Lohman hits stride in third season

The junior leads Minnesota starters in blocks and hitting percentage.

Tommy Sletten

Molly Lohman is not a player that will yell across the court and talk trash — she lets her game speak for her.

The junior middle blocker from Mankato, Minnesota has been nothing short of solid this season and has gone under the radar doing it.

“I think Molly is certainly one of the most improved on this team,” said head coach Hugh McCutcheon. “She’s able to take a bigger offensive load, and I think she’s getting better at blocking as well.”

Lohman leads Minnesota in blocks, a skill that earned her Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 31 after her standout performances against Rutgers and Penn State.

In those matches, Lohman had 17 kills and 11 blocks to help the Gophers win both matches.

Last weekend was no different for Lohman as she led the Gophers with six total blocks in their sweep at Maryland.

Lohman is also fifth on the team in kills with 144, and she leads starters in hitting percentage with a clip of .368, proving her consistency and reliability.

In the last year, Lohman has stepped up as a leader for the Gophers, but she has done it differently than most.

“She’s not very vocal, but she leads by example,” sophomore setter Samantha Seliger-Swenson said. “She works hard day in day out all the time and pushes everyone around her. Seeing her work so hard makes us want to work hard.”

Seliger-Swenson, who played with Lohman in club before college and has also been roommates with her, noted that she is widely respected on the team because of her work ethic and her refusal to give up on plays.

Thus far this season, Lohman has already surpassed her blocking totals of last season and credits that to her coaching and development over the last year.

“I grew a lot last season,” Lohman said. “[McCutcheon] was big on changing things, so I worked really hard to change my arm swing and footwork.”

Lohman compared the work to having a checklist in her head on what to do, but she said that it definitely improved her game.

Lohman has also had two opportunities to participate with Team USA in international play.

She was on the Team USA Collegiate National China Tour in 2015 with teammates Sarah Wilhite and Hannah Tapp and traveled on the U.S. Collegiate National Team Europe Tour this past summer with Alyssa Goehner.

Lohman helped her team to a gold medal in the European Global Challenge and was also named Most Valuable Player.

“It’s a great experience playing overseas, especially having teammates with you. Not a lot of players have teammates there,” Lohman said. “I think playing overseas helps me grow as a player overall because the game is different everywhere you go.”

While Minnesota has had a senior-heavy class this year, the Gophers will rely on Lohman next year as both a leader and standout player.

“I’m very happy with her progress, and I would expect her to continue to improve through this season and into next year as well,” McCutcheon said.