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Thursday, May 23, 2024
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The Daily Cardinal’s Wisconsin women’s sports 2023-24 awards

It’s awards season for the Badger women’s sports, who showed out again this year.

It was another successful season for Wisconsin women’s athletics. There were Final Fours, a championship game appearance, and some exceptional individual performances. Now, it’s time to hand out the year-concluding superlatives.

MVP: Sarah Franklin, volleyball

Sarah Franklin was truly dominant in helping lead the Wisconsin volleyball team back to the Final Four. She registered a staggering 486 kills this season and finished with a .300 hitting percentage. Her high mark was a phenomenal performance against Purdue in November, where she finished the match with 28 kills. 

Franklin was a force all season and was later named both the Big Ten and the AVCA Player of the Year, so it would seem wrong for her not to be the MVP of this women’s sports season. 

Transfer of the Year: Carter Booth, volleyball

This could have also gone to her teammate Temi Thomas-Ailara, but Carter Booth was an integral part of the Badgers’ defense this season. Standing tall at 6’7,” Booth was a menace in the middle, blocking anything that came her way. She led the Big Ten and was fourth in the NCAA with 1.56 blocks per set, eventually earning herself a spot on the First Team All-Big Ten and Third-Team AVCA All-American. 

Breakout Player of the Year: Kirsten Simms, hockey

Given the impressive year she had, Kirsten Simms made a case for MVP alongside Franklin. Simms, a sophomore, broke out this year, leading all of women’s hockey with 75 points and tying for an NCAA-best 33 goals in the 2023-24 season. Simms was named the WCHA Player of the Year and was a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award, which is given to the best player in women’s collegiate hockey.  

Coach of the Year: Paula Wilkins, soccer

Head coach Paula Wilkins is a hidden gem on campus who led the Badgers women’s soccer team to another strong outing in her 17th season in charge. She has a lot of competition with Mark Johnson and Kelly Sheffield, but Wilkins gets the nod this year. Wisconsin finished 14-5-4 with a 7-2-1 record in the Big Ten, and she led the team to both the Big Ten Championship Game and the NCAA Tournament. Their season ended with a 2-1 loss to Texas in the second round, but it was nonetheless a strong season under Wilkins. 

Game of the Year: Volleyball 3-1 win over Oregon

This game takes the cake because it gave the Badgers a spot in the Final Four. Oregon was a very strong team, coming into the Wisconsin Field House with 29 wins. Wisconsin earned a victory in four sets, but the first two were decided by three points each, and the third set, won by Oregon, required extra volleyball to settle the tie score. Wisconsin prevailed in the fourth set to advance to the Final Four and sent the home crowd into a frenzy. 

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Team of the Year: Hockey

Mark Johnson’s team is the most consistent program on campus and delivered once again in 2023 as Wisconsin finished 35-6 and earned a 23-5 record in the WCHA. The Badgers won the WCHA Final Faceoff to make it back to the National Championship game. They lost 1-0 to Ohio State, but it was another very successful year for the women’s hockey team. 

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