Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Minneapolis, Minn.
Florida State, Minnesota, North Carolina, Wisconsin
SAT.-SUN. SEPT. 1-2 HOTELRED INVITATIONAL
Wisconsin, Texas, High Point
Friday Sept. 7 at Baylor, Waco, Texas
Sunday Sept. 9 at North Texas, Denton, Texas
Fri.-Sat. Sept. 14-15 at Marquette Invitational, Milwaukee, Wis.
Marquette, Illinois State