The confetti had barely been cleared from the court in Kansas City following Nebraska’s triumph in the NCAA volleyball championship match when speculation turned toward the leading contenders for the 2018 crown.
In its “Way too early” prediction just days later PrepVolleyball.com tabbed Stanford as the favorite, followed by Texas and the University of Wisconsin.
It is with that level of expectation that the Badgers commence practice Wednesday at the UW Field House. Coach Kelly Sheffield has an experienced but still young roster that includes just one senior, middle blocker Tionna Williams.
Williams is one of six regulars returning from last year’s team that finished 22-10 and ranked No. 12 nationally. Others back include sophomore setter Sydney Hilley, sophomore middle blocker Dana Rettke, redshirt junior outside hitter Madison Duello and junior liberos Tiffany Clark and M.E. Dodge. Add in sophomore outside hitter Grace Loberg, who became an impact player in the tournament, and two players who sat out last season, redshirt sophomore Molly Haggerty and redshirt freshman Danielle Hart.
Here are five questions regarding the outlook for this year’s team.
1. How do you approach the expectations swirling around this team?
2. What are your expectations for Molly Haggerty heading into the season?
3. How do you maximize your depth?
4. What are the biggest things Dana Rettke and Sydney Hilley need to do this year to make the next step?
5. Who are the most likely candidates to step up their game this year?
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Nelson and Bates have signed to play for Pays d’Aix Venelles Volley Ball located in Venelles, about 25 miles north of Marseille.
Across the board it would appear the No. 9 Badgers have more accomplished players than spots in the lineup for them.
Williams and the Badgers open the season Friday night against North Carolina in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at the Target Center in Minneapolis.
- Dana Rettke is ready to face elevated expectations for Badgers volleyball
- Tiffany Clark, M.E. Dodge and Sydney Hilley named captains for Wisconsin volleyball team
- Defending national champion Nebraska among teams to visit University of Wisconsin next season
- Ex-Badger Lauryn Gillis to play beach volleyball at South Carolina