For the second year in a row, Wisconsin’s season ends at the hands of the Stanford Cardinal.
The Badgers, Elite Eight losers to the eventual national champions in 2016, were the decided underdogs Friday against the overall No. 3 seed Cardinal, coming into the match unseeded after upsetting Iowa State in Ames last weekend.
Wisconsin came out hot, winning the first set 25–22 on the back of a blistering .593. The host Cardinal battled back, however, hitting .436 for the match.
Three Big Ten teams—overall No. 1 seed Penn State, No. 5 seed Nebraska, and Michigan State all advanced to the Elite Eight. With the Nittany Lions and Spartans facing off in State College on Saturday, the conference is guaranteed at least one team in the national semifinals next weekend.
For the young Badgers, who lose only seniors Kelli Bates and Lauryn Gillis, the future is bright. Returning All-Big Ten player Tionna Williams as well as Big Ten Freshman of the Year Dana Rettke, and All-Big Ten freshman setter Hilley, Wisconsin will also regain 2016 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Molly Haggerty, who redshirted this season due to a back injury.