A big blow for the Wisconsin Badgers volleyball team was announced on Thursday night, as Dennis Punzel reported that senior middle blocker Danielle Hart will be out for the season after tearing her ACL during a practice Tuesday.
Bad news for @BadgerVB as redshirt senior @danielllehart has season ended by torn ACL in right leg. "You’re heartbroken for the kid," said @KellyPSheffield . She’s been playing awfully well. She’s a big part of what we’re trying to do." Full story to come.— Dennis Punzel (@DennisPunzel) September 17, 2021
“You’re heartbroken for the kid,” head coach Kelly Sheffield said to Madison.com. “She’s been playing awfully well. She’s a big part of what we’re trying to do. The kid has improved so much throughout her career and has gotten to the point where she has made an impact out on the court.”
Hart was developing into a crucial part of the Badgers’ rotation this season, and formed a real solid duo with fellow middle blocker and four-time All-American Dana Rettke. The senior from Virginia Beach, Va. averaged 2.32 kills per set and hit .427 percent and led the team in blocks and blocks per set.
6-foot-9 freshman Anna Smrek will be the likely replacement in Hart’s spot. The Canadian has already seen some game time this year, appearing in three sets. She posted four kills in one of the Badgers’ games against Dayton, and will obviously be a big body in the middle. Sophomore Devyn Robinson also played some middle blocker in the past, so she might see time there as well.
Hart was planning on leaving Wisconsin this year with the senior class, but she does have an extra year of eligibility. In an Instagram post, Hart said this was “not the end of her career at Wisconsin volleyball” and hopes to get back to the team next year.
We wish Hart the best in her recovery.