VB: StarTrib's Marcus Fuller Writes About Alexis Hart

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http://www.startribune.com/freshman...hitter-for-no-3-gophers-volleyball/393642551/

Alexis Hart’s personality is as big as her volleyball swing.

“I can talk for days,” she says. “I love to dance.”

And while her fun-loving nature off the court is infectious, her commanding presence on it is why Hart is one of the top freshmen hitters in the Big Ten...




...“So far she’s shown some great consistency, and hopefully that will continue,” Gophers volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon said. “All [four] of our incoming athletes had the ability to contribute right away, but she’s obviously rising to the occasion.”

McCutcheon’s nationally recognized recruiting class included outside hitter Brittany McLean from Rosemount and 6-5 middle blocker Regan Pittman from Springfield, Kan. They both played with Hart in the Under Armour All-America game last year.

But Hart surprised her coaches by how quickly she has adjusted to the college level, much like teammate Samantha Seliger-Swenson, who took home All-Big Ten honors last season as a freshman setter.

Getting stuffed in a preseason practice by All-America middle blocker Hannah Tapp was Hart’s first welcome-to-college moment. Since then, Division I volleyball hasn’t been as intimidating.

“I woke up and said, ‘Wow, this is big-girl volleyball,’ ” Hart said. “Hugh’s a great coach, so it kind of just naturally comes now since I’ve been learning things from him.”

Hart’s strong athletic genes came from her mother, who played college basketball at Oklahoma. In high school, the 6-foot Hart was a three-sport athlete. She once considered track her No. 1 sport, after winning the Missouri state long jump title as a sophomore.

Hart was drawn to the “culture and chemistry” at Minnesota and signed with the Gophers. The early results point to that decision being a big win-win.
 

http://www.mndaily.com/article/2016/09/rookie-hart-poised-to-have-big-season

And the Daily's Alexis Hart article:

"She’s been doing really well,” said head coach Hugh McCutcheon. “Obviously, at the net she’s been killing the ball and taking a good share of the responsibility of the set-receive, and she’s holding up as a blocker, server and defender as well. I’m very happy with the start.”...

...Hart also came from an athletic background. Her mother, Knea Robinson-Hart, was a basketball player for Oklahoma. The bond between the two athletes has helped Hart adjust to her first year as a student-athlete.

“After games and practice, I can call my mom and talk to her, and she understands what it means to be a college athlete,” Hart said. “She’s like my big support, but she understands if I have things going on.”

While such a huge step from the high school level to the college level can rattle some, Hart has shown maturity and composure early on. The outside hitter is second in kills for the Gophers behind senior outside hitter Sarah Wilhite. She’s played in every set so far this season and has been named Big Ten Freshman of the Week two weeks in a row.

Wilhite, who plays the same position as Hart, said she sees a lot of potential in her teammate already.

“I feel like my freshman year I felt more pressure that wasn’t really there,” she said. “I just put [it] on myself, and I don’t see that a lot in Lexi, which makes me really excited for her that she doesn’t have to push through that at all.”

Hart’s offensive output has been helpful for the Gophers to make up for the loss of former Big Ten Player of the Year and outside hitter Daly Santana, who recently played for Puerto Rico in the Summer Olympics.
 




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