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Wisconsin volleyball: former Spartans star Sarah Franklin transfers to UW

The 6-foot-4 outside hitter was a First Team All-Big Ten honoree last season.

MSU Athletics

The defending champion Wisconsin Badgers added another piece to the attacking puzzle via the transfer portal, adding former Michigan State first team All-Big Ten outside hitter Sarah Franklin.

The 6-foot-4 Lake Worth, Fla. native was Michigan State’s best attacking player last year, firing home 3.96 kills per set to lead the Spartans. Defensively, Franklin added 2.25 digs per set and had 59 blocks on the season, third best for MSU.

Franklin started the first few games for the Spartans as a true freshman during the spring 2021 season before going down with an injury. In her second season, she earned all conference honors. Franklin’s mother, Michelle, was a setter at Virginia, so volleyball is clearly in her blood.

Franklin will have three years of eligibility for the Badgers and jumps from a team in the lower tier of the Big Ten to one that just won the national championship — a similar move to Joslyn Boyer, who was Iowa’s libero before transferring to Wisconsin ahead of last season.

The Badgers have added three quality players up front through the transfer portal after losing stalwarts Dana Rettke and Grace Loberg to graduation. Franklin joins former Kansas middle blocker Caroline Crawford and former Boston College middle blocker Gabby McCaa this year. Those three — along with class of 2022 signees Ella Wrobel and Gülce Güçtekin — will look to fill some big shoes from all of the departures.

Franklin will add to a stacked front row of Julia Orzoł, Anna Smrek and Devyn Robinson that will likely re-add veteran Danielle Hart if she can recover from her ACL injury that she suffered last season.

As Wisconsin looks to defend their title, the Badgers added a star Big Ten player who may be hungry to be a part of a title challenge. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out, but it gives head coach Kelly Sheffield yet another chess piece to add to his board.