Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Kylie Murr bringing hyper-competitive attitude to Minnesota volleyball

The Ohio State transfer will use her final season of eligibility comfortably repping the maroon and gold.
Image by Gopher Athletics
The fifth year transfer has already taken on a leadership role on the Gophers volleyball team.

Kylie Murr prides herself on her confident, competitive nature. So, when she joined a new team for the first time in four years, she knew she would be able to handle the pressure. 

Murr, a fifth-year graduate transfer from Ohio State, spent a short amount of time with her new Gophers team before stepping into a leadership role. The native out of Yorktown, Indiana will fill the libero position for the Minnesota Golden Gophers after playing the same position for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Melani Shaffmaster, a fourth-year for the Gophers and former teammate of Murr, said Murr is a “social butterfly.”

“She’s going to be just fine,” Shaffmaster said.

Ohio State to Minnesota

Murr’s journey to the Gophers began in the spring when Buckeyes head coach Jen Flynn Oldenburg decided to part ways with five seniors due to scholarship complications caused by an extra year of eligibility.

“We kind of came together as a little group of seniors and were like, ‘If we’re not all going to stay, we’re all going to find our new journeys,’” Murr said on the Six Rotations Podcast.

The seniors went their separate ways and each continued their career in the place that was best for them. For Murr, that place was Minnesota.

“I’m a competitive person,” Murr said. “At Ohio State, I got competitiveness every single night from every team and so I knew that’s what the Big Ten had to offer.”

When searching for a program to be a part of, Murr said she wanted a place that would allow her to keep growing as a player.

She added she knew she could get an opportunity to play for a Big Ten program again, and when that opportunity eventually appeared, she took it.

“[Minnesota] made me feel like I could bring a lot to this team,” Murr said. “They wanted to help me beyond college volleyball.”

Murr is known to be a confident player on the court. Her attitude translates well to her defensive abilities, which earned her 2022 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. 

Gophers volleyball head coach Keegan Cook said Murr’s confidence in the competitive moment sets her apart as an athlete.

“Matches get big and matches get intense,” Cook said. “Kylie thrives in that moment.”

Murr’s unceasing defensive tactics are unmistakable to her teammates.

“You’re going to have to probably kill her to make her lose,” Shaffmaster said.

The Minnesota libero

Murr will take over the libero position for the Gophers, one which now-alumn CC McGraw held since 2018. McGraw acquired 1,924 career digs while at Minnesota. She currently holds the third-highest number of digs in Minnesota volleyball history.

“I feel some pressure,” Murr said. “CC is a great player and I’m honored to take her spot.”

CC McGraw, pictured above, was the libero before Murr took over. (Image by Gopher Athletics)

Murr, on the other hand, broke the Ohio State career digs record during the 2022 season. Throughout her Buckeyes career, she hit a total of 1,935 career digs. 

Despite the pressure Murr is feeling, she said the game has not changed and she is “going to go out there and just do [her] thing.”

“She’s not going to give up,” Shaffmaster said. “I don’t think it matters if we’re down 24-2, I think it’s going to be everything she has all the time.”

Image by Alex Karwowski

The Murr/Shaffmaster connection

Murr reunited with former teammate Shaffmaster when she decided to come to Minnesota for her final season. The two played together at Munciana Volleyball Club in Indiana as kids.

Murr started playing at Munciana when she was 12 years old and was teammates with Shaffmaster until they were 18.

The two played against each other in high school and then again when Minnesota would match up against Ohio State.

“Whenever we saw each other at Ohio State, I could not make eye contact with her because I would just start laughing,” Shaffmaster said.

Murr, now living with Shaffmaster, is routinely in the gym with her hitting the ball “just like old times,” Shaffmaster said.

A new Big Ten team

Cook said the team must allow Murr to be her confident, competitive self and play to her strengths, and also integrate her into the Gophers’ values and style of play.

“You want her to be the player that we’ve all experienced and you also want her to feel very tightly connected to how we’re doing things,” Cook said.

Murr said she took a step outside her comfort zone by stepping back to learn the dynamic of what goes on in the gym at Minnesota.

“I just kind of had to bite my tongue sometimes,” Murr said. “I wanted to see how they [Minnesota] operated.”

With such a short amount of time left in her collegiate volleyball career, Murr said she does not have time to be shy, especially given she’s a fifth year with four years of experience playing in the Big Ten.

The Gophers will play the Buckeyes twice this upcoming season: the first match between the two will be in Columbus on Nov. 3. Murr said it will be strange wearing different colors, but she is ready for the next chapter.

“I think I can teach these girls a lot, and I think I can learn a lot from them,” Murr said. “I need to use my voice as much as I can.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Accessibility Toolbar

Comments (0)

All The Minnesota Daily Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *