Although the 2021 National Champion Wisconsin Badgers have every right to rest on their laurels, head coach Kelly Sheffield, instead, added another piece to the program. On Monday night, Sheffield tweeted out “Bingo” which, if you’ve followed him on Twitter before, means that the team has received a commitment. Then the indispensable @CVBTransfers noted that Kansas middle blocker Caroline Crawford was trading in blue for red and coming to Madison.
The Lansing, Kan. native led Kansas in blocks last season and was third on the team in kills. The 6-foot-3 middle blocker put her name in the transfer portal on Saturday, the same day Wisconsin won its first ever national title.
Crawford started all 22 matches as a freshman during the 2020-21 season and earned All-Conference honors and was named to the All-Freshman team in the Big 12. As a sophomore in 2021, she earned All-Big 12 Second Team honors and helped lead the Jayhawks to their third ever Sweet 16 appearance as KU knocked off Oregon and Creighton before falling to the No. 3 Pitt Panthers.
In those tournament games, Crawford put up 12 kills and four blocks against Oregon and nine kills and four blocks against Creighton.
Before heading to Lawrence, Crawford competed for the U.S. Youth National Team, winning the gold medal at the 2018 NORCECA Women’s U18 Continental Championship in Honduras and the gold medal at the 2019 Women’s U18 World Championships in Egypt.
Crawford will have two years of eligibility when she joins the Badgers.
With Danielle Hart coming back for an extra season after her season-ending injury, Wisconsin will have a lot of big blockers up front as well as insurance if God forbid Hart faced a setback in her recovery. Crawford joins a huge front row with Hart, Devyn Robinson and Anna Smrek, who was named Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA tournament.
The Badgers are clearly reloading as they look to defend their title next season.