MN Select Volleyball Club Paves the Way

by | Jan 2024

MN Select Volleyball Club

Photo: MN Select Volleyball Club

MN Select Volleyball Club paves the way for boys volleyball.

Minnesota boys volleyball has been growing exponentially. And many players dig it.

“When I started at MN Select five or six years ago, we had two boys teams,” says Kim Benka, boys director at Maple-Grove based MN Select Volleyball Club. “From there, it grew to three to four. Now, we have 20.”

Statewide, boys volleyball club teams grew from 20 to 50—and MN Select Volleyball Club is the largest boys volleyball club in Minnesota. “Kids are coming from all over,” Benka says. “We obviously have a lot of Metro kids, but we have kids from as far away as Rochester, Duluth and Bemidji. They’re not here every day, but they pick their spots.”

In season, practices are held two times per week. In addition, there’s also position-training days.

Maple Grove Senior High (MGSH) senior Devon O’Callaghan was at an All-Star Nationals event in Florida when he was asked to comment on Minnesota’s fastest growing sport.

“When I started playing high school volleyball, we could barely get eight players together,” Devon says. “We played both varsity and junior varsity matches. Now, we have a varsity team, a junior varsity team and two junior varsity II teams.”

According to the MN Boys High School Volleyball Association, 400 players participated in boys high school volleyball in 2018. By 2023, that number spiked to 1,974. Over that same time frame, the number of participating schools jumped from 22 to 72.

“It’s so fun,” Devon says. “I like the interaction. I like how you make your team your family, and I love the energy. When you play with energy, you’re winning. When you don’t, you’re losing.”

Mark Altman, 2023 MGSH graduate, agrees. “It’s just a fun sport … You’re always happy, and you’re always excited,” he says. “You have big cool plays and big cool moments. Reactions after the point are the best. If you win the point, you’re celebrating. If you lose, you’re picking yourselves up.”

Altman first joined the MGSH boys’ volleyball club as sophomore and played through his senior year—the year he began playing at MN Select. “I went from having never played before to having a blast as a senior [at MN Select and in high school],” he says. “I played club during the offseason and joined as many outdoor leagues as I could during the summer.”

A Sanctioned Sport

In 2021, boys volleyball failed to become a sanctioned sport by two votes through the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL). Sanctioning would have made boys volleyball an official high school sport, which include benefits, such as funding, securing practice space and coaches.

In 2022, boys volleyball failed in its sanctioning efforts by a single vote.

“We were there and filled the room,” Devon says. “It was disappointing. While it didn’t crush our community, it definitely took a hit.”

Last May, the MSHSL’s 48-member representative assembly approved the proposal to sanction boys volleyball for the 2024–25 school year by a vote of 39-7-2.

What’s left to decide is when the sport will be played. Will it be in the spring or fall? “It should be spring for sure,” Benka says. “The majority of the country plays boys volleyball in the spring.”

The argument against playing boys volleyball in the spring is that gyms are often used for other sports as winter drags and spring, along with warmer temperatures, is slow to show.

Girls volleyball is played in the fall, and officials are already working beyond capacity. “You might get officials for varsity matches only,” Benka says.

While Altman will miss out on MGSH’s first sanctioned match, he knows where the sport is headed.

“When I started, my classmates didn’t even know our school had a team,” he says. “Now, they’re asking when we play.”

MN Select Volleyball Club
8686 Valley Forge Lane; 763.391.6660


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