Best College Athlete - 2011
Emily Palkert, Concordia University
The U of M's big sports programs have been a challenge for local fans. But followers of the college game don't need to look far to find a winning team. Across the river at Concordia University in St. Paul, the women's volleyball program has proven to be the antidote to our general sporting woes. The team claimed its fourth consecutive NCAA D-II title this season, and 5-foot-11 senior mid-hitter Emily Palkert was again the dominant force on a dominating team. After the Golden Bears' 75-match win streak was snapped in just the second match of the season and a suspect 10-4 start ensued, Concordia won its last 22 matches. At the NCAA Championships in Louisville, Kentucky, the team steamrolled the competition in three straight-set matches en route to their repeat. For the season, Palkert ranked in the top 32 in the nation for kills per set (3.79), points per set (4.35), and hitting percentage (.357). For her storied Concordia career, the Excelsior native leaves the program as a four-time AVCA All-American, a Daktronics first-team All-American in her final two seasons, and the Golden Bears' all-time leader in both kills and points.