Wisconsin tops Louisville to reach NCAA volleyball final

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Freshman Anna Smrek recorded her 20th kill on match point and No. 4 Wisconsin beat top-seeded and previously unbeaten Louisville 25-23, 15-25, 25-21, 23-25, 15-9 in the NCAA women’s volleyball semifinals.

Wisconsin, playing in its third straight semifinal, advances to its fourth championship match on Saturday. The Badgers lost to Nebraska in 2000, Penn State in 2013 and Stanford in 2019.

The size and experience of Wisconsin was too much for Louisville in its first semifinal appearance. Smrek, at 6-foot-9, posted a season-high in kills at a .741 clip — with just one error. Fellow big, and Wisconsin’s star senior, Dana Rettke added 14 kills with eight blocks and Grace Loberg had 13 kills.