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Wisconsin volleyball: news and notes from the past few weeks

The Badgers are going to play a match at the Kohl Center and you’d better be there to make sure it’s a sellout!

Providence v Wisconsin
Good looking spot for a volleyball match, don’t ya think?
Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

There have been a couple of major announcements regarding the defending national champion Wisconsin Badgers volleyball team, as well as some other news and notes, over the past few weeks and we thought it would be nice to have all of that info in one place for you.

First off, the Big Ten is hosting a volleyball media days on August 1 and 2 in Chicago this summer. This will be the first time a conference has done this for volleyball ever! “Big Ten Conference Volleyball Media Days will feature appearances by the head coach and 1-2 student-athletes from all 14 Big Ten Conference volleyball programs,” a brief press release from the conference said. Currently, the Badgers will be appearing in front of the media on the opening day, but we will obviously keep you posted if that changes.

The second piece of news is that Kelly Sheffield has hired a new volunteer assistant coach for the 2022 season. Thomas Robson, who has served as an assistant women’s volleyball coach at Viterbo University the last three seasons, will be joining the staff of the defending national champs this summer.

“We’re excited to add Thomas to our Wisconsin staff for this upcoming season,” said Sheffield. “Having had Thomas work with our summer programs in the past, we’ve been able to see the qualities we value in our program including his work ethic, his willingness to learn, and his ability to connect and communicate with student-athletes. During the interview process this spring, Thomas has shown that coaching is his passion and we are excited to add another talented member to our program.”

Thirdly, Dana Rettke and Lauren Carlini have been starring for Team USA in the preliminary round of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League over the past week. The top-ranked Americans finished the first week at 3-1, sweeping the Dominican Republic, Canada and world No. 2 Brazil before falling to No. 7 Japan in their last match of the week.

They will regroup at their training base in Anaheim, Calif., before traveling to the Philippines for the second round of preliminary play beginning June 15. The finals are in Ankara, Turkey starting on July 13.

Lastly and, no offense to Robson, the Big Ten Conference or Carlini and Rettke, most importantly...the Badgers will be playing a match at the freaking Kohl Center this season!

UW fans have been clamoring for this for years and now it is finally a reality. The Badgers will host the Florida Gators on Friday, Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. CT and will be looking to break any and all collegiate volleyball attendance records. If you don’t have volleyball season tickets, general public sales for this match go on sale August 16. If you do have season tickets, this match is included in your package.

The Badgers were already a part of the largest crowd to watch a college volleyball match this past season when 18,755 crammed into Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio for the national title match between UW and Nebraska. The Huskers and in-state rival Creighton set the regular season attendance record back in 2018 when 14,022 watched the two teams battle it out in a five-set Huskers victory. The Kohl Center seats 17,287 people for basketball, just FYI.

That has the potential to be an extremely fun weekend in Madison as the football team hosts New Mexico State the following day at 2:30 p.m. CT and then the volleyball team has another match on Sunday afternoon against Rhode Island.

Florida finished last season as the No. 15 team in the country after losing to Louisville in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament and should be fielding another highly-ranked squad this coming season.