In what some may call a predictable move, due to the fact that they are the preseason No. 1 team in the nation, the Wisconsin Badgers were unanimously named preseason favorite to win the Big Ten by the conference’s coaches on Wednesday. It is the sixth straight season the Badgers will open the year ranked among the top-10 teams in the country and only the second time in program history ranked first in the nation.
The Badgers won the 2019 Big Ten title (the last time the conference competed) and will be looking to go back-to-back this year with a talented, veteran-laden roster. Here is how the coaches think the entire conference will shake out:
As far as individual conference accolades go, the Badgers were tied for the most members of the preseason all-Big Ten team with three. Senior setter Sydney Hilley and senior middle blocker Dana Rettke were unanimous selections while senior outside hitter Molly Haggerty joined them on the team. This is the third straight season that Rettke was named to the preseason team while it’s the second straight season for Hilley.
Here is the full team:
Erika Pritchard, Sr., OH, Maryland
Paige Jones, Jr., OH, Michigan
Regan Pittman, Sr., MB, Minnesota
Stephanie Samedy, Sr., OPP, Minnesota
Lauren Stivrins, Sr., MB, Nebraska
Lexi Sun, Sr., OH, Nebraska
Serena Gray, Jr., M, Penn State
Kaitlyn Hord, Jr., M, Penn State
Jonni Parker. Jr., OH, Penn State
Grace Cleveland, Jr., OPP/M, Purdue
Caitlyn Newton, Sr., OH, Purdue
Molly Haggerty, Sr., OH, Wisconsin
SYDNEY HILLEY, SR., S, WISCONSIN
DANA RETTKE, SR., MB, WISCONSIN
Of the 14 members on the Preseason All-Big Ten Team, 10 were AVCA All-Americans in 2019 with Hilley, Hord, Pittman and Rettke earning first-team honors. Haggerty, Samedy and Stivrins claimed second-team accolades, while Cleveland, Jones and Sun received third-team recognition. In addition, Gray, and Parker, and Newton were honorable mention AVCA All-America.