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Wisconsin volleyball: Badgers add libero Gülce Güçtekin to class of 2022

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The 5-foot-5 libero from Turkey comes to the UW program with a ton of international experience.

2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship
Head coach Kelly Sheffield mines Europe for another recruit.
Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The defending champion Wisconsin Badgers volleyball team added another piece to their 2022 recruiting class with an international flair. The program announced Friday the addition of 5-foot-5 libero Gülce Güçtekin (pronounced GOOL-chay GOOCH-teh-kin) to their 2022 recruiting class, adding a player with deep international experience to their back row with the libero shirt potentially open.

Güçtekin is from Istanbul, Turkey has played five years for the Turkish Youth National Team, and was considered the best libero in Europe for the 2022 class.

Güçtekin was named Best Libero at the 2020 U19 European Championship as Turkey won the gold medal, and she also picked up Best Libero honors in the 2019 U17 Balkan Championship and 2018 U19 Balkan Championships.

Güçtekin competed with Fenerbahce Sport Club from 2013-21 — as well as playing volleyball at Kadikoy Private Atacan High School — and is currently playing for Sariyer Volleyball Club.

Watching her highlights, it’s immediately clear Güçtekin is an impressive defensive player. She makes a lot of incredible digs from all types of shots, looks really good in serve receive and plays with a high amount of passion as well. There were also a couple instances where she showed off range as a passer, not just her skill in keeping the ball off the floor.

Head coach Kelly Sheffield — in an excellent write up from Dennis Punzel of the Wisconsin State Journal — said it took halfway through one of her highlight reels for him to want to recruit Güçtekin to the Badgers.

“I am really excited to have Gulce join us,” Sheffield said. “She is an exceptional talent and has been trained very well. She also has played against a very high level of competition and the experience that she will be coming in here with is unique. Her defensive range is special and she has great touch and feel on the ball.”

Güçtekin will add to a back row that loses incredible libero Lauren Barnes and defensive specialist Gio Civita. She’ll likely be competing with junior Joslyn Boyer, sophomore Sydney Reed, senior Anna MacDonald and sophomore Liz Gregorski for time in the back row, and could maybe even stake a claim for the libero jersey.

Güçtekin joins 6-foot-4 outside hitter Ella Wrobel as the Badgers’ second member of the class of 2022. Middle blocker Caroline Crawford also joined UW as a transfer from Kansas.