Ahead of their biggest match of the season (so far), three Wisconsin Badgers volleyball players learned that they were named to an All-Americam team. Dana Rettke (first team), Sydney Hilley (first team) and Lauren Barnes (second team), a trio of fifth year seniors who came back for one more run at a national title, earned All-American honors this year.
The tweet above was corrected in a follow-up post as Rettke is in fact the one and only five-time first team All-American. A truly outrageous career that places her in the discussion for best player in college volleyball history.
She leads the Big Ten Conference and ranks third nationally with a .447 hitting percentage. The Riverside, Ill. native also ranks No. 10 nationally with 1.37 blocks per set this season while leading the team with 3.49 kills per set. Rettke made her mark on the UW’s career record lists this season, setting the all-time blocking record and points record. She also has the best career hitting percentage of any Badger at .425.
Hilley joined Rettke on the first team, her third consecutive appearance there, and was also announced as the winner of the prestigious 2021 Senior CLASS Award® for women’s volleyball. The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I women’s volleyball coaches, national volleyball media, and fans, is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in Division I women’s volleyball. Rettke was also a top-10 finalist for the award.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior or graduate student and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: classroom, community, character, and competition.
Did you think we were done with the awards today?@sydneyhilley has been selected as the 2021 Senior CLASS Award® winner in NCAA® Division I women's volleyball.— Wisconsin Volleyball (@BadgerVB) December 15, 2021
Outstanding athlete? OUTSTANDING HUMAN!
️ x https://t.co/zXji0xBi34 pic.twitter.com/mlDQGXmUj8
“I have been surrounded by drive, gritty, like-minded teammates and coaches,” said Hilley. “I’ve been a part of a program that strives for excellence in more ways than just on the volleyball court. The love and support from the Badger fans is special and unmatched. I will forever be grateful Kelly Sheffield saw something in me long ago and that he surrounded me with the best teammates and life-long friends I could have ever wanted.”
Hilley leads the nation with 12.04 assists per set, running the Badger offense that leads the Big Ten and ranks No. 6 nationally with a .296 hitting percentage. She is averaging season bests of 2.63 digs per set, which ranks second on the team, and 0.72 blocks per set.
She broke the UW career record for assists this season, currently ranking second all time in the Big Ten with 6,029 helpers. Hilley also has more than 1,000 career digs, ranking No. 13 at Wisconsin, and more than 300 career blocks, becoming one of just six Big Ten setters to hit those milestones.
Barnes leads the Badgers and ranks eighth in the Big Ten with 4.29 digs per set. The libero has a season-best 481 digs this season and became the 19th UW player to record 1,000 career digs. She ranks seventh on the Badger record list with 3.62 digs per set for her career. A transfer from the University of Minnesota, the senior leader has 1,540 digs in her career. Barnes also has a season-best 33 digs, averaging a season-high 0.29 digs per set.
The Badgers are in the Final Four for the third straight season and take on the No. 1 seeded Louisville Cardinals, who have a pair of first team All-Americans of their own in S Tori Dilfer and MB Anna Stevenson, on Thursday (that’s today!) night at 6 p.m. CT, live on ESPN. We will have much more on the match coming up throughout the day.