Stephanie Samedy leads Minnesota into Big Ten play

The freshman’s 173 kills leads the team.

Freshman opposite hitter Stephanie Samedy at team practice on Wednesday.

Easton Green

Freshman opposite hitter Stephanie Samedy at team practice on Wednesday.

Henry Hughes

Minnesota lost its leader in kills and AVCA Player of the year Sarah Wilhite to graduation in the spring.

Freshman Stephanie Samedy has picked up where Wilhite left off.

Samedy leads the team in kills with 173 and the Gophers remain undefeated heading into the Big Ten schedule.

“She definitely has the ability to be a rock for our team” said junior Samantha Seliger-Swenson. “I can look to her when it’s 25-25 and I know that she can get the job done.”

Samedy impressed many in the nonconference bouts so far, landing two Big Ten Freshman of the Week awards in four weeks of play, as well as garnering Co-Big Ten Player of the Week after the first two matches of the season. 

The personal achievements don’t distract Samedy from her role on the team.

“She’s a low-ego, high-output,” McCutcheon said. “She’s not interested in [the accolades], she’s interested in helping her team.”

Samedy has risen above Wilhite in kills per set so far. Wilhite averaged 4.26 kills per set last season, and Samedy has 4.55 kills per set through the first 11 matches.

Before her collegiate career began, Samedy had already been receiving national praise at her high school in Clermont, Florida. Ranked as the No. 5 overall recruit by Prepvolleyball.com, Samedy was also awarded First Team Under Armor All-American. 

Transitioning to University life has been relatively smooth for Samedy since then.

“I really like the campus,” Samedy said. “I really love the red brick, how it looks, it’s different than Florida.”

Through 11 matches, Samedy has led the team with 173 kills, while hitting .328. On the defensive side, she is second on the team in digs with 106 and has 25 total blocks.

“I think the system that we’re playing in fits her pretty well,” McCutcheon said. “She’s just a high-IQ volleyball athlete.”

No. 1 Minnesota plays No. 20 Michigan at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Maturi Pavilion.

“I’m expecting a battle” Samedy said. We’ll go out there and do what we do and just play Gopher volleyball.”