Transfer duo a hit thus far with Gophers

C.J. Spang

As Minnesota’s volleyball team raised their NCAA finalist banner earlier this season, the team couldn’t help but poke fun at sophomore transfer Sarah Florian.

Last season Florian played for Southern California, the team the Gophers beat to make it to the NCAA championship game.

After a summer back home in Toledo, Ohio, Florian decided USC wasn’t for her. She called coach Mike Hebert and said she would like to play for Minnesota this season.

“It was an unusual set of circumstances,” Hebert said. “All of a sudden here’s Sarah Florian, someone that we had recruited very hard and really wanted to come here, but never thought we had a chance.”

“Then I get the phone call really late in the summer, and with a little help from the admissions office, she’s here.”

It was a huge boost for a Gopher team that lost its entire left side to graduation.

“I came a little late, but they were more than accommodating,” Florian said. “I couldn’t ask for a more inviting atmosphere.”

Minnesota’s left side got another boost from junior transfer Meghan Cumpston.

Cumpston decided to leave Arizona because there was a bottleneck at the left-side hitting positions.

“I didn’t know Meghan Cumpston,” Hebert said. “She sent us a release, visited here and liked everybody – and everything is working out fine.”

Both players have not seen much playing time this season. Cumpston injured her knee in the team’s first practice and required two weeks to come back. Florian didn’t even arrive on campus until a week after practice started.

Because of her late arrival, Hebert made an agreement with Florian that she wouldn’t play until the match against Northern Iowa; he didn’t want the team to think she automatically had a starting spot.

During that match, Florian came out rusty and Hebert sat her for most the game. But she got a second chance in the match against Texas Christian. She played 90 percent of that match and earned a starting spot this weekend against Wisconsin.

Cumpston has played in 17 games this season and has the second-highest kills per game on the team.

Hebert said he will have to find a way to get her on the floor as much as possible.

Despite the lack of playing time, neither player is upset with their decisions. The two don’t feel any added pressure because they are transfer students, they said. Both are more excited to play in the Big Ten than anything else.

“I’ve heard the Big Ten has a lot of great competition and wild crowds,” Cumpston said. “I can’t wait to experience it and see what it’s like.”