Q&A: Hannah Tapp on her pro career and growing accustomed to German culture

Tapp earned All-American accolades in her junior and senior year with the team.

Gophers middle blocker Hannah Tapp attempts to return the ball on  Friday, Dec. 9, 2016 at the Sports Pavilion during the NCAA regional semifinal game against Missouri.

Image by Bridget Bennett

Gophers middle blocker Hannah Tapp attempts to return the ball on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016 at the Sports Pavilion during the NCAA regional semifinal game against Missouri.

by Owen Mageau

This week the Minnesota Daily talked with former Gophers volleyball standout, Hannah Tapp. Tapp was an American Volleyball Coaches’ Association Second-Team All-American in her senior year with the Gophers. She has taken the next step in her career and now plays professionally in Europe. 

Last year at this time, you were starring for the Gophers’ volleyball team. Now, you have already spent a few months playing pro in Germany for SSC Palmberg Schwerin. What led you to your decision to go pro? 

I’m actually going to Italy on the 21st [of September] to play with an A1 team, Il Bisonte, right outside of Florence in the town of San Casciano. I’ve dreamed of playing professionally and making the national team ever since I was younger, so deciding to pursue these dreams after graduating seemed like a no-brainer. 

How was adapting to life in Germany?

I spent five months in Germany last spring and living away from my family, especially my sister, was challenging, but it also forced me to grow up and I learned things about myself pretty quickly. I am very thankful for the opportunity I had to start my professional career there because I was with an amazing group of women and we played at a high level every day.

Have there been any difficulties adapting to the professional game?

Every country has a different style of play and it’s fun to adapt quickly and learn from the things they do well to improve my own game. It’s been such a fun adventure this summer competing against some of the best teams and players in the world. Definitely inspiring.

Has the professional game been the way you imagined it to be or have there been things you never thought of before getting to Germany?

I was surprised at how sheltered I was, only knowing about the players from the USA and the NCAA. There are so many talented players out here that I can learn from, that I am learning from, and that I’ve been watching ever since I started playing overseas. The best in the NCAA doesn’t mean much when you compare with the rest of the world.

Are there any big differences between the atmospheres of playing in Germany and playing in the United States?

Yes, I love the fans at the University of Minnesota. Nothing compares to them. When we played Brazil in Cuiaba, Brazil this summer for the World Grand Prix, their fans were pretty awesome and louder than anything I’ve ever experienced, but I’d still take my fans at Minnesota. 

Is there anything you miss about playing for the Gophers?

A ton. The atmosphere that’s built for learning and growth is unparalleled. I loved every second of being a part of the growth this program has made. Of course, I miss it.

This year’s Gopher team has gotten off to a great start. Have you been able to follow them at all? If so, what do you think of their outlook for the rest of the season? 

I’m so proud of them. They continue to improve and work tirelessly. I hope they go all the way this year. I’m a huge fan of these girls.

Is there anything you would like to tell your fans back on campus?

You guys are the best in the world.