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Minnesota Volleyball: Rutgers and Penn State Preview

Gophers are 7-3 in conference after dropping a five-setter to #1 Nebraska. Minnesota needs a win over #10 Penn State to stay in the hunt for conference title.

Gophersports.com

Minnesota played two five-set matches last weekend and came away with one win; Minnesota beat Iowa and lost to #1 Nebraska. If Minnesota loses this weekend, they likely lose any chance of repeating as Big Ten Champs. The Gophers host Rutgers Friday evening at 7:00 CT. Saturday night Minnesota will take on #10 Penn State on BTN at 6:30 CT.

Iowa is much improved from last year and the Gophers had to battle back from a 2-1 deficit to get the win. Against Nebraska, Minnesota won the first set, but still found themselves down 2-1 going into the fourth set. The Gophers duked it out with Nebraska and won the fourth 25-22. Minnesota got down 5-0 in the fifth and was never able to recover, falling 15-8.

This weekend Minnesota can ease into things by first facing Rutgers (4-19, 0-10) before the rematch with Penn State (17-4, 9-1). Penn State just dropped their first B1G match last weekend at Michigan in five sets.

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- 1.14 B/S (8)

Sr. M 7 Hannah Tapp- 3.06 K/S (13), .347 (10), 1.07 B/S

Sr. OH 8 Sarah Wilhite- 4.13 K/S (40, 2), .291, 2.49 D/S, 0.28 SA/S (15)

So. S 11 Samantha Seliger-Swenson- 11.68 A/S (5, 1), 2.23 D/S, .63 B/S, 0.27 SA/S (15)

Jr. M 13 Molly Lohman- .359 (7), 1.38 B/S (22, 4)

Jr. L 17 Dalianliz Rosado- 3.97 D/S (7)

Fr. OH 19 Alexis Hart- 3.01 K/S (15), .273

Rutgers Preview

Rutgers doesn’t have the talent necessary to be competitive in the Big Ten. The Scarlet Knights are last in the B1G in every team statistical category except blocks. Against some conference teams the Scarlet Knights have only managed five points in a set, and have only won one set against a Big Ten opponent.

Key Players

Jr. OH 5 Meme Fletcher- 2.62 K/S, 2.13 D/S

Sr. Opp 8 Cole Trimble- 0.67 B/S

Fr. L 15 Karysa Swackenberg- 3.05 D/S (13), 0.29 SA/S (14)

So. MB 14 Tiaja McKnight- 1.03 B/S

Sr. Opp 17 Lauren Cloyd- 2.23 K/S, 0.9 B/S

Fr. MB 18 Jasmine Stackhouse- 1.11 B/S (13)

Sr. MB 23 Mikaela Matthews- .329, 1.13 B/S (10)

Penn State Preview

Penn State is fresh off a loss to Michigan which ended their 15-game win streak. They also will have been kicked around by Wisconsin Friday night and may not be as fresh as Minnesota come Saturday. Minnesota needs this win to stay in the conference title conversation. In the last matchup Simone Lee was devastating, putting down 30 kills hitting at a .333 clip. This was topped however by Haleigh Washington’s .700 effort, converting 14 kills.

Key Players

Fr. L 3 Kendall White- 3.71D/S (9)

Jr. OH 5 Ali Frantti- 2.31 K/S

Jr. S 7 Abby Detering- 10.69 A/S (41, 6), 2.08 D/S, 0.3 SA/S (13)

Rs Fr. MB 11 Tori Gorrell- .383, 1.12 B/S (9)

Jr. MB 15 Haleigh Washington- 2.42 K/S, .468 (2,1), 1.1 B/S (14)

Jr. MB 19 Heidi Thelen- .297, 0.77 B/S

Jr. OH 22 Simone Lee- 4.19 K/S (34, 1), .302

The middles will be key in this match-up. If Paige, Hannah, and Lohman get a lot of attempts and can convert Minnesota should be able to then control the net. It will also be important for them, blocking, to slow down Washington and Lee. Minnesota will also need Alexis Hart to carry her weight and limit her hittting errors as she hit only .132 in the first meeting.

This match is already sold out, if you don’t have a ticket be sure and tune in to BTN at 6:30 CT.

Big Ten Standings

AVCA Rankings

Top 5

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

Big Ten teams:

10. Penn State

13. Michigan

15. Michigan State

19. Ohio State

T-24. Illinois

Receiving votes- Purdue

RPI Standings

Top 5

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

Big Ten Teams in top 40:

6. Michigan

14. Michigan State

18. Purdue

22. Penn State

24. Ohio State