Stephanie Samedy was terrific over two matches at Purdue last weekend, and the senior hitter had to be that for the Gophers to get a sweep in a pair of five-setters.
On Friday, she had 28 kills and 26 digs, Gophers numbers that had not been reached in combination since Katherine Harms was hammering Washington in an NCAA second-rounder in 2011.
The immediate reward for Samedy was to return to the Twin Cities and enjoy a Sunday when the temperature overnight would reach 15-below. Back in her hometown of Clermont, Fla., it was in the 80s.
"You're probably used to the cold by now," a reporter said Wednesday in a phone conversation.
The two-time Bright House Breakfast of Champions Girls Volleyball Player of the Year for Central Florida responded:
"That's hard to get used to. You just have to accept it."
There was more satisfaction with the reward that came on Wednesday:
Samedy was selected as the National Player of the Week. The honor came in the Gophers' third week of this abbreviated, delayed season, and for the third time in Samedy's career.
The honors have been constant for Samedy since she arrived here in 2017 as the nation's No. 5-rated recruit. Those include first-team All-America plaques in 2017 and 2018 and a second-teamer in 2019,
Samantha Seliger-Swenson was the Gophers' All-America setter in Samedy's first two seasons.
"At first, she was quiet; not reserved, but far from the loudest," Seliger-Swenson said. "That was away from the court. On the court, she was a boss from the get-go.
"Less than one workout, those of us that had been in the program we're all thinking the same thing: 'She's going to be special.' "
Samedy was asked about the influence of seniors such as Molly Lohman and Dalianliz Rosada, and Seliger-Swenson as a junior, when she started as a Gopher.
"The program is about volleyball and about life," Samedy said. "The juniors and seniors helped me adapt in both of those. Four years later, I'm trying to share as much as I can with our freshmen."
Setter Melani Shaffmaster and hitters Jenna Wenaas and Taylor Landfair made up the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. They had to wait five months through the pandemic for a college match.
The 6-3 Shaffmaster is the full-time setter. Up front, where the Gophers are loaded, Landfair is playing quite a bit and Wenaas not a lot.
Seliger-Swenson and teammates in 2017 would learn soon enough that the quiet Samedy was "fun, witty, and worked extremely hard, everything you want in a teammate."
Fifteen below or not, Samedy said Wednesday: "I wouldn't trade my volleyball experience here for anything in the world," which is about as helpful of a message that a senior leader could pass along to highly regarded freshmen.
What volleyball has become at Minnesota, first with Mike Hebert and since 2012 with Hugh McCutcheon, can be seen well beyond Samedy fulfilling all her potential — many wins, many honors, and an upcoming degree in psychology.
The legacy that has been created with Minnesota volleyball will be on display in Dallas, not far from the Cotton Bowl, over the next several weeks.
Athletes Unlimited Volleyball is a pro league for women's players in the U.S. The organization is bringing 44 players — former college stars, some coming home from international play — to Dallas.
Lohman, the senior from Samedy's freshman year, signed up early and started lobbying with ex-Gophers such as Seliger-Swenson. There are now eight Gophers ready to participate, including Lauren Gibbemeyer, a 2010 graduate who predates McCutcheon at Minnesota.
"Lauren isn't here yet, but we expect her in a day or two," Seliger-Swenson said from Dallas. "There's not a person who loves playing volleyball more than Lauren. She's fierce."
Lohman, Seliger-Swenson, Gibbemeyer, Rosado, Tori Dixon, Taylor Morgan, Paige Tapp and Erica Handley are the ex-Gophers. The players will be drafted into four 11-player squads every week and play three matches at the renovated Fair Park Arena.
Seliger-Swenson might look in the mirror for a Gibbemeyer comparison. She was married last year to Eric Loeppky, a standout Canadian national player now with Ravenna, in Italy's SuperLiga, the best pro volleyball league in the world.
"Ravenna is on the Adriatic," Samantha said. "Our place is a two-minute walk to the beach. It's heaven there."
And then volleyball beckoned, as always.
"I was going to play in Poland, but Molly called me about this league, and it sounded great, so here I am in Dallas, watching Eric's games and the Gophers games on streaming when I can," Seliger-Swenson said.
"Steph … 28 kills, 26 digs. Wow! We're so proud of her."