Lydia Sussner (center) signed her National Letter of Intent to play at Southwest Minnesota State University. On hand for the signing was Minneota Head Volleyball Coach Hayley Fruin, Lydia's family brother Logan, mother Nacole, father Jeff and sisters Libby and Lyzah.

Sussner signs to play volleyball for SMSU

As one former Minneota standout volleyball player ends her career at Southwest Minnesota State University this year, another will embark on her collegiate career there next year.

Lydia Sussner, a senior middle hitter who helped Minneota capture the Class A state championship recently, signed her National Letter of Intent to play volleyball for SMSU on Wednesday, which was National Signing Day.

Taylor Reiss, who had over 2,000 kills both in high school and at SMSU, has been a three-time NSIC Player of the Year for SMSU.

The Mustangs completed their season on Thursday. Sussner finished her four-year varsity prep career with 1,812 kills and 251 blocks.

The Vikings placed second in the Class A state tournament last year. During her career, Minneota posted an impressive 112-20 record.

Sussner, a two-time All-State selection, amassed 452 kills and 102 blocks this season despite opposing teams keying on her and often putting double and triple blockers her.

“She still found a way to put the ball away,” said Fruin.

“Often times the middle doesn't have the best ball control in volleyball, but Lydia does and can defend very well. She is always going up against the top hitter from the other team and shutting them down with her blocking.”

Sussner was one of five finalists for the Ms. Baden Volleyball award, which included all three classes. Izzy Ashburn, a setter from Class AAA Champlin Park won the award.

“Lydia is one of a kind,” said Minneota Coach Hayley Fruin.

“Often times, you get a kid with height or talent, but with a bad attitude or no drive.

“It's rare that you get the full package and Minneota volleyball was fortunate to have that with Lydia. She is coachable, hard-working, positive, responsive, and talented. She does anything asked of her and doesn't complain.”

On hand for Sussner's signing at the high school was her parents, Jeff and Nacole, siblings Logan, Lyzah and Libby; her three coaches, Hayley Fruin, Sarah Stassen and Kaley Buysse; Activities Director Jason Myhre; and the entire Minneota volleyball team from grades 7-12.

“It was pretty cool,” said Sussner, when asked what it was like to sign a letter of intent to play collegiately. Several other schools expressed interest in signing Sussner, the Camden Conference MVP, for volleyball. “I had a few other offers,” she said. “But I knew I wanted to go to SMSU.”

Sussner plans to major in Exercise Science at SMSU. “Lydia will be such a great asset to SMSU volleyball,” said Fruin.

“I will be one of her biggest fans and I really wish her the best.” Sussner is also a standout basketball player for the Vikings and needs around 325 more points to reach 2,000 for her career. It seems like only yesterday that Sussner began her career pounding down kills for the Vikings' volleyball team.

“She's been such a joy to coach,” said Fruin.

“I wish I could have had her more than two years, Preseason ball will be sad not having her in the gym, but she's left a footprint and hopefully her work ethic and drive can rub off on these upcoming kids. She was such an asset to our team, more than just on the court. Fans don't see practices, but Lydia loved to help all younger players at practice. Kids look up to her and she is such a great model.”

Sussner is ready for the next step in her volleyball career, especially after being able to say she helped her team win a state championship. “It went by pretty fast,” she said.

“But (winning a state title) was a nice way to end.”

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