ORLANDO, Fla.-- Incoming freshman setter Sydney Griffin helped her team advance to the final four and was named to the All-America team for her performance at the recently-concluded 2014 AAU National Volleyball Championships.
“I’m really happy for Sydney," UND head coach Mark Pryor said. "She has improved all spring, and she completely deserves this honor. It’s really encouraging to see one of our incoming student-athletes getting national attention. What this shows is that the program is on the right track for bringing in athletes that can compete from the minute they step on campus. We need to have not only simple competition in our gym, but it has to be a brutal and consistent competition at every position, every day. There is no way that any individual can achieve their optimum potential unless they are pushed on a day-in and day-out basis."
Griffin is a six-foot setter from Marshall, Minn. playing with the Kairos Elite volleyball program based out of Sioux Falls, S.D. Kairos went 7-3 at the 18 Premier level, advancing to the final four before bringing home third place at the national tournament.
"We have tons of offensive weapons on that team," her AAU coach Mitch Lunning said. "We have four Division I hitters, so she can run that team and give us the edge we needed in getting those kids the ball. She did a great job of learning the offensive system and has had to adapt to a different system than she was used to. The national tournament is the best we've seen her play and that helped us to our best finish."
Her progress has her next coach-- UND's Pryor-- excited about next year's prospects.
“Sydney and her incoming class are going to have a chance to come in and compete for time right away, and I am looking forward to that 2014 class pushing our returners," he said. "With all the newcomers mixing with the nine returners, it should make for a competition filled preseason, and I think that can help us long term.”
Griffin and UND get their season underway Aug. 29 at George Washington for a three-match tournament before a Sep. 5 home opener with Tulane.
Photo courtesy StarTribune.com