Image credit: NCAA.com

 

Stanford 3 | Wisconsin 0

Molly Haggarty tried to pull a Michael Jordan, playing in a game with a virus, but that was only the start of the issues for Wisconsin. The Badgers’ spectacular digs (one where Sydney Hilley tried to pancake a ball but barely missed) weren’t enough to save them from the Cardinal’s dominance.

Stanford’s star outside hitter Kathryn Plummer plans to go pro, and her teammates back her up with their attacking style.

The Game

Stanford dominated from beginning to end like they did against Minnesota in the national semi-finals. Sydney Hilley was able to get the first block of the game for Wisconsin, even with her injured thumb. The Badgers were 1/5 on blocks late in the second set. By the end of the game, the hit percentage was .160 for Wisconsin. This was surprising – the Badgers are great and transition and have a solid Libero.

Haggerty is the Badgers’ security blanket – she had 22 swings early in the third set. Molly is a solid attacker and you can always expect there’s a good chance that ball is killed when it passes the net. But sometimes things don’t go your way – and losing your star player to a virus the day of the game is one of them.

Wisconsin led in service errors 9-6 late in the third set. A heavy hitter with a quick arm, Kathryn Plummer was lethally dominant in her attacks and digs. Plummer had already registered her 18th kill for the match by late in the third set. A lot of Stanford’s digs confused the Badgers, and their Libero wasn’t able to answer Plummer’s kill shots. The rallies were short, but hard-fought.

Star Recap

We can never discount Haggerty. At one point, she was told to medically retire. She didn’t agree, decided to rehab, and has played like a senior, despite only being a junior and sitting out her sophomore year.

Another notable mention is Dana Rettke, who has a dynamite swing. She’s the tallest girl in Wisconsin athletics history. At 6”8’, Rettke always steps up to the plate with her keen eye and hard hit. She’s hitting at over .400 for the season, and in the top 10 hitters list.

Can I get an “amen” for Madeline Gates? She’s been the model of efficiency, only making one error in the entire tournament.

Next Year

I don’t see Stanford as a national championship finalist next year. I’m not sure who I see as a finalist, but Wisconsin, led by Molly Haggerty, will surely be in the mix.