Not many players around the world have the opportunity to represent their country before they finish studying, but Dana Rettke has certainly capitalized in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League.
It’s not difficult to see why. At 6ft 8in, Rettke is the tallest member of the USA team, and stands four inches taller than anybody on the USA’s VNL squad. As a middle blocker, her size is intimidating to say the least, but her hitting ability should not be underestimated with the second-best percentage in the country (.423).
Kelly Sheffield, Rettke’s head coach at the University of Wisconsin, has spoken to FloVolleyball on the collegiate star’s potential and her development since arriving in Madison.
“I’ve never been around a player that has improved as quickly as Dana has since she started playing the game,” Sheffield revealed.
“It’s quite remarkable how steep her climb has been, and at any step she hasn’t blinked. We kind of talked going into her freshman year here that she was going to redshirt that year, and there she is national freshman of the year, our go-to player for the course of the year, and that didn’t faze her at all.”
— Wisconsin Volleyball (@BadgerVB) December 13, 2017
As a two-time First team All-American, it wasn’t long until USA coach Karch Kiraly came calling with Rettke making her debut for the Stars and Stripes in this season’s VNL.
‘Dream come true’ for Rettke
Rettke described the experience as “awesome”, before she joined up with Sheffield and co for their pre-season tour of Europe.
“I’ve chatted with her quite a bit,” Sheffield said. “She’s having the time of her life. She said it hasn’t been overwhelming whatsoever.
“It’s a dream come true for so many people when they put on the jersey to represent their country at like the youth national team or the junior national team.
“Those are amazing things, but I think when you’re representing the senior national team, obviously that’s next level stuff. You’re pretty proud of your players that are able to fulfill some of those dreams and [for Dana] to be able to do it at her age is certainly pretty cool.”