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Wisconsin volleyball: championship match notebook

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The Badgers finished second in the whole country. That’s equal parts a bummer and a wonderful accomplishment.

NCAA VOLLEYBALL: DEC 21 Div I Women’s Championship - Wisconsin v Stanford Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This may come as no surprise to any of you who read my coverage of the volleyball team this year, but I do not know a whole heck of a lot about the sport. I know I liked playing beach volleyball at summer camp. I know that rally scoring is different than, uh, the other type of scoring where you only get points when your team serves. And I know that I always liked watching the Badgers women’s volleyball team play despite the lack of knowledge.

The 2019 season for the Wisconsin Badgers volleyball team was an awesome one. The Badgers ran roughshod through the B1G conference, the best conference in the nation mind you, after struggling through a tough non-conference schedule. They ended up winning the conference title and earning a top-four seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Then, once they got to the Tournament, they turned their play up one more notch. Until the finals, they only lost one set...and that set was to overall No. 1 Baylor (and it took extra points) and then the Badgers rattled off three straight sets to clinch their spot in the finals.

In the finals they ran into a Stanford team that was, quite frankly, just too good. I had never seen a volleyball team play like the Cardinal did on Saturday night. Every time Wisconsin had a good swing on the ball it seemed like a Stanford player was right there to dig it. Then, when a Stanford player wasn’t right there to dig it...one dove from off screen to dig it and keep the point alive.

There is no shame in losing to that Stanford team. Basically everyone else did too. They were just amazing this season.

This year’s team was resilient, supremely talented and worked hard for everything they got. They also seemed to not take everything too seriously and took their time to enjoy the ride they were on. The parallels between their team and the back-to-back Final Four men’s basketball teams are apparent.

I really enjoyed watching this year’s volleyball team and I can’t wait for next season to start. I hope you all enjoyed our expanded coverage this year, and I can tell by the page views from the NCAA Tournament posts that you did. I think Rock did an awesome job covering the team this year and I appreciate all of the analysis and humor he put into his posts. Bob, an avid volleyball fan himself, did a great job when called upon as well.

My next goal is to catch a game at the Field House, which is something I’ve never done, because when I went to cover the Badgers/Gophers game in Minneapolis the atmosphere was electric and I can only imagine it’ll be at least twice as good in Madison.

Thanks for reading along this season and thanks for sticking with us when we might not have been 100% sure what we were talking about. Here is a final look at some stats and facts from the final game on Saturday via the UW Athletic Department’s Diane Nordstrom.

  • The Badgers end their season 27-7 while winning their sixth Big Ten Championship with an 18-2 record.
  • Stanford held Wisconsin to a season-low .152 (31 kills – 14 errors – 112 attempts) hitting percentage while the Cardinal hit .358 (50-12-106).
  • Stanford out-blocked the Badgers 7-3 and also finished with a 57-39 advantage in digs.
  • Juniors Molly Haggerty and Dana Rettke were named to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament team.
  • Wisconsin falls to 0-3 in national championship matches.