Murr Minnesota

The libero has become a key player with her new team immediately after arriving from Ohio State (Photo: Minnesota)

Last season’s Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, libero Kylie Murr became one of the most coveted players in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) when she announced she would transfer from Ohio State ahead of her fifth year of college volleyball eligibility.

Murr was contacted by several programs that were interested in boosting their backcourts with one of the best in the business, but she picked Minnesota and, just a few weeks into the season, it’s already possible to see how big of an impact she’s been able to make with the Golden Gophers.

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The libero is having some excellent first weeks with her new team, having already registered some impressive numbers during Minnesota’s first six matches of the season, and earning her first Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week award in her new home.

“I kind of limited myself because I knew I wanted to play in the Big Ten, and some schools just don’t need a libero,” she said. “I didn't want to play in any other conference and take a step down. In the end, Minnesota just made sense for so many reasons. I feel like I can add a lot here and they needed me as much as I needed them. We want to win the Big Ten. After that, I think we can win a national championship. I know everyone says that, but we can make a run to the Final Four, and once you get there, anything is possible.”

Murr’s first performances have certainly helped the Golden Gophers start strong in their journey to return to the top of the conference for the first time since 2018. The libero has registered 108 digs (27 of which in her very first match, against Texas Christian), and has an impressive .937% efficiency rate with her 79 passes. She also recently surpassed 2,000 career digs.

Besides the possibility of playing a big role in a team that needed a player of her profile, Murr was also attracted to Minnesota for another reason. With the Golden Gophers, the libero also gets to play alongside one of her best friends, senior setter Melani Shaffmaster, who she had as a high school opponent and club teammate while growing up in Indiana.

“I think she’s very fiery and gives a lot of energy to us, which I really appreciate because I feel like we really need that on our team,” said junior outside hitter Taylor Landfair. “And then also she’s just a really good player. She’s always there to learn, always there to make these connections between all of us. And I think she’s really, really good for our team, and I'm really excited that she came here.”

Despite the defensive boost provided by Murr, Minnesota are yet to take off in the season, having won three of their first six matches. The Golden Gophers will have an excellent opportunity to improve their game this week, when they host the Diet Coke Classic in Minneapolis.

They will play High Point on Thursday and Creighton on Saturday, at 16:30 local time (21:30 UTC), in a match that will be streamed live for VBTV subscribers around the world.

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