Hannah Tapp keeps improving, leading in last Minnesota season

The senior is third on the team in kills and blocks through 19 matches.

Middle blocker Hannah Tapp spikes the ball against Penn State in the Sports Pavilion on Nov. 14, 2015.

Image by Joe Sulik, Daily File Photo

Middle blocker Hannah Tapp spikes the ball against Penn State in the Sports Pavilion on Nov. 14, 2015.

by Tommy Sletten

All of the hard work she’s put in on and off the court has led up to this year for Hannah Tapp.

The senior middle blocker has already been named an American Volleyball Coaches Assocaition First Team All-American and unanimous All-Big Ten selection in her career, but Tapp — as well as the rest of the No. 3 Gophers — is looking for the cherry on top: a national championship.

“We want to be our best in December, so we’re not going to stop here. We want to continue to improve throughout the season,” Tapp said. “I wanted to come to Minnesota to win a national championship, and I think we’re headed in the right direction.”

Improvement is exactly what Tapp has done for her game in the last four years.

She started her career as an immediate contributor to Minnesota as a freshman, amassing 122 kills. She was also second on the team in blocks with 152.

Tapp was named to the Freshman All-Big Ten team which alluded to her future success with the team.

Tapp saw her most successful year to date as a junior. She provided 365 kills, good for second on the team, and 140 blocks, which was third for the Gophers.

She has continued to make an impact on the scoresheet for Minnesota in her final season. She is already third on the team in kills and blocks, with 208 and 73, respectively.

Aside from being a reliable starter for the Gophers, Tapp has relished her role as a leader, especially this season, along with the other six members of her senior class.

“[Tapp] is obviously doing a great job, and there’s a lot of great senior leadership,” said head coach Hugh McCutcheon. “It’s certainly been a great strength for us to have so many people that have got this experience and can help the underclassmen and can help themselves because it’s not their first rodeo.”

Tapp has seen her development to date as a product of her teammates, especially those she has played with the longest — the seniors.

Many of them played club volleyball together in high school, and some she has even roomed with at Minnesota. Her twin sister and teammate, Paige Tapp, has also been there every step of the way.

Hannah Tapp said she sees the competition with her sister as a point of mutual growth and a way to grow their relationship.

With the team halfway through its Big Ten schedule, Tapp said one of the biggest strengths the squad has at this point is their unity, a value that’s been key in each of her seasons at Minnesota.

As the season quickly winds down, Tapp wants know her work is complete, and she has done everything in her power to accomplish her and her team’s goals.

“Obviously my four years will come to an end here at Minnesota,” Tapp said. “So making sure that I really do everything and leave nothing behind so I have no regrets here and that I can just leave it all on the table [is important].”