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Wisconsin Badgers Volleyball: Sarah Franklin Named POY, Four Others Earn Postseason Honors

After a standout 2023 season, the Wisconsin Badgers volleyball program was well represented in the postseason All-Big Ten teams.



Wisconsin Badgers Volleyball
Wisconsin's Izzy Ashburn (left) and Devyn Robinson celebrate a point during the volleyball team's sweep of Indiana at the UW Field House in Madison, Wis. on Sunday Sept. 23, 2023.

The volleyball regular season is over and that means it is time to count up all of the conference awards that Wisconsin Badgers volleyball players won. Per usual, this will not be a quick job as there are multiple UW stars that received recognition from the Big Ten. While four Badgers made the two all-conference teams, we’re going to start by talking about a little award that is given annually to the best player in the Big Ten.

Wisconsin Badgers Volleyball Star Sarah Franklin Named B1G Player of the Year

Sarah Franklin had a monster 2023 season and, predictably, she earned the Big Ten’s highest honor as the Player of the Year. Franklin is the sixth Wisconsin player to win this award and the first since the legendary Dana Rettke took it home back in 2019.

The 6-foot-4 senior outside hitter averaged 4.17 kills per set, which led the Wisconsin Badgers volleyball team and was fifth best in the Big Ten. She routinely collected double digits kills (23 of 29 matches this year) and was also a force to be reckoned with elsewhere on the court.


The well-rounded Franklin chipped in 2.02 digs per set, 0.52 blocks per set, and 0.19 aces per set to contribute to Wisconsin in any and every way possible. She had seven double-doubles on the season and most recently won the AVCA National Player of the Week award in the last week of the season. She was a three-time Big Ten Player of the Week this year and, obviously, was a unanimous choice for First-Team All-B1G. Franklin also earned First-Team All-B1G honors in 2020 and 2022. While there is still one big trophy that Franklin would like to win, this is certainly a nice feather in her cap as she leads the Badgers toward another Final Four.

Wisconsin Badgers Volleyball Well Represented on All-Big Ten Teams

Joining Franklin on the first team are sophomore middle blocker Carter Booth and junior middle blocker/right side Anna Smrek. After transferring from Minnesota, where she earned First-Team All-B1G as a freshman, Booth continued her dominant play at the net in Madison. Standing at a towering 6-foot-7, Booth was tops in the Big Ten (and fourth nationally) with 1.55 blocks per set.

Booth was also a threat on offense, hammering home 1.77 kills per set and leading the conference (fourth nationally) with a .440 hitting percentage. She slid right into Wisconsin’s lineup this year and helped solidify UW’s defense at the net. Booth has a bright future and should be one of the best players in the nation next season.

Smrek, whose value can be noted by the fact that she missed three matches and Wisconsin lost two of them, broke out in 2023 for UW. She averaged 2.62 kills per set (second on the team) on .399 hitting (third in the B1G, 20th nationally) and also stuffed 1.09 shots per game on defense. Earning a larger role this year, the 6-foot-9 Canadian is a crucial piece of this Wisconsin team and will continue to be next year.

Senior Devyn Robinson earned Second-Team All-Big Ten honors and her classmate MJ Hammill was UW’s representative on the Big Ten Sportsmanship team. This is the third straight year in which Robinson has received postseason honors (First-Team All-B1G in 2021 and 2022) and the 6-foot-2 right-side hitter did it in style. She tied her career-high in kills, with 21, against Arkansas back in August and went on to average 2.58 kills per set. She was also a presence at the net, blocking 0.89 shots per set which is fourth-best on the team.


The No. 3 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, the Badgers have already punched their ticket to the Sweet 16 after wins over Jackson State and Miami (Fla.) this weekend. I’ll have a full recap of those two matches for you in the coming days. UW will face familiar foe Penn State on Thursday in the next round and, potentially, could see Purdue (who beat Wisconsin a few short weeks ago) in the Elite 8.

For those interested, here is the full list of Big Ten awards, which were dominated by conference champion Nebraska.


Player of the Year: Sarah Franklin, Sr., OH, Wisconsin
Defensive Player of the Year: Lexi Rodriguez, Jr., L, Nebraska
Setter of the Year: Bergen Reilly, Fr., Nebraska
Freshman of the Year: Harper Murray, OH, Nebraska
Coach of the Year (Coaches & Media): John Cook, Nebraska


Raina Terry, Sr., OH, Illinois
Taylor Landfair, RS-Jr., OH, Minnesota
Kylie Murr, Gr., L, Minnesota
Harper Murray, Fr., OH, Nebraska
Bergen Reilly, Fr., S, Nebraska
LEXI RODRIGUEZ, Jr., L, Nebraska
Julia Sangiacomo, Sr., OH, Northwestern
EMILY LONDOT, Sr., OH, Ohio State
JESS MRUZIK, Sr., OH, Penn State
Mac Podraza, Gr., S, Penn State
EVA HUDSON, So., OH, Purdue
Raven Colvin, Jr., MB, Purdue
Chloe Chicoine, Fr., OH, Purdue
SARAH FRANKLIN, Sr., OH, Wisconsin
Carter Booth, So., MB, Wisconsin
Anna Smrek, Jr., OPP, Wisconsin


Ramsey Gary, Fr., L, Indiana
Kaley Rammelsberg, Gr., MB, Indiana
Amani McArthur, Gr., MB, Michigan State
Taylah Holdem, Fr., OH, Michigan State
Melani Shaffmaster, Sr., S, Minnesota
Lydia Grote, Jr., OPP, Minnesota
Andi Jackson, Fr., MB, Nebraska
Bekka Allick, So., MB, Nebraska
Rylee Rader, Sr., MB, Ohio State
Camryn Hannah, Sr., OH, Penn State
Maddie Schermerhorn, Gr., L, Purdue
Alissa Kinkela, RS-So., OH, Rutgers
Devyn Robinson, Sr., OPP, Wisconsin


Taylah Holdem, OH, Michigan State
Andi Jackson, MB, Nebraska
Taylor Anderson, S, Purdue


Kennedy Collins, Gr., MB, Illinois
Candela Alonso-Corcelles, So., OH, Indiana
Bailey Ortega, Sr., S, Iowa
Zoe Huang, Jr., S, Maryland
Brooke Humphrey, Sr., DS/L, Michigan
Lydia Grote, Jr., OPP, Minnesota
Julia Bishop, Jr., S, Michigan State
Maggie Mendelson, So., MB, Nebraska
Natalie Chizzo, Sr., OH, Northwestern
Sarah Sue Morbitzer, Sr., DS, Ohio State
Macy Van Den Elzen, Sr., OPP, Penn State
Lizzie Carr, R-Fr., MB, Purdue
Kristina Grkovic, Sr., MB, Rutgers
MJ Hammill, Sr., S, Wisconsin

 ALL CAPS indicates unanimous selections

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Drew Hamm is a seasoned sports journalist with an extensive background in covering the Wisconsin Badgers. He has previously held positions as the site manager at Bucky's 5th Quarter and founder of Badgers Ball Knower. Currently, he contributes as a staff writer for