Over the past decade, the quality of high school volleyball in Minnesota has risen in the eyes of colleges nationwide. Look no further than this summer’s U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, in which five locals who also played at the University of Minnesota were rostered: Lauren Gibbemeyer of Cretin-Derham Hall, Tori Dixon of Burnsville, Hannah and Paige Tapp of Stewartville, and Eden Prairie’s Sarah Wilhite, who was the cover girl for the 2012 Breakdown Sports guidebook to Minnesota high school volleyball. The quintet was the largest contingent from any school in the country — and all were native Minnesotans.
Most of the top players in the state begin their ascent in one of the top Junior Olympic programs such as Northern Lights, Minnesota One (M1), and Minnesota Select. Those three clubs have been well-represented in national JO tournaments, winning titles. At the college level, tPrior Lake’s CC McGraw earned a spot on the Prep Dig Minnesota Preseason All-State first team.
he University of Minnesota finished last year ranked No. 4 in the nation and qualified for its second straight Final Four.
At the D2 level, Concordia-St. Paul won its eighth national title since 2007 and had four AVCA All-Americans, three from Minnesota: Nevis’ Riley Hanson, The Breakdown’s 2011 high school postseason Player of the Year, and NRHEG’s Anna Schlaak on the first team, and Caledonia’s Emma Lange on the second team. Southwest Minnesota State (No. 2), Winona State (No. 4), and Minnesota-Duluth (No. 7) rounded the Minnesota schools in the top-10 of the AVCA national rankings. At the D3 level, three Minnesota-based colleges (Northwestern, St. Thomas, and Gustavus Adolphus) all received votes in the final national poll, powered mainly by local athletes.
Long an afterthought on the national scene, the state has become one of the hottest recruiting grounds around. Below is PrepDig Minnesota’s preseason look at the best the state has to offer this fall. Remember, however, that these preseason All-State teams don’t necessarily reflect college prospects, but instead are based on the level of contributions the players are expected to make to their high school programs — and how far they can carry them.
All-Minnesota 1st team
- OH—McKenna Melville, sr., Eagan
- OH—Linsey Rachel, sr., Maple Lake
- OH— Grace Persson, sr., Eden Prairie
- OH—Kyndra Hansen, jr., Mahtomedi
- MH—Kayla Bair, sr., Prior Lake
- MH—Porsha Porath, sr., Windom Area
- RH—Meg Schmidt, sr., Jordan
- S—Kennedi Orr, fr., Eagan
- S—Eleanor Holthaus, sr., Rocori
- LI—CC McGraw, sr., Prior Lake
All-Minnesota 2nd team
- OH—Sydney Lanoue, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton
- OH—Casey Volkmann, sr., Wadena-Deer Creek
- OH—Lauren Clark, jr.., Robbinsdale Armstrong
- MH—Lexi Ahrens, sr., Virginia
- MH—Blythe Rients, jr., St. Paul Academy
- RH—Amber Klug, sr., Maple Lake
- S—Tara Lee, sr., Hopkins
- S—Syd Case, jr., Lakeville South
- S—Madison Hucky, sr., Mayer Lutheran
- LI—Ella Ratzloff, sr., East Ridge
All-Minnesota 3rd team
- OH—Brenna Tinjum, Underwood
- OH—Rachel Kilkelly, jr., Shakopee
- OH—Marissa Hinkle, jr., Rosemount
- OH—Camden Schank, sr., Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted
- OH—Meredith Sutton, sr., Cook County
- MH—Mary Campbell, sr., Bethlehem Academy
- RH—Ellie Koontz, sr., Holy Angels
- S—Esther Grussing, sr., Willmar
- S—Karly Fehr, sr., Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta
- LI—Adrianna Baab, sr., Wabasha-Kellogg