Wisconsin Stands Alone

Kendall Mealy, Staff writer


On December 18th, 2021 the Wisconsin women’s volleyball team brought the national championship back home to Madison, Wisconsin. Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio is the home of the 5 set thriller and Wisconsin history. 

After a flat first set, the match seemed to be heading for another heartbreaking championship appearance for Wisconsin similar to the 2019 national championship game with Stanford sweeping Wisconsin. Julia Orzol got a block to tie the thrilling second set 25-25. After Nebraska’s Kenzie Knuckles ace, Dana Rettke, the national player of the year delivered electricity with a huge solo roof to end the second set. Nebraska’s Nicklin Hames made a great one handed save to keep point 1 of the third set alive for the Cornhuskers. With Lauren Barnes running the back row and Sydney Hilley running the front row for Wisconsin, the Badgers powered through the third set winning 25-23. The fourth set was a battle to the end, Knuckles adding an ace and Ally Batenhorst with an out of system kill to force a deciding fifth set. After losing the fourth set the Badgers entered the fifth set on fire. Rettke and Hilley combine for the block to lead Wisconsin to an early 7-0 lead. Nebraska hung around and rallied back to get themselves within three points of Wisconsin. After a long challenge the final point of Wisconsin was overturned and Nebraska was back in it. Dana Rettke appropriately ended the game on her last slide kill with Hilley and gave Wisconsin its first national championship.


2021 Nebraska stat leaders:

Kills: Madi Kubik, Jr. OH, 412 kills

Digs: Lexi Rodriguez, Fr. L, 524 digs

Assists: Nicklin Hames, Sr. S, 1226 assists

Blocks: Kayla Caffey, Sr. MB, 118 blocks

Aces: Keonilei Akana, So. DS, 42 aces


2021 Wisconsin stat leaders:

Kills: Dana Rettke Gr. MB, 409 kills

Digs: Lauren Barnes Gr. L, 531 digs

Assists: Sydney Hilley Gr. S, 1458 assists

Blocks: Dana Rettke Gr. MB, 172 blocks

Aces: Izzy Ashburn Jr. DS, 52 aces