Northern Lights volleyball teams do well in nationals

Club sends athletes to Dallas, Orlando

Teams from Burnsville-based Northern Lights Junior Volleyball had one championship and two third-place finishes in the recent U.S. Junior National Championships in Dallas.

Northern Lights’ 16-2 team won the 16-year-old USA Division. Local players on the team included Janae Neuenschwander of Lakeville North and Callie Schapekahm of Eagan, both of whom will be juniors in the fall. Rebecca Hawkins of Blaine was the tournament’s MVP. The team was 42-18 in its pre-national tournament schedule.

The 18-1 team, which includes some of Minnesota’s top high school players from the 2012 season, placed third in the 18-1 Open division. Alyssa Goehner, who will be a senior at Lakeville North in the fall, was one of two players on the team named to the all-tournament squad. The team won 62 of its first 65 matches and went undefeated (9-0) on a trip to Italy in late March.

Northern Lights’ 17-2 team was third in the 17 USA division. Players on that team included setter and defensive specialist Kacie Hagen and middle and left-side hitter Alyssa Muelken, both of whom will be seniors at Burnsville High School in the fall. Lakeville North’s Hailey Lonergan and Eagan’s Kelly Madison also played on the 17-2 team.

Northern Lights sent nine teams to the U.S. Junior Nationals. Five of them placed in the top 10 in their divisions.

Before the trip to Dallas, 24 Northern Lights teams went to Orlando, Fla., for the AAU National Championships. Eleven of them placed fifth or higher in their divisions, and the 17-Red team won the 17 Classic division.

Alexis Romo, who will be a senior at Lakeville North, was one of the players on the 17-Red team.

The 15-1 team took second place in the 15 Open division at the AAU nationals with a roster that included left-side hitter Brittany McLean and setter and right-side hitter Erin Slinde, who will be sophomores at Rosemount High School in the fall. McLean was named an All-American in the 15 Open tourney.

Lakeville North High School head coach Walt Weaver was the Northern Lights 15-1 team’s head coach.

The 16-1 team placed second in the 16 Open division at the AAU tourney. Players included Lakeville South setter and hitter Jade Tinglehoff, who was named an All-American.

Northern Lights’ 18-1 team was third in the Open division and its 18-Red team placed third in the 18 Classic division. The 18-Red roster included Annie Ericksen and Maggie Larson, members of the Eastview class of 2013, and Garet Miliner, a June graduate of Apple Valley High School.