Athletes Unlimited volleyball will have more than just some Minnesota flair when the competition begins next month in Dallas.
There are seven former Minnesota players lined up to play, including middle blocker Paige Tapp.
Tapp, who is from Stewartville, Minnesota, and spoke to us from her home town, has returned from Poland to prepare to play in America.
After leaving Minnesota after the 2016 season, Tapp played played professionally in Puerto Rico and Germany, competing in the summers with Team USA. Her career highlight, no doubt, was winning the German Championship in 2019 after placing second the year before.
She told us her favorite memory was competing in the 2017 FIVB Grand Prix, and winning two Pan Am Cups in 2017 and 2018.
There are currently nine middle blockers listed in the AU fold and three others — Lauren Gibbenmeyer, Molly Lohman, and Taylor Morgan — are also former Minnesota Gophers. The other five, by the way, are Ali Bastianelli of Illinois, Penn State’s Nia Grant, Molly McCage of Texas, Ohio State’s Taylor Sandbothe, and Lianna Sybeldon, who played at Washington.
There are other former Gophers, too, including libero Dalianliz Rosado and setters Samantha Seliger-Swenson and Erica Handley. And another former Minnesota middle, Tori Dixon, is also expected to compete.
“For many of our athletes their goal was to be successful in their college careers but also have the opportunity to play after they left,” said Minnesota coach Hugh McCutcheon, who was the 2008 USA Olympic men’s coach and the 2012 USA Olympic women’s coach. “It’s great that they have the opportunity to do that at home.
“Many of them have done it abroad, but everyone is excited to compete on U.S. soil during their professional careers.”