This last week, the Gophers changed things up. Instead of winning in straight sets, as had been their habbit as of ate, both games last week went the distance requiring a fifth set.
Our WOW this week features none other than the B1G's DPOW @paige_tapp. Three blocks in four plays! #Gophers http://t.co/oGleeDP5Ha— Minnesota Volleyball (@GopherVBall) September 29, 2015
Minnesota is now 1-1 in the Big Ten and 9-3 overall.
Game #1 - #21 Minnesota @ #12 Ohio State - Wednesday, 09/23/2015 - Gophers WIN 3-2
WATCH: The Tapp twins grab another block to tie it up for the #Gophers in set 4. http://t.co/oyr4HFTMzQ— Minnesota Volleyball (@GopherVBall) September 24, 2015
This was a great game. If you want to learn more, read my in depth recap here. If you don't want to take my word, read the Gophersports.com recap by clicking the link in the tweet below.
Read the full recap of tonight's upset and see it by the numbers below. #DigDeep http://t.co/279KWGd6TC pic.twitter.com/ylJaUSo5vL— Minnesota Volleyball (@GopherVBall) September 24, 2015
Game #2 - #21 Minnesota @ #1 Penn State - Saturday, 09/26/2015 - Gophers Fall 2-3
WATCH: One-handed set, then the slam down. #Gophers trail by 1. http://t.co/kQ1dJUtw4w— Minnesota Volleyball (@GopherVBall) September 27, 2015
This was a game that wasn't supposed to be close; Minnesota took Ohio State the distance and won but surely Penn State would end the game in short order, like they had done earlier in the week when they defeated the #16 Wisconsin Badgers in straight sets. Nope; it looked like it at first but the Gophers had too much fight in them. Penn State won the first two sets 22-25 and 16-25 but during the break the Gophers decided to #DigDeep. Minnesota would win the next two sets 25-19 & 25-20. The deciding fifth set went back and forth between the two teams with Penn State eking out a 12-15 win. This is what you call a "good loss" and I think the Gophers may have proven to themselves that they can play with anyone.
Final from University Park: The #Gophers take No.1 Penn State to five set, but fall in the fifth 15-12. #vbscores pic.twitter.com/oTfTkhQIYM— Minnesota Volleyball (@GopherVBall) September 27, 2015
For her efforts last week, junior middle blocker Paige Tapp was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week.
Congrats to @paige_tapp as she was named @B1GVolleyball Defensive POW. http://t.co/rfV6S4W5FH pic.twitter.com/KpcFdj3Eeu— Minnesota Volleyball (@GopherVBall) September 28, 2015
I called the Penn State loss a "good loss" and others must have agreed because between that game and the upset of Ohio State, the Gophers have improved in the rankings, moving from #21 to #16 in the nation!
So at 1-1 in the Big Ten, the Gophers are technically 8th in the Big Ten; however, they are one of only two teams to move up in the Coaches Poll rankings and are now the 4th highest ranked Big Ten team. Currently 8 Big Ten teams are ranked in the top 25 with another two teams receiving votes.
Minnesota will start their home slate of Big Ten teams with two games this week, Northwestern and #7 Illinois.
Game #1 - #16 Minnesota vs. Northwestern - Wednesday, 09/30/2015 at 7:00 pm - BTN Plus
A bit of a breather but only a bit. Northwestern is 2-0 in the conference and 10-3 overall. They won their first two Big Ten games in straight sets, but they were against Big Ten cellar dwellers Rutgers and Maryland. Still, Northwestern shouldn't be over looked. Minnesota played Northwestern twice last year (2014), loosing 3-0 at Evanston and winning 3-1 at the Sports Pavilion. Read the Gophersports.com preview of the game here. After facing Minnesota, Northwestern will travel to #19 Wisconsin.
Game #2 - #16 Minnesota vs. #7 Illinois - Saturday, 10/03/2015 at 7:00 pm - BTN Plus
In the first 4 games of the Big Ten season, Minnesota will have faced 3 of the 6 teams ranked above them at the start of Big Ten play. Illinois was the other Big Ten team to move up the rankings this week, moving up two spots to #7. Illinois is 2-0 in the Big Ten and 11-2 overall. Like Northwestern, the Illini defeated Maryland and Rutgers in straight sets to open up the Big Ten season. The Gophers may have caught a break in that Illinois must first travel to #19 Wisconsin on Wednesday who will be hungry; the Badgers are looking for their first Big Ten win a they lost 3-0 to Penn State and 3-2 Ohio State last week. Minnesota only play the Illini once last year, a 3-0 defeat in Champaign.
Go Gophers! Ski-U-Mah! #DigDeep and #PackThePav!
McCutcheon meets with the media (9/29) https://t.co/RhNo4ddaJK via @audioBoom— Minnesota Volleyball (@GopherVBall) September 29, 2015
ICYMI, check out the latest #SkiUMah Magazine, featuring #Gophers Santana & Rosado. http://t.co/RgBOdI7j8b pic.twitter.com/Un3wgsJKVG— Minnesota Volleyball (@GopherVBall) September 24, 2015
ICYMI, check out how @NicoleBranagh earned her degree following her #Gophers playing career. http://t.co/57ulLFZjcD pic.twitter.com/VafyWc9qUv— Minnesota Volleyball (@GopherVBall) September 25, 2015