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Minnesota Volleyball: Iowa and Nebraska Preview

Gophers are back on the road to face the #1 ranked team for the second week in the row. Minnesota faces Iowa and #1 Nebraska this weekend; both matches will be on BTN.

After the win over then #1 Wisconsin, Minnesota looked ripe to retake the #1 spot, but stumbled against #14 Michigan State. Good news, Gophers have another shot at #1 this week. Friday night at 6:00 CT Minnesota will take on Iowa (15-5, 5-3) on BTN. Sunday afternoon at 1:00 CT the Gophers face #1 Nebraska (16-1, 7-1) on BTN.

Key Players

class, position, # name , stats, (statistical rank nationally, in the conference)
Postions: M- middle blocker, OH- outside hitter, Opp- opposite hitter, DS- defensive specialist, L- libero, S- setter
Stats: K/S- kills/set, B/S- blocks/set, D/S- digs/set. .000- hitting percentage, A/S- assists/set SA/S- service aces/set

Sr. M 4 Paige Tapp- .264, 1.22 B/S (7)

Sr. M 7 Hannah Tapp- 3.17 K/S (12), .370 (44, 7), 1.09 B/S (14)

Sr. OH 8 Sarah Wilhite- 4.1 K/S (38, 2), .302, 2.59 D/S, 0.3 SA/S (12)

So. S 11 Samantha Seliger-Swenson- 11.69 A/S (6, 1), 2.23 D/S, .64 B/S, 0.26 SA/S

Jr. M 13 Molly Lohman- .356 (8), 1.34 B/S (28, 5)

Jr. L 17 Dalianliz Rosado- 3.8 D/S (6)

Fr. OH 19 Alexis Hart- 2.95 K/S, .273

The back row situation, still seems to be fluid as McCutcheon used both Sophie Beckley and Katie Schau against MSU. Both Molly Lohman and Paige Tapp have fared well in conference play, posting .476 and .294 hitting percentages respectively against conference foes.

Also of note, last week Paige and Hannah Tapp were named as two of 30 honorees for the Senior CLASS award; later the 30 candidates will be cut down to 10 finalists.

Iowa Preview

Iowa is much improved since last season, and a friendly Big Ten schedule has allowed them to rack up five conference wins; one win was over then #17 Purdue. Otherwise Iowa has struggled against ranked opponents, and has yet to face any of the three B1G teams who are in the top five. The Hawkeyes are very balanced and the team hits .280. Setter Loxley Keala does a good job mixing up the hitters and trails only Samantha Seliger-Swenson in assists per set among conference setters. One weakness for Iowa however is blocking which Minnesota should be able to exploit. The Hawkeyes average 1.98 blocks per set, while the Gophers have nearly a one block advantage, 2.87 blocks per set.

Key Players

Sr. MB/OH 4 Ashley Mariani- .328, 0.75 B/S

Rs Fr. OH/Opp 5 Meghan Buzzerio- 2.45 K/S

So. Opp 8 Reghan Coyle- 2.06 K/S, .333, 0.83 B/S

Jr. L 9 Annika Olsen- 3.86 D/S (5)

Sr. S 10 Loxley Keala- 11.14 A/S (20, 2), 2.25 D/S

Sr. OH 18 Lauren Brobst- 3.07 K/S (14), .279

Jr. MB 29 Jess Janota- 2.32 K/S, .334 (15), 0.88 B/S

Nebraska Preview

Tough weekend for the #1 Huskers as they host #3 Minnesota and #4 Wisconsin, albeit it should be easier than taking on Minnesota and Wisconsin on the road. This weekend could very well be a preview of things to come, as we might see these three teams squaring off in Columbus this December at the Final Four. Right now the Badgers and Huskers are tied for second in the conference with only one conference loss. The Gophers are next in line with two losses. The team who stands to benefit the most from this might be Penn State. As Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Minnesota duke it out this weekend, Penn State can just watch as perhaps their lead on the rest of the conference grows. Regardless of whether this is the case for Penn State, they won’t be safe for long as they run the gauntlet of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Nebraska all in a row starting next weekend.

Key Players

So. OH 2 Mikaela Foecke- 2.65 K/S, .295

Jr. S 3 Kelly Hunter- 10.93 A/S (24, 4), 2.18 D/S, 0.93 B/S, 0.32 SA/S (10)

Sr. L 4 Justine Wong-Orantes- 3.75 D/S (8)

Sr. MB 5 Amber Rolfzen- .311, 1.47 B/S (14, 3)

Sr. OH 6 Kadie Rolfzen- 3.49 K/S (9), .342 (12), 2.49 D/S, 0.88 B/S, 0.26 SA/S

Sr. OH 9 Andie Malloy- 2.54 K/S

Jr. MB 13 Briana Holman- 2.25 K/S, .325 (9), 1.12 B/S (12)

Jr. OH 17 Annika Albrecht- 0.28 SA/S (15)

As much talent as it takes to win a National Championship, the Huskers might have more this season than last. The Huskers are skilled at every position. Consequently they are top five in the conference in every major team statistic except two. They lead the conference with 3.0 blocks per set in league matches; due in large part to Amber Rolfzen who has averaged 1.71 stuffs each set in conference play. Her twin Kadie is versatile playing all six rotations to lead the Huskers.

The Gophers will have to bring their best stuff if they’re going to get out of Lincoln with a win. Minnesota can neutralize Nebraska’s block with their speed and balance. Seliger-Swenson does a tremendous job anticipating the block and putting up a good ball for the hitters. This should be an entertaining match; hopefully Minnesota can deal Nebraska their second home loss of the season.

B1G Standings

RPI Rankings

Top 5

  1. Wisconsin
  2. Texas
  3. Nebraska
  4. Minnesota
  5. North Carolina

Big Ten teams in the top 40

9. Michigan State

10. Michigan

12. Purdue

19. Penn State

29. Ohio State

AVCA Rankings

#3 Minnesota’s win over #1 Wisconsin guaranteed a new #1 this week. Unfortunately the Gophers lost their claim to it when they lost to #14 Michigan State. So instead Nebraska moved into #1 as they avenged their loss to Ohio State. Texas, this week, broke up the Big Ten’s stranglehold on the top three.

Top 5

  1. Nebraska
  2. Texas
  3. Minnesota
  4. Wisconsin
  5. San Diego

Big Ten Teams

9. Penn State

11. Michigan State

T-16. Michigan

19. Ohio State

22. Illinois

24. Purdue