Alyssa Goehner, volleyball

Alyssa Goehner spent years at the forefront of Minnesota high school volleyball. She led Lakeville North to a pair of state titles and earned back-to-back national player of the year honors.

And then the state nearly lost this special talent. Goehner committed to Marquette early and signed a letter of intent in 2013. Three months later, Marquette’s coach left and Minnesota got a second chance.

“Given a chance to play volleyball for the former Olympic coach and play with my best friends sealed the deal,” Goehner said. “It’s a phenomenal program, and I am very lucky to be a part of it.”

Gophers coach Hugh McCutcheon has already seen the benefits of the highly touted freshman. “The immediate value she adds is in terms of the intangibles and [as a] competitor. She is composed in the heat of battle,” he said. “She’s one of those athletes that wants to be at her best when the best is needed.”

Goehner’s ability to “hit the crud out of the ball” is also worth raving about, teammate Adrianna Nora said. The 6-foot-3 senior admitted she has a tough time blocking the freshman’s hard hitting. Bad news for practice, but great news for this young Gophers squad.