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Wisconsin Athletics | December 17, 2021

Wisconsin's Dana Rettke named AVCA National Player of the Year

Wisconsin volleyball takes down undefeated Louisville, advances to championship

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Badger fans can now call Dana Rettke the greatest of all time as the graduate student was named the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National Player of the Year on Friday.

From being the first UW volleyball player to be named National Freshman of the Year in 2017 to becoming the first Badger to be named the 2021 National Player of the Year, Rettke has cemented her place in Wisconsin annals.

From the time the 6-foot-8 middle blocker stepped on the UW campus, Rettke drew the attention of Badger fans everywhere – not only for her height but for her prowess on the court. She was a unanimous selection as the national freshman of the year and also became the first UW freshman to earn first-team All-America honors.

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Rettke was also named AVCA Northeast Regional Freshman of the Year, Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Year and first-team All-Big Ten. She was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week a conference record nine times and was a two-time Big Ten Player of the Week.  

The Riverside, Illinois, native made her first appearance on a U.S. National team when she was a member of the 2018 Women's Collegiate National Team China Tour. On the UW Field House court, Rettke continued her dominating play as a sophomore, repeating as a first-team All-American and All-Big Ten selection.

Prior to the 2019 season, Rettke trained and competed with the U.S. National Team, earning gold at the Volleyball Nations League tournament and helping the U.S. qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Back in the Cardinal and White, Rettke became just the second three-time first-team All-American at Wisconsin, and was named the Big Ten Player of the Year and AVCA Northeast Regional Player of the Year. She was also named the 2019-20 Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year.

As a senior, Rettke joined an elite club of just six players to earn four first-team All-America awards. She also repeated as the AVCA Northeast Regional Player of the Year and first-team All-Big Ten.

Deciding to return for a fifth season due to COVID-19, Rettke became the first five-time first-team AVCA All-American and one of just two five-time first-team All-Big Ten honorees.

IT'S TIME: Check out our full preview of the national championship between Wisconsin and Nebraska 

Rettke played for her team, guiding the Badgers to three consecutive Big Ten championships and five NCAA tournament appearances, advancing to the Sweet 16 in 2017, the Elite Eight in 2018, the championship match in 2019 and 2021, and the final four in 2020.

In the UW record book, Rettke set UW career records for hitting percentage (.423), total blocks (738) and points (2,314). She also ranks second in kills with 1,810.

Rettke and the Badgers compete for the 2021 NCAA Championship on Saturday when take on Nebraska at 6:30 p.m. CT from Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The match airs live on ESPN2.

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