Seliger-Swenson setting up for success

The freshman has stepped in as the team’s primary setter from the start of the season.

Minnesota freshman Samantha Seliger-Swenson serves the ball at the Sports Pavilion on Sept. 12, 2015.

Joe Sulik, Daily File Photo

Minnesota freshman Samantha Seliger-Swenson serves the ball at the Sports Pavilion on Sept. 12, 2015.

Emily Polglaze

All smiles and a little camera-shy, it may appear Samantha Seliger-Swenson is a rookie who’s just happy to be playing volleyball for the University of Minnesota. 
 
Head coach Hugh McCutcheon said he thought the freshman would have an immediate impact, even before she played in her first match as the team’s primary setter this year. 
 
“I’m not surprised; the kid can play,” McCutcheon said. “It’s nice to see her finding her rhythm and finding out a lot of things in terms of offense.”
 
When she signed her letter of intent to play for the program in November, Seliger-Swenson was the nation’s No. 8 recruit, according to PrepVolleyball.com. 
 
In her club career with the Mizuno Northern Lights, Seliger-Swenson was an eight-time All-American.
 
She did it with the help of a few faces now familiar to her at Minnesota. 
 
Current Gophers Sarah Wilhite, Paige and Hannah Tapp, Alyssa Goehner, and Molly Lohman are also Northern Lights alums. 
 
After watching her former teammates play and grow at Minnesota, Seliger-Swenson wasted no time in getting on the Sports Pavilion’s court. 
 
Two months after signing with the program, Seliger-Swenson opted to graduate high school early in January so she could enroll at the University in its spring semester. 
 
As part of her jump-start at the University, Seliger-Swenson accompanied the team to Japan in March, where she was able to participate in matches for the first time with Minnesota. 
 
Though she had some experience with the program, Seliger-Swenson is still adjusting to being the team’s primary setter her freshman year.
 
“I didn’t expect any of it,” Seliger-Swenson said. “I came in knowing it was going to be tough and a lot of work, so I’m just thankful to my teammates for helping me out along the way.”
 
Seliger-Swenson has started all 10 matches as a freshman and has played in every set but one as the primary setter. 
 
With 368 assists already, Seliger-Swenson has demonstrated the key role setting can play in the game overall. 
 
“We have to communicate a lot on the court. That’s essential with a setter and libero,” sophomore libero Dalianliz Rosado said. “I think it’s been successful, and it’s easy to work with her.”
 
The Gophers squad is not alone in acknowledging the impact Seliger-Swenson has made. 
 
Since the start of the season, Seliger-Swenson has received Big Ten honors in three straight weeks, including Setter of the Week once, Co-Freshman of the Week twice and Rookie of the Week once.
 
“It validates who she is as a setter,” McCutcheon said. “We’ve always believed that Sam has phenomenal talent and ability, and it’s nice to see that other people are realizing that, too.”