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Juhnke will be a key to success for USD Volleyball team at NCAA Tournament

Coyote has been a Sophomore Sensation
Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 12:14 AM CDT
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VERMILLION, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Elizabeth Juhnke was literally born into volleyball.

“My dad played at IPFW. My mom played at Ohio State and then transferred to IPFW and that’s where they met. I had grown up my whole life being at my dad’s tournaments, being in the gym and in convention centers all the time. They just show me how to be confident in myself, be confident in who I am, and just play my game.” USD Sophomore Elizabeth Juhnke says.

Finding another volleyball family at South Dakota is what brought the Lakeville, Minnesota native to Vermillion. “This team, the atmosphere, our crowd, it is something that I am so, so grateful for. And this group of girls, we are so incredibly close,” Elizabeth says.

“We knew she was a special player and beyond that we knew she was a special person. And I think she has been one that has, obviously, helped elevate this program. Help take us to that next level,” USD Head Coach Leanne Williamson says.

It showed immediately in 2019 with Elizabeth winning Summit League Freshman of the Year honors. “Stay high, swing high, swing hard. I’m not a player who loves to tip because I love to swing hard and see how hard I can hit it! I don’t know, just the love for the game, and my passion, really shows from my parents as well,” Juhnke says.

That family lesson would serve Juhnke well in this year’s Summit League Tournament where she racked up 44 kills to win Tournament MVP honors, leading the Coyotes to the championship and berth in the NCAA Tournament. “This is a goal that we’ve set for ourselves and to achieve that goal is super exciting. I’m speachless to say the least,” Juhnke says.

With several years remaining, Elizabeth hopes to make this a regular family trip.

Zach Borg, Dakota News Now Sports.

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