Hilley Set To Replace Carlini - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Hilley Set To Replace Carlini

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MADISON (WKOW) -

The Wisconsin volleyball team kicks off the season August 25th-26th, hosting the Big Ten-ACC Challenge at the Field House.  The Badgers will take the court with a new setter, freshman Sydney Hilley, who is taking over for one of the best in Badger history.

Hilley gets the honor of trying to replace Lauren Carlini, the first four-time All-American in Wisconsin volleyball history.  Hilley says that she learned from the best.
 
"Obviously Lauren Carlini is so good and I was so fortunate enough to be able to come and practice with her this spring," said Carlini.  "I got to watch her do her thing and I've just been studying her.  Every game that I came to I would sit and watch her and I think I've just learned so much from her and I look up to her."

Hilley is a stud in her own right - a two-time Minnesota Gatorade Player of the Year, ranked third in the nation coming out of high school, and a captain of the 2016 Junior National team.

"I asked her the other day, 'Are you more confident now or when you came in?'," said Wisconsin volleyball coach Kelly Sheffield.  "She said 'I'm way more confident right now.'  Usually [for] most freshmen it's such a shock - the level and the size [of play].  That has not been the case at all with Syd.  She's like 'Oh yeah I feel more confident right now than I ever have in my entire life.'  I think a big part of that was her getting here in the spring."

"I think coming [to Madison] early with two other girls was what helped me the most," said Hilley.  "I couldn't even imagine what the other four freshmen are going through right now.  But yeah, we have such a big class and we're all pretty close, so it's fun."

Wisconsin is ranked 7th in the nation in the pre-season AVCA coaches poll.  But does having a freshman-sophomore majority - with just four upperclassmen on the squad - give added pressure on the Badgers to succeed right away?

"There's definitely pressure but I think more than anything, it's just motivation for all of us," said Hilley.  "We don't want to see the program take a dip from last year.  We want to maintain that high standard."

Wisconsin will face Louisville on Friday night at 7:30pm.

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