Aug. 1, 2011
As the Gophers get ready for the season, gophersports.com sits down with freshman setter Kellie McNeil. The Lakeville, Minn., native graduated early from high school and competed with the Gophers in the spring campaign. Here's McNeil's bio as well as a short question and answer session.
2011 FRESHMAN SEASON:
Graduated early from Lakeville North High School and competed in 2011 spring volleyball season.
Helped her team to a fifth-place finish in the AAU Nationals in the summer of 2010 and was named an AAU All-American received "2009 Best Setter" honors at the National Junior Classic in Chicago named the Most Outstanding 16 and under setter at the Prepvolleyball.com Classic in 2009 was the Most Outstanding 15 and under player at the 2008 Prepvolleyball.com Classic was also a member of the M-1 Club program 2008 US Junior Olympic Championship, 10th-place open division.
Named Minnesota's Gatorade Player of the Year, which is given to Minnesota's base high school volleyball player as a senior, led Lakeville North to a 31-1 record and the Class AAA state title recorded 1,172 assists, 203 digs, 147 blocks, 132 kills and 66 service aces while averaging 13.1 assists per game named the 2010 Ms. Baden-Minnesota Volleyball Player of the Year 2010 Minneapolis Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year earned first-team all-state in 2010, second-team in 2009 and honorable mention in 2008 2009 Pioneer Press All State Team selection four-time all-conference honoree 2007 AAA MSHSL State Tournament third-place finish named KARE-11 Athlete of the Week ranked as the nation's No. 8 player and No. 1 setter as rated by PrepVolleyball.com graduated Lakeville North with a 3.82 grade point average.
Born on July 22, 1993 daughter of Mark and Michele McNeil undecided on a major.
Gophersports.com: You finished a pretty successful high school career. What were some of the best moments during that time?
Kellie McNeil: Definitely winning the state championship my senior year. We had so much momentum and really felt unstoppable. I was so glad that my sister, Taylr, and I could share the moment together!
GS: How did you know that Minnesota was the best "fit" for you?
KM: Everybody wants that perfect college fit. There was something about the U of M that made my decision easier. The coaches were very nice and welcoming and the facilities made me feel like I was destined to be here.
GS: You graduated high school early. How did you come to the conclusion to leave high school and come to Minnesota?
KM: One of the players jokingly said I should graduate early! So I thought about it and realized it was a great choice. I had already taken enough credits to graduate high school early, and realized it would be nice to know the campus and how things work around here. To this day, I do not regret my choice at all!
GS: With competing in the spring season, how did the season go and how much did you gain from it?
KM: The season went very well. We learned a lot and succeeded in all our tournaments. I gained so much knowledge for the game from my coaches, teammates, and playing/watching the game itself.
GS: Do you feel that by doing that, this fall won't be as big of a transition for you?
KM: Yes, I believe coming early helped me in the transition but there are always new things I will come across.
GS: Academically, any idea of what you'd like to major in here?
KM: I have not decided yet, but I am hoping to know sometime this year.
GS: What are you most excited for once the fall season is here?
KM: Just being in the Sports Pavilion and playing in front of our home crowd. The atmosphere is awesome and I can't wait to be in the middle of it! It will be a great feeling!