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Emily Kern (center) signs her national letter of intent to joins Minnesota State with her mother Becky and father Richard. flanking her. (Ben Camp/Southernminn.com)

At the culmination of a journey which officially began at a fan signing day held by the Minnesota State University, Mankato Maverick volleyball team three years ago, Cleveland Clippers Emily Kern officially signed her letter of intent Wednesday to join the Mavericks next fall.

In the new Cleveland High School gymnasium and among her friends, family and coaches, Kern received and signed the NIL which declares her intention to take the steps necessary to be eligible and play at the NCAA DII level for Minnesota State.

"Today was really exciting," said Kern after the ceremony. "I've been waiting for this day since I visited last November."

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Emily Kern (center) is joined by her grandparents, from left to right, Glen O’Connor, Sandy O’Connor, Bonnie Kern and Richard Kern. (Ben Camp/Southernminn.com)

"It will be awesome just to be so close and to be able to support her and cheer her loudly," said Cleveland Clippers head coach Bree Meyer. "I believe fans of all ages from Cleveland will support her and cheer her on."

The journey to collegiate volleyball wasn't a traditional one for Emily, as her entire junior season was impacted by the coronavirus and restrictions in place that not only limited games played, but also made it impossible for college coaches to make in-person scouting trips. In conversations with Minnesota State volleyball head coach Corey Phelps, he made it clear how challenging the fall of 2020 was as not only couldn't his team play, but all recruiting was forced to be done through e-mail, phone and video clips.

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Fortunately for Emily, she had met coach Phelps during the aforementioned fan day at MSU, and when he began studying clips and matches, that meeting stood out and caused him to reach out and begin the recruiting process.

Once Emily was able to visit the campus last November, she made the verbal commitment to join the Mavericks with sights set on national signing day to make it official.

The process would ultimately have been for naught if Kern didn't have the game and mindset to play at a collegiate level, but she more than proved herself during her senior year helping to lead the Clippers to a program best finish, winning the south subsection of section 2A and becoming the section runner-up.

Despite the shortened 2020 season, Kern finished her career at Cleveland High School with 885 kills, 720 digs, 329 blocks and 102 aces.

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Cleveland head coach Bree Meyer stands alongside Emily Kern. (Ben Camp/Southernminn.com)

"I've been fortunate enough to be able to coach her for four of her six years at Cleveland," said Meyer. "She's a hard worker, a great leader and we are all excited to go and support her at MSU."

"I'm really excited to start practicing with them [MSU] this summer," said Kern. "It's all going to be new, but I'm ready."

MSU Signing graphic

Minnesota State’s signing day graphic. (Photo Courtesy Minnesota State University Mankato Sports Information)

Reach Reporter Ben Camp at 931-8566 or follow him on Twitter @SPHvalleysports. © Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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