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ELIZABETH JUHNKE

Lakeville North • volleyball

Athlete of the Week is an individual honor but this week it seems far too limiting.

Elizabeth Juhnke put up impressive numbers in the Class 3A state tournament — 50 kills, 31 digs and four service aces. But she was the face of an impressive team effort that lifted Lakeville North to the state championship. The Panthers defeated two-time defending champion and top seed Eagan 25-21, 21-25, 25-20, 25-23 in the finals.

Juhnke made her mark by swinging with ferocity. Her teammates gave equally important contributions: Kennedy Brady with her staunch defense at the net, Macy Winter with timely kills to complement Juhnke, Amande Burger and Ameila Wherland combining for 115 set assists, Halle Wolfe and Arianna Barrett digging with abandon.

Lakeville North’s performance embodied the team concept. The Panthers eschewed individual stars. Coach Jackie Richter brought five players to every post-match news conference and let them have the spotlight.

When they spoke, they didn’t speak of individual honors or achievements. It was “we,” never “I.”

“We were super-prepared,’’ Juhnke said. “Everyone bought in and we were going 100 percent.”

So while acknowledging Juhnke, consider this recognition of the entire Lakeville North teamof champions.

SOLO FALANIKO

Eden Prairie • football

The senior sparkplug got the Eagles off to a strong start with a 50-yard touchdown run on the fourth play from scrimmage in their 35-0 victory over Lakeville North. He finished with 212 rushing yards.

RYENNE HATHAWAY

Lakeville South • swimming

She was the only four-event winner at the Class 2A, Section 1 meet. She won the 50 freestyle (23.44), the 100 butterfly (57.35) and swam the lead leg on the winning 200 free relay (1:37.39) and 400 free relay (3:34.22) teams.

TAYLOR HEISE

Red Wing • hockey

The senior forward, who scored 54 goals last season, notched a hat trick and an assist in a season-opening 5-2 victory over Mahtomedi and had two goals and an assist in a 5-2 victory over St. Paul United.

MADDY HUCKY

Mayer Lutheran • volleyball

The senior outside hitter held down two roles in pacing the Crusaders to their second consecutive Class 1A championship. In three three-set sweeps, she led the team in set assists with 78 and was second on the team in kills with 32.

CONNER KNOEPFLE

Andover • football

While Friday’s cold, windy conditions made it tough for most quarterbacks to throw the ball, they didn’t bother Knoepfle. The senior passed for 479 yards and seven touchdowns in a 66-60 loss to Elk River.

MIKE STERN

St. Croix Lutheran • football

It wasn’t quite single-handed, but the senior running back outscored Rochester Lourdes by himself in the Crusaders’ 61-29 Class 3A quarterfinal victory. Stern rushed for 243 yards and a career-high six touchdowns in the game.

JIM PAULSEN

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