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Marcus R. Fuller | St. Paul Pioneer Press | September 13, 2014

Home or heart

Alyssa Goehner enjoyed attending University of Minnesota volleyball games growing up, but that didn't sway her from picking another program on signing day last year. The former Lakeville North standout chose Marquette.

But when Golden Eagles coach Bond Shymansky left for Iowa, Goehner rescinded her letter of intent. Playing for Minnesota volleyball head coach Hugh McCutcheon has been "all I could ever asked for," the Gophers freshman outside hitter said.

She's also glad she can play closer to her family who supported her throughout her career.

"The fact that I was going far away kind of took something away from me .
-- Alyssa Goehner

"The fact that I was going far away kind of took something away from me and something away from them," Goehner said. "I think it'll help me play much better having my family there."

Through five matches, the 5-foot-11 Goehner has played mostly behind starters Adrianna Nora and Daly Santana, but Goehner has contributed early with 21 digs.

She had eight digs and an ace in a three-set win against Yale last week in New Haven, Connecticut.

Nora, Santana and Sara Wilhite made the all-tournament team as the Gophers won the Yale Invitational. Nora was also named most valuable player. McCutcheon said before the season there wouldn't be pressure on Goehner to make an immediate impact but that she was expected to contribute.

"With anyone, if you're the best player in the gym, you get to play the position," he said. "Alyssa has done a good job. But the transition for anyone from high school [and] club to college is a little bit of a shock. She has dealt with it very well. She's very committed to becoming the best she can be. We're excited to see where that leads her and, of course, us."

Goehner wasn't the most highly recruited Minnesota high school athlete who decided to leave the state. Her boyfriend, former Apple Valley All-American point guard Tyus Jones chose Duke.

She joked that she's a better athlete than Jones and wished he had chosen Minnesota when she eventually switched. But she's glad they both will get a chance to play in college as freshmen.

"It's cool to hear his stories about how he's doing down there," Goehner said. "He'll do great things. I'm really excited for him."