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Meet the 2017 Star Tribune volleyball All-Metro teams

By Jim Paulsen, Star Tribune, 11/06/17, 5:15PM CST


See the players named to this year's first, second and third teams.

Star Tribune's All-Metro first team (L to R) Elizabeth Juhnke, Lakeville North; CC McGraw, Prior Lake; Kennedi Orr, Eagan; McKenna Melville, Eagan; Kayla Bair, Prior Lake; and Grace Persson, Eden Prairie. Photo by Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

All-metro first team


McKenna Melville, player of the year

School: Eagan  |  Grade: Senior  |  Position: Outside hitter

Daughter of coach Kathy Gillen, Melville has been around volleyball all her life. Exceptionally versatile, with few weaknesses. Terrific on defense and an adept passer, she sets well and hits with authority.

Committed to Central Florida.

Read Jim Paulsen's feature on the senior outside hitter.


Kennedi Orr

School: Eagan  |  Grade: Freshman  |  Position: Setter

A gifted athlete with innate volleyball sense and exceptional poise. Makes difficult plays seem common. Pin-point setter and intimidating when attacking. Considered the nation’s top player in the class of 2021.

Committed to Nebraska.

Kayla Bair

School: Prior Lake  |  Grade: Senior  |  Position: Outside hitter/middle blocker

Perhaps the state’s most intimidating blocker, she forces opposing offenses to move their attack attack away from her block. Has 324 kills and 75 total blocks on the season.

Committed to Michigan.

CC McGraw

School: Prior Lake  |  Grade: Senior  |  Position: Libero

A repeat all-metro selection, McGraw battled early-season injuries. Has come back strong with her ability to not only anticipate and respond to opposing kill attempts, but turn difficult digs into perfect passes.

Committed to Minnesota.

Elizabeth Juhnke

School: Lakeville North  |  Grade: Junior  |  Position: Outside hitter

“Might be the best offensive outside hitter in the state,” one competitor’s coach said. Led the Panthers to their first state tournament berth since 2012 with 383 kills, 33 service aces, 252 digs and 46 total blocks.

Committed to South Dakota.

Grace Persson

School: Eden Prairie  |  Grade: Senior  |  Position: Outside hitter

A one-person wrecking crew at the net. A relentless attacker with the ability to hit through the block or tool her kill attempts around it. Demonstrated improved all-around defense this season, particularly when playing from the back row.

Committed to Michigan.


All-Metro first-team members sound off on….

Describe what you love about volleyball What is your dream job/career? What is one thing people don’t know about you?
McKenna Melville That volleyball is a team sport. It brings you so close with players from all around the state. Medical sales rep I have a twin brother.
Kennedi Orr You can be so close with all of your teammates, like all of the off-time at tournaments. Marine biologist I have a bunny.
Kayla Bair Makes me the best person/player I can be. It brings out the competitiveness, teaches me how to be a leader, to be patient and to persevere. Athletic trainer My favorite food is popcorn.
C.C. McGraw The team aspect of the game. It’s all about working together to achieve a common goal. Either a sports psychologist or a conservation biologist I am obsessed with horror movies.
Elizabeth Juhnke The competitive drive. And that it’s a team sport where you work for your teammates and they have your back as well. Nurse I have watched “One Tree Hill” five times.
Grace Persson Being part of a team where everyone has the same love for the game and we can compete together to achieve our goal. Physical therapist My dog has three legs.

All-Metro second and third teams


Second team

Rachel Kilkelly, Jr, Shakopee, OH/S: 340 kills and 235 digs put her over 1,000 for her career in both categories.

Kari Zumach, Sr, Buffalo, OH: At 6-foot-3, the Creighton commit hits with force with a downward trajectory.

Anna Erickson, Jr, Hopkins, OH: Carried the offensive load for the Royals with 445 kills.

Syd Case, Sr, Lakeville South, S: Three-year starter is the all-time leader in set assists at Lakeville South.

Emma Schmidt, Jr, Champlin Park, OH/S: Added setting to her repertoire -- 432 kills, more than 330 set assists.

Kennedy Brady, Sr, Lakeville North, MB: Exceptionally strong defensive presence at the net with 87 blocks.


third team

Sophia Andersen, So, New Prague, OH

Izzy Ashburn, Jr, Champlin Park, S

Lauren Clark, Jr, Robbinsdale Armstrong, OH

Maizy Jackson, Jr, Benilde-St. Margaret's, OH

Ellie Koontz, Sr, Holy Angels, RH

Tara Lee, Sr, Hopkins, S

Jasmine Mulvihill, Jr, Lakeville South, OH

Ella Ratzloff, Sr, East Ridge, DS/L


How the team was chosen

The Star Tribune’s All-Metro teams and Metro Player of the Year were chosen based on nominations from metro-area coaches, conversations with a panel of coaches and staff observations.

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