John Marshall vs Mayo Volleyball

Rochester John Marshall's Lillian Meister (12) and Allyssa Ihde (13) try to block a hit at the net by Rochester Mayo's Jaydn Koestering on Tuesday at JM. Meister finished with a state-record 16 blocks in the match. (Andrew Link / alink@postbulletin.com)

Lilly Meister has built a reputation as one of the top young girls basketball players in the state.

The 6-feet-3 Meister averaged 16 points and nearly 10 rebounds per game last year at Rochester John Marshall, doing it as a freshman. Division I college basketball seems an almost certainty in her future.

But after what she did Tuesday night, Meister has now shown herself as more than just a basketball star. Establishing a state record has a way of doing that and Meister got one Tuesday night in a five-game win over rival Rochester Mayo.

The lanky and athletic Meister posted 16 blocks in the Rockets’ 27-25, 25-17, 21-25, 19-25, 15-11 marathon win over the Spartans. The previous state mark for blocks in a match was 13, set in 2013 by Cleveland’s Taylor Holicky. JM's previous blocks record was 11, recorded last year by Anna Rietveld.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet what I did, to be honest,” Meister said Wednesday afternoon. “It really is crazy when I think about it, with it not being my main sport.”

There was a span in Tuesday’s match when it dawned on both Meister and her JM coach, Jessica Stellmaker, that someting unique was going on. It saw JM reel off eight straight points, almost all of them off of blocks, and almost all of those off the stiffened hands of Meister.

“There was a stretch there where the ball just wasn’t coming over the net (thanks to JM blocks),” Stellmaker said, “and most of those were Lilly’s.”

Stellmaker knows she has something special in Meister, whose previous high for blocks in a match was five. Not only is she competitive, driven and 6-3, but she’s a gifted athlete. Put it all together and Stellmaker considers Meister a volleyball player with enormous potential.

She can only imagine what the sophomore could become if volleyball was more than Meister’s second sport.

“Her height is good for volleyball,” Stellmaker said. “But the biggest thing is that she has a lot of natural ability. She can jump, she’s got speed and strength, and she picks things up naturally. She’s been doing things that usually take years for most people.”

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Sports Reporter

Pat covers tennis, girls basketball, football, soccer, track and field, and baseball. He also writes about Gophers football and basketball, and the Timberwolves. He’s been reporting for the Post Bulletin since 1994.