About a month after Wisconsin fell to Texas in the NCAA final four, bringing their otherwise undefeated (15-0) season to an end, star player Dana Rettke announced she will be returning to the court this fall for one final season as a Badger.
Rettke, a middle blocker, is one of five seniors who will be returning as Badgers, including setter Sydney Hilley, libero Lauren Barnes, outside hitter Grace Loberg and defensive specialist Giorgia Civita. This extra year of eligibility was offered to student-athletes because of last year’s chaotic college sports scene as a result of the pandemic.
Rettke’s Twitter announcement that she will be back on the roster this fall gave Badger fans hope that another dominant season is on the horizon. Although the Badgers only played a shortened 15 game season last spring, they dropped only three sets during the regular season.
The 6-foot-8 middle blocker is a four-time first-team All-American and has helped lead her team to back-to-back semi-final appearances in the NCAA tournament the past two seasons, including a national title loss to Stanford in 2019. Her other accolades include earning the Badger’s highest hitting percentage (.420) in program history and averaging an impressive 1.5 blocks per set in the Spring 2021 season.
Dennis Punzel of the Wisconsin State Journal has reported that Rettke’s decision to return for a fifth season as opposed to beginning her professional volleyball career was not made lightly.
“Navigating this environment was something no one has ever really had to do before and I wanted to make sure I did the best job possible, looking at all my options and deciding what would be best for me,” Rettke said.
Deciding factors included many discussions related to her professional options, the likelihood of a “normal” Fall semester and packed Field House, and a promising shot at securing the first national title in program history.
“This was an opportunity that I didn’t want to miss out on. That’s just kind of where my heart fell, knowing that this is it for college. Pro volleyball can wait a little bit,” Rettke ultimately decided.
Rettke’s decision ensures that a majority of the team’s starters will be returning to the court in just a few months. The Badger’s new and returning talent coupled with Rettke’s leadership should make for an exciting season.