Photo courtesy of Lydia Sussner
Lydia Sussner, Minneota's star middle hitter, led the Vikings to the Class 1A state championship game last year. She recorded 52 kills in three matches (.330 hitting percentage) against Mayer Lutheran and was selected to the all-tournament team.
Now in her senior season, Sussner wants more and her team seems poised to deliver. Minneota, ranked No. 1 in the Class 1A coaches' association poll, features Sussner with two other returning all-tourney selections: Natalee Rolbiecki and Morgan Kockelman. Together, they've led the Vikings to a 22-1 record with 12 consecutive straight-set wins with their only loss coming against No. 9-3A Northfield on Sept. 8.
MN Volleyball Hub: What was it like reaching the state volleyball tournament last year?
LS: We proved a lot of people wrong... It was crazy. It kind of drew our whole town together.
MN Volleyball Hub: How did it compare to your journey to state in basketball the season after?
LS: They were both different. Basketball was pretty cool, getting to play in three different arenas (Williams Arena, Target Center and Concordia University's Gangelhoff Center), but playing in the Xcel Energy Center was awesome, too. They both just had different feelings, basketball we knew we had a chance to get there, while volleyball was a surprise.
MN Volleyball Hub: What are your goals for the volleyball season?
LS: I want to get back to state, have no regrets, knowing I did everything I could, and make lots of memories.
MN Volleyball Hub: How have things changed, returning to the court as a favorite?
LS: We've come back even hungrier. Everyone we play has a target on our backs, but we're all really competitive and even more focused.
MN Volleyball Hub: If you had to pick a sport, basketball or volleyball?
LS: Basketball. I like the physical part of the game and the running part, up and down the floor.
My grandma Shirley. She got cancer and she always fought until the very last day. She never let it get her down. She taught me to live my life to the fullest every day because you don't know what's going to happen, nothing is a given.
— Lydia Sussner
MN Volleyball Hub: If you could go anywhere on a two-week vacation, where would you go?
LS: Orlando, I love the warm weather and the water. I also have a lot of good memories there.
(Editor's Note: Sussner was part of the Southwest Minnesota Volleyball Club 18-1 team that won the AAU Junior National Championships in Orlando last June.)
MN Volleyball Hub: Who is your favorite athlete?
LS: [Retired WNBA star and University of Minnesota women's basketball coach] Lindsay Whalen because of everything she has done for this state, coming from a small school.
MN Volleyball Hub: What is your dream job after high school?
LS: I want to be a physical therapist working with kids and treating sports injuries.