Two former South Suburban Conference volleyball players had integral roles on the University of Wisconsin-Eau Clare team that won the NCAA Division III championship last weekend.

Arianna Barrett, who played on Lakeville North’s 2017 state championship team, and Charlie Nelson, who played high school volleyball for Farmington, were named to the all-tournament team following the Blugolds’ 25-22, 25-23, 25-21 victory over Calvin University in the championship game Nov. 20 in St. Louis. Barrett also was named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.

The volleyball championship is the first for the Blugolds, who started the 2021 season unranked and finished 35-3.

Barrett had 13 kills in the championship match and Nelson had 38 assists and eight digs.

Barrett had 15 kills and 12 digs as UWEC defeated Juniata in five sets in the semifinals Nov. 19. Nelson had 47 assists, 19 digs and five kills.

A senior outside hitter, Barrett was second on the team in kills this year. Nelson was the Blugolds’ starting setter and was third on the team in digs.

Twelve of the 20 players on the Blugolds’ roster are from Minnesota.

All-star football game scheduled

The Minnesota Football Coaches Association All-Star Game, canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic, returns Saturday, Dec. 4, as part of the Minnesota Football Showcase at U.S. Bank Stadium.

As has been the case in recent years, the game will feature players representing North and South high school all-star teams, with the metro area being divided in half. Eighty-eight players have been selected to play in the game, which will have a noon kickoff.

Members of the South All-Stars include Burnsville linebacker Colton Gregersen, Lakeville North defensive lineman Blake Gode, and linebacker Zach Juckel and tight end Chase Androff of Lakeville South, which will play Maple Grove for the Class 6A championship Friday night. Shakopee High School head coach Ray Betton will be head coach of the South team.

Although it’s billed as the 49th annual all-star game, there have been 60 all-star games overall, dating to 1945. The December 2020 edition was postponed to June 2021 because of a youth sports shutdown caused by rising COVID-19 cases, then was canceled when the COVID concerns lingered.

This is the 12th year of the current North-South format and will be the fifth time the game has been played at U.S. Bank Stadium. MFCA All-Star Game alumni include current Minnesota Vikings players Adam Thielen and C.J. Ham.

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