April Houston started to say it, then paused, then decided to go ahead with a broad assessment of her summer. “It was,” she said, “the best summer of my life.” The 5-11 Houston was a middle blocker for the Minnesota Select 18-1 volleyball team, which became the first Minnesota team to win a national title at the highest level of club volleyball when it took first at the USA Volleyball National Tournament in Milwaukee in late May. Houston has committed to play at Eastern Michigan.

Q: What made your summer special?

A: Just playing with such a great group of girls. We all worked so well together, had such great chemistry. We were always smiling, always best friends. It felt so good playing with that team.

Q: Is there one specific moment that stands out?

A: The semifinals [of the USA Nationals], playing the Arizona Storm. They had won the nationals two years in a row, and everybody was talking about them repeating. It just all came together for us. We were playing our hearts out, with such poise and intensity. We felt like no matter what, it was our time. It was meant to be.

Q: How much fun was it to represent Minnesota?

A: I love saying that we’re from Minnesota. I say it proudly, with a smile on my face.

Q: Why Eastern Michigan?

A: It felt like home. From the first time I got there, I felt like I belonged there.

Q: Will it be tough to go from playing with an elite-level team to a high school team?

A: No! I love playing high school. It’s chance to show leadership and have fun playing with the friends you go to school with.

JIM PAULSEN