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Continued: Northern Lights shoots for the moon of national volleyball titles

  • Article by: JIM PAULSEN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 26, 2013 - 12:53 AM

With such differing backgrounds and schools, such “teaminess” is remarkable. It’s also not quite as organic as the players would like to believe.

“It’s taken a little bit of work,” said Beamer, a 30-year volleyball coach and player who has seen firsthand how conflict and selfishness can whittle away at high hopes.

“We stressed bonding from day one,” he said. “We talked about getting things out in the open and supporting each other. Last year, we had a long talk about it and since then, everything has been great.”

While Northern Lights has been clearly been among the best teams in the nation for two years — “People know who we are,” Wilhite said — the task ahead is tougher than it was a year ago. To win the titles they’re shooting for, they’ll likely have to beat two archrivals on their home courts: Orlando Amateur Volleyball in the AAU tournament and Texas Amateur Volleyball in Dallas. Seeing the difficult road ahead, Beamer spoke realistically.

“There are some really good, athletic teams. We can’t make mistakes and expect to win,” he said. “But the best part of this team is that no one gets down on each other. They’re all pulling for each other. That makes a huge difference.”

Win or lose, team members are aware of their place in Minnesota volleyball history. They are also aware that this will be their last time playing together. Seven of them are headed off to college (Goehner and Seliger Swenson are still in high school), ready to take the next step in their volleyball careers.

“I’m excited to see what I can do in college,” said Wilhite, who will share a dorm room at Minnesota with the Tapp sisters. “But I’ll never forget this team. They aren’t just friends. Their like sisters.”

 

  • related content

  • Chart: Get to know the Northern Lights 18-1 volleyball team

    Wednesday June 26, 2013

    A look at the Northern Lights 18-1 roster:Alyssa GoehnerSchool: Lakeville NorthGraduation year: 2014Position: Outside hitterHeight: 5-10College: Marquette

  • Paige Tapp, center right, and Nora Reed, center left, combined for a double block during a Northern Lights 18-1 practice. The unusually close team of elite players will compete for an AAU national title this week.

  • Tegan LaBerge of Maple Grove, a newcomer to the Northern Lights 18-1 team, has helped the squad compile a 62-3 record this spring.

  • Coach Adam Beamer gathered the Northern Lights 18-1 volleyball team at the end of practice. “We are all so supportive of each other,” outside hitter Sarah Wilhite said. “That helps so much.”

  • Northern lights

    A look at the Northern Lights 18-1 roster:

    Alyssa Goehner

    School: Lakeville North

    Graduation year: 2014

    Position: Outside hitter

    Height: 5-10

    College: Marquette

    Katherine Hawkins

    School: Blaine

    Graduation year: 2013

    Position: Defensive specialist

    Height: 5-9

    College: Colorado

    Lauren Houg

    School: Wayzata

    Graduation year: 2013

    Position: Libero

    Height: 5-8

    College: Marquette

    Tegan LaBerge

    School: Maple Grove

    Graduation year: 2013

    Position: Right-side hitter

    Height: 6-1

    College: Drake

    Nora Reed

    School: Hopkins

    Graduation year: 2013

    Position: Middle blocker

    Height: 6-1

    College: Drake

    Samantha Seliger Swenson

    School: Hopkins

    Graduation year: 2015

    Position: Setter

    Height: 6-0

    College: Minnesota

    Hannah Tapp

    School: Stewartville

    Graduation year: 2013

    Position: Middle blocker

    Height: 6-3

    College: Minnesota

    Paige Tapp

    School: Stewartville

    Graduation year: 2013

    Position: Middle blocker

    Height: 6-2

    College: Minnesota

    Sarah Wilhite

    School: Eden Prairie

    Graduation year: 2013

    Position: Outside hitter

    Height: 6-1

    College: Minnesota

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