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Minnesota Volleyball: Northwestern Preview

Light weekend for the Gophers as they take on Northwestern Sunday


Before we get to the volleyball coverage I’d like to introduce myself. I am the new writer for volleyball here on The Daily Gopher. I just moved to Minnesota this fall for grad school at the U. In May I graduated from Purdue where I covered volleyball and women’s basketball for Hammer & Rails. I am an Indiana native and lifelong Purdue fan. Besides the Boilers I’m a fan of the Colts, Pacers, Red Wings, and Tigers. So far I am enjoying life in Minnesota and am growing to like the Minnesota teams. I’m excited to join The Daily Gopher and am looking forward to possible repeat Big Ten title and deep tournament run for the Gophers this season.

Minnesota (12-2, 3-1) played a tough match Wednesday night in State College falling to Penn State in five sets. They will face a less talented team, Northwestern, Sunday afternoon at 2:00 at the Pav.

The Gophers will look to rebound from a tough loss to Penn State. At times it looked like Minnesota was in control against the Nittany Lions. Up two sets to one in the fourth set Minnesota went on an early run. Unfortunately the lead quickly vanished as Penn State roared back with a vengeance winning the set 25-14. The teams traded points in the early going of the fifth set. Penn State, though, got a boost when the refs called a ball down, even though the Gophers clearly got it up. Unable to review it Penn State took the momentum and later the set, 15-10.

Match Preview

This match against Northwestern comes at a good time, the team was able to take a day off after the Penn State match. The rest should help them Sunday and this Wednesday against the Badgers. Against Northwestern the team should be able to reset, get back in rhythm, and clean up mistakes from Wednesday.

Key Players

class, position, #, name- stats, (statistical rank nationally, in the conference)
Postions: MB- 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

Fr. OH 19 Alexis Hart- 3.04 K/S, .288

So. S 11 Samantha Seliger-Swenson- 11.72 A/S (6, 1), 2.14 D/S, .66 B/S, 0.26 SA/S

Jr. MB 13 Molly Lohman- .343 (13), 1.26 B/S (50, 6)

Jr. L 17 Dalianliz Rosado- 3.94 D/S (6)

Sr. MB 7 Hannah Tapp- 3.13 K/S, .366 (5), 1.04 B/S

Sr. MB 4 Paige Tapp- 1.27 B/S (49, 5)

Sr. OH 8 Sarah Wilhite- 4.1 K/S (42, 3), .317, 2.49 D/S, 0.28 SA/S


Northwestern is a weak team that doesn’t have the depth of talent to be competitive in the ruthless Big Ten. The Wildcats are 7-12, 0-5 in conference play. Symone Abbott leads Northwestern, but doesn't have much help around her.

Key Players

Jr. S 1 Taylor Tashima- 8.49 A/S (12), 2.1 D/S

Jr. OH 2 Symone Abbott- 4.11 K/S (41, 2), 0.25 SA/S

So. L 7 Katie Kniep- 3.61 D/S (10)

Jr. MB 8 Gabrielle Hazen- 2.13 K/S, .287, 0.72 B/S

Sr. MB 11 Maddie Slater- .325, 1.03 B/S

Sr. OH 16 Sofia Lavin- 0.32 SA/S

Rs Fr. DS 17 Kaitlin Tavarez- 2.18 D/S

B1G Standings

RPI Rankings

The NCAA has released the first RPI rankings of the season. RPI is the primary tool used for selecting at-large bids.

Top 5

  1. Wisconsin
  2. Minnesota
  3. Texas
  4. Nebraska
  5. Stanford

Big Ten teams in the top 40

7. Purdue

12. Michigan

19. Michigan State

30. Penn State

31. Ohio State

40. Indiana

AVCA Rankings

Nebraska’s loss last week to Ohio State shuffled the top three teams bumping Minnesota and Wisconsin up a spot each. Minnesota unfortunately will relinquish the top spot, but likely stay in the top five in the new rankings released Monday.

Top 5

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

Big Ten Teams

14. Ohio State

15. Penn State

17. Purdue

21. Michigan State

23. Michigan

24. Illinois

Going forward we’ll have separate match previews and recaps each week.