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Minnesota Volleyball - Continuing to move up the ladder

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The Minnesota Golden Gophers Volleyball team had a strong weekend to open up their Big Ten home schedule by defeating Northwestern in straight sets and a comeback win over (then) #7 Illinois. Due to their efforts the Gophers now sit in a four-way tie for 2nd place int he Big Ten and a #11 ranking in the AVCA Coaches Poll.

Minnesota Volleyball defeats Illinios
Minnesota Volleyball defeats Illinios
University of Minnesota Athletics

Gopher Volleyball

Via Twitter.com/GopherVBall

Week in Review

Game 1: #16 Minnesota vs. Northwestern - Wednesday, 09/30/2015 - Gophers Win 3-0

The volleyball team fared much better than the football team, winning in straight sets. This was the third Big Ten game of the season for the Gophers and was their Big Ten home opener.

Minnesota Volleyball Defeats Northwestern Game Stats

Via Twitter.com/GopherVBall

You can read my full recap here.

Northwestern would go on to play at #19 Wisconsin on Sunday and lost that game in straight sets as well, 20-25, 16-25, and 19-25. Northwestern will next start a four game homestand that may prove little relief as they face #9 Ohio State, #3 Penn State, #4 Nebraska, and then Iowa.

Game 2: #16 Minnesota vs. #7 Illinois - Saturday, 10/03/2015 - Gophers Win 3-2

This game proved to be much more of a challenge. On Wednesday Illinois lost at then #19 Wisconsin only winning one set; 16-25, 21-25, 25-21, and 22-25. The Gopher's and the Fighting Illini would battle in three tight sets with Minnesota winning the first set and Illinois the next two. After that the Gophers would find their rythem and win the next two sets in relative ease to win the match.

Minnesota Volleyball defeats Illinois Stats

Via Twitter.com/GopherVBall

You can read the excellent fanpost recap by Ski U Mah Gopher here, with his in-person account of the game.

The Illini will get a small respite from their twelve game road trip, but will have to face #3 Penn State, #9 Ohio State, \Iowa, and then #4 Nebraska in their next four games.

Minnesota standout Paige Tapp got some love on Monday, being interviewed on-air by BTN's Taylor Rooks.

The Standings

Big Ten Volleyball Standings - After Week 2 of Big Ten Play

Big Ten Volleyball Standings - After Week 2 of Big Ten Play

The big news here is that Minnesota continues to move up the ranks, going from #16 to #11 in the AVCA Coaches poll.

The REALLY BIG NEWS is that Penn State finally lost a game, their first loss since October 11th last year, in which they loss to Illinois 3-1. The then #1 Nittany Lions lost to the visiting #4 Nebraska Cornhuskers 3-2. Penn State went up 2-0 but then lost the final three sets, going 25-12, 26-24, 14-25, 20-25, 11-15. Nebraska also defeated PSU last year at Lincoln, 3-1 on Ocotober 3rd, but lost to the Lions 3-0 in University Park to end the Big Ten season. Penn State would end the season last year ranked #1 and the national champions.

Sarah Wilhite

Via Twitter.com/GopherVBall

Up Next

This week Minnesota will start a three game road trip, but the teams they play this week are 13 and 14 respectively in the Big Ten.

Game 1: #11 Minnesota @ Maryland - Friday, 10/09/2015 - 6:00 pm Central - BTN Plus

While Maryland is 10-8 overall, they are 0-4 in Big Ten play. Maryland may be in a 3-way tie with Iowa for last place, but Iowa is the far superior team as shown in their RPI of 33. Maryland's RPI is 80, second to last in the Big Ten. This should be an easy victory for the Gophers. Minnesota won 3-0 last year in Dinkytown but it took 5 sets to beat the Terrapins at College Park last year.

Game 2: #11 Minnesota @ Rutgers - Sunday, 10/11/2015 - 2:00 pm Central

If the game against Maryland should be an easy win, the game against Rutgers should be a cake walk. The Scarlet Knights have only won three games this year and have an atrocious RPI of 218, two and a half times worse than Maryland.

Minnesota Gophers Volleyball

Via Twitter.com/GopherVBall

Minnesota needs to make short work of both of these teams while at the same time giving experience to some of their depth. The following week the Gophers will play the #16 Wisconsin Badgers twice, first in Madison and then at home in the Sports Pavilion.

#GoGophers! #DigDeep!