The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Point/Counterpoint: Who will win the Big Ten volleyball championship?

Sports Reporter Mia Boulton is placing her faith in Wisconsin, while Sports Reporter Chris Meglio is backing Nebraska for the Big Ten volleyball championship.
Ayrton Breckenridge, Lillie Hawker
(Left) Members of the Wisconsin volleyball team celebrate after a volleyball match between Iowa and No. 4 Wisconsin at Xtream Arena on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. The Badgers defeated the Hawkeyes 3-0. (Right) Nebraska team members celebrate after scoring a point during a volleyball game between Iowa and Nebraska at Xtream Arena in Coralville on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022. The Cornhuskers beat the Hawkeyes 3-0.


The University of Nebraska women’s volleyball team has been on a dominant run throughout recent memory. Since finishing first in the Big Ten standings in 2016, the Cornhuskers have finished in the top three of the conference every single year but have yet to capture a conference title since.

Going into the 2023 season, nine of the 14 players listed on the roster have previous collegiate experience. Eight of those players are returners: liberos Maisie Boesiger and Lexi Rodriguez, setter Kennedi Orr, middle hitters Bekka Allick and Maggie Mendelson, and outside hitters Hayden Kubik, Ally Batenhorst, and Lindsay Krause.

The lone transfer for Nebraska is outside hitter Merritt Beason, a 6-foot-4 junior from the University of Florida.

Beason earned All-SEC honors and was a member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Regional squad last season with the Gators.

Despite losing five seniors and one junior from last year’s team, the continuity throughout the roster should be enough to fill in the gaps of lost veterans.

The dominant defense of Nebraska was the main reason for success in 2022. Compared to the rest of the Big Ten, the Cornhuskers finished first in opponent hitting percentage, second in opponent assists, first in opponent kills, fourth in blocks, first in opponent service aces, and first in digs.

Nebraska’s offense was above average, to say the least. In Big Ten statistics, the team finished fifth in points, fifth in hitting percentage, sixth in assists, fourth in kills, and third in opponent blocks.

The Nebraska Cornhuskers will look to extend their dominance in the Big Ten by dethroning the four-time repeating champion Wisconsin Badgers.


Last November, the University of Wisconsin volleyball program clinched their fourth consecutive Big Ten title. The lingering question remains if their championship streak will continue.

The Badgers received a No. 2 national ranking by the American Volleyball Coaches Association in early August, serving as proof the program is back to defend its legacy. Wisconsin is nipping at the heels of the top-ranked Texas Longhorns, last year’s NCAA champions.

Wisconsin redshirt junior outside hitter Sarah Franklin and senior middle blocker Devyn Robinson are poised to lead the team through another historical season.

Last season, Franklin racked up 445.5 points, averaged 3.91 points per match, and charted 400 kills.

Similarly, Robinson had a successful 2022 season, racking up 366 points and averaging 3.24 points per match. She also boasted 304 kills on the year, 21 of which came against Pittsburgh in the NCAA Regional Final.

Not only do the Badgers have strong veterans, but the team is also looking to develop incoming 6-foot-7 transfer and middle blocker Carter Booth. Booth is just a sophomore and already earned First-Team All-Big Ten honors in her prior season with the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

The last piece to the puzzle is a successful head coach, and the Badgers have one in Kelly Sheffield.

Since 2011, Sheffield’s teams have secured one NCAA Championship, four NCAA Final Four appearances, and five Big Ten Conference Championships.

The goal now is for the Badgers to add yet another conference trophy to the case at the end of this upcoming season. This team has the talent. They have the tools. They just need the title.

The Badgers will open Big Ten play against Northwestern on Sept. 22. By the time the conference tournament rolls around in November, this program will have the pieces it needs to defend its title once again.

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About the Contributors
Chris Meglio
Chris Meglio, Sports Reporter
Chris Meglio is a first year student at the University of Iowa studying a double major in sport studies and journalism. He will be working as a sports journalist for The Daily Iowan covering women's volleyball for the fall sports season.
Mia Boulton
Mia Boulton, Sports Reporter
Mia Boulton is a freshman at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism & Mass Communication, as well as exploring a possible double major in Sports Media. She works at the Daily Iowan as a sports reporter. Outside of the Daily Iowan, Mia has been a photographer for her hometown newspaper, The Record.