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Wisconsin volleyball wins first national championship in five-set thriller

(Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Wisconsin volleyball won the program’s first-ever NCAA Championship on Saturday night, downing Nebraska 3-2 in a comeback victory.

After dropping the first set, the Badgers climbed their way back into the match, forcing an epic fifth set to decide the title.

AVCA National Player of the Year Dana Rettke led No. 4 Wisconsin with 11 kills and 13 blocks, while freshman Anna Smrek notched 14 kills on a .429 hitting average. Wisconsin recorded 24 blocks as a team, the most ever in a national championship match.

No. 10 Nebraska didn’t make it easy for the Badgers, posting 91 digs to keep the team in the game until the final point.

Wisconsin’s win comes after three losses in the championship final, with the team most recently falling to Stanford in 2019. Rettke, the first player in program history to win Player of the Year, will move on to the Athletes Unlimited pro league after ending her storied career with a national title.