The University of Wisconsin volleyball team was picked to win the Big Ten title this season in a preseason poll of the conference's coaches released on Monday.
The Badgers begin the season ranked No. 5 in the nation by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. It's the fifth straight season UW will open the season ranked among the top 10 teams in the country.
In the Big Ten preseason poll, the Badgers were picked to finish ahead of the No. 2 team in the country, Nebraska, as well as reigning Big Ten champion and third-ranked Minnesota. Penn State and Illinois were picked for fourth and fifth, respectively.
The 14-player preseason All-Big Ten team included two UW players — junior Dana Rettke with her second consecutive preseason selection and her first unanimous honor, and junior captain Sydney Hilley. Both were All-Big Ten and AVCA All-Americans in 2018.
The Badgers will open the 2019 season this weekend in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. UW will play Florida State on Friday and North Carolina on Saturday.
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The Big Ten preseason poll:
1. Wisconsin; 2. Nebraska; 3. Minnesota; 4. Penn State; 5. Illinois; 6. Purdue; 7. Michigan; 8. Ohio State; 9. Michigan State; 10. Maryland; 11. Indiana; 12. Northwestern; 13. Iowa; 14. Rutgers.
The preseason All-Big team:
JACQUELINE QUADE, Sr., OH, Illinois; Erika Pritchard, Jr., OH, Maryland; Alexis Hart, Sr., OH, Minnesota; Taylor Morgan, Sr., MB, Minnesota; Stephanie Samedy, Jr., OPP, Minnesota; Nicklin Hames, So., S, Nebraska; Lauren Stivrins, Jr., MB, Nebraska; Lexi Sun, Jr., OH, Nebraska; Kaitlyn Hord, So., MB, Penn State; Jonni Parker, So., RS, Penn State; KENDALL WHITE, Sr., DS, Penn State; Blake Mohler, Sr., MB, Purdue; Sydney Hilley, Jr., S, Wisconsin; DANA RETTKE, Jr., MB, Wisconsin (Unanimous selections in ALL CAPS)