PITTSBURGH — Dana Rettke ran a hitting and blocking clinic on Baylor on Thursday night and Wisconsin is back in the last match of the NCAA volleyball season for the first time since 2013.

The junior middle blocker had 19 kills — including the match winner on an overpass — hit .484, and had eight blocks, three aces, and two digs as she almost single-handedly demolished Baylor in the end of sets three and four as the Badgers won 25-27, 25-21, 25-17, 25-19.

Wisconsin will play defending-champion Stanford in Saturday’s championship match.

“Those are pretty nice numbers for a middle, .484, 19 kills, eight blocks,” Wisconsin coach Kelly Sheffield said. “And then she got three aces, got some service. That’s a pretty nice night.”

She wasn’t alone.

Molly Haggerty had 15 kills and hit .414. She didn’t commit her first error until her 21st swing of the match. The junior outside also had nine digs and two blocks.

While Big Ten-champion Wisconsin — which lost to the Bears in September — improved to 27-6, Baylor’s season ended 29-2.

“It was a whale of a volleyball match right there, to be able to be a part of that and to watch two teams and a lot of players just going at it. There was a lot of toughness on the court,” Sheffield said.

“The season Baylor’s had, I’ve got so much respect for him and his staff and all those guys, what they’ve done. What Ryan (McGuyre) has done with that program and that team and the talent that is there and the talent that they still have coming back, it’s unbelievable.

“They put a lot of pressure on you, and it starts with behind the service line. And I thought our fight on our side of the net, starting with our back court, was fantastic. I thought our back court defense was special. I thought our blockers got some really good touches.”

Grace Loberg struggled terribly for the first two sets — at one time, she had three kills and was hitting minus .048 — finished with seven kills including a blast to end the third set. She hit .029, and had an assist, two digs, and three blocks.

Madison Duello, who also struggled early, had five kills, an assist, and three blocks, and Danielle Hart had six kills, hit .417, and had a dig and six blocks. Setter Sydney Hilley had two kills in seven attempts, 43 assists, three aces, seven digs, and four blocks. Tiffany Clark had 18 digs.

“This great atmosphere, like every moment is fun no matter whether you’re losing a point or winning a point,” Wisconsin’s Hilley said. “We did a good job staying loose and having fun. We’re at our best when we’re having fun. I think we did a good job of that.”

Yossiana Pressley was her usual spectacular self for Baylor as the junior outside had 25 kills, but hit .191. Her team hit .183, while Wisconsin hit .267. Pressley, likely to be named the AVCA national player of the year on Friday, added an assist, an ace, and 16 digs.

Shelly Stafford had 10 kills for the Bears, hit .300, and added two assists, four digs, and three blocks.

Marieke van der Mark had eight kills. Hannah Lockin had a kill in 10 attempts, had 44 assists, an ace, seven digs, and four blocks.

“Wisconsin, a fun, competitive match. As the match went on, it was harder for us to get kills, and those for them are coming a little bit easier,” McGuyre said. “But they’re well coached, well trained, and the all-stars for them just made some really, really big plays at some key moments. Rettke from the service line, I thought, was probably the story of the match in disrupting us.”

Wisconsin lost in the national-title match twice, in 2000 and 2013.

Baylor, which tied for the Big 12 title, was in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth year in a row and eighth overall.

Baylor’s Yossiana Pressley attacks against Wisconsin in the first semifinal Thursday/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

History: Since USC won the first NCAA championship in 1981 — the same year Texas was winning the last AIAW title — only 10 schools have won it all.

Especially in the last 15 years when titles have gone only to Stanford (two of the last three years), Nebraska (in 2006, ’15, ’17), Penn State (2007-10, 2013-14), UCLA (2011), Texas (2012), and Washington (2006).

For that matter, the only other teams to win it all are Long Beach State (1989, 1993, ’98), Hawai’i (1982, ’83, ’87), USC (1981, 2001, ’02), and Pacific (1985, ’86).

Stanford has not only won the most titles, it has lost in the championship match the most times, also eight. Penn State has seven titles and finished second three times. Nebraska, which has five titles, has lost in the final match four times. UCLA and Texas also have four runner-up finishes.

Here’s the complete list:

1981 — USC 3, UCLA 2
1982 — Hawai’i 3, USC 2
1983 — Hawai’i 3, UCLA 0
1984 — UCLA 3, Stanford 2
1985 — Pacific 3, Stanford 1
1886 — Pacific 3, Nebraska 0
1987 — Hawai’i 3, Stanford 1
1988 — Texas 3, Hawai’i 0
1989 — Long Beach State 3, Nebraska 0
1990 — UCLA 3, Pacific 0
1991 — UCLA 3, Long Beach State 2
1992 — Stanford 3, UCLA 1
1993 — Long Beach State 3, Penn State 1
1994 — Stanford 3, UCLA 1
1995 — Nebraska 3, Texas 1
1996 — Stanford 3, Hawai’i 0
1997 — Stanford 3, Penn State 2
1998 — Long Beach State 3, Penn State 2
1999 — Penn State 3, Stanford 0
2000 — Nebraska 3, Wisconsin 2
2001 — Stanford 3, Long Beach State 0
2002 — USC 3, Stanford 1
2003 — USC 3, Florida 1
2004 — Stanford 3, Minnesota 0
2005 — Washington 3, Nebraska 0
2006 — Nebraska 3, Stanford 1
2007 — Penn State 3, Stanford 2
2008 — Penn State 3, Stanford 0
2009 — Penn State 3, Texas 2
2010 — Penn State 3, Cal 0
2011 — UCLA 3, Illinois 0
2012 — Texas 3, Oregon 0
2013 — Penn State 3, Wisconsin 1
2014 — Penn State 3, BYU 0
2015 — Nebraska 3, Texas 0
2016 — Stanford 3, Texas 1
2017 — Nebraska 3, Florida 1
2018 — Stanford 3, Nebraska 2


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  1. Minnesota lost in the semifinals in 2015 and Nebraska destroyed Texas to win the championship that year. You say in the article that the Gophers lost to Texas in the finals that year.


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