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Minnesota Volleyball: Gophers Best Mizzou in Four

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It took four sets for the No. 2 Gophers to take down No. 15 Missouri as they advance to the regional final to play No. 10 UCLA

Gophersports.com

Outstanding effort across the board helped Minnesota as they overwhelmed the Tigers over four sets. Samantha Seliger-Swenson did a tremendous job distributing the ball as every hitter finished with double figure kills and hit over .250. The back line was exceptional as well; every passer but one had double digit digs.

Minnesota came out strong in the first set with a 8-1 run to go in front, as they took advantage of some Tiger hitting errors and Paige Tapp and Alexis Hart got going offensively with two kills each. Minnesota went up eight, 15-7, but Mizzou stormed back to cut it to three with a five point run. The Gophers cleaned up the errors answered with a 5-0 run of their own, before going on to win 25-15.

The two teams played close til the middle of the second set when both teams were able to sustain some runs. Mizzou had the first run, 6-1, to go up 14-10. The Gophers responded with a six point run to take the lead back. The Tigers answered with a 5-1 run to give them a 19-17 lead. Minnesota got kills from Alexis Hart and Sarah Wilhite to tie the set, but couldn’t do anything else. Mizzou closed the set on a 6-2 run, winning 25-21.

In the third set, the Gophers grew their lead, little, by little, then held off the Tigers down the stretch. Hannah Tapp fueled a four point run that gave Minnesota a 9-3 lead with three kills. On the last play of the run Dalianliz Rosado made a great one-armed stab at the ball for a great dig to keep a rally going. Later, Missouri cut Minnesota’s eight point lead to four, 14-10, with a run on Melanie Crow’s serve. Later, Missouri threatened again with a three point run to cut the lead to three, 18-15, but stopped themselves with a service error. Minnesota went on to win 25-19.

The Gophers could not be stopped in the fourth set hitting .667, committing only one attack error. Minnesota didn’t break it open til the back half of the set. Up 13-11, the Gophers scored 12 of the last 15 points to win 25-14. The Gophers were strong at the net getting nine kills over the stretch and two blocks.

Sarah Wilhite led the Minnesota offense with 16 kills hitting .283. Hannah Tapp and Molly Lohman both hit .500 finishing with 14 kills and four blocks and 11 kills and three blocks respectively. Paige Tapp also had 14 kills, hitting .423, and pulled up nine digs. Alexis Hart rounded out the offense with 10 kills and .259 hitting. Dalianliz Rosado led the defense with 15 digs. Katie Schau finished 14 digs and Alyssa Goehner had 12. Samantha Seliger-Swenson racked up a double-double with 52 assists and 10 digs. The Gophers hit .351 and had seven stuff blocks.

The Gophers will take on No. 10 UCLA who outlasted No. 7 North Carolina in four tough sets. The match will be at 9:00 CT on ESPNU.

UCLA is 27-6 on the season. They finished second in the Pac-12, 15-5, behind Washington. In the last AVCA poll the Bruins were 8th and 12th in the RPI rankings. During the regular season they faced 12 teams ranked in the AVCA top 25, going 9-3, losing to San Diego, Colorado, and Washington, but also sweeping the season series with Stanford. The Cardinal and San Diego were among three common opponents for UCLA and Minnesota; the other was Hawaii. The Gophers beat SD, lost to Stanford and both teams beat Hawaii. The Bruins have the edge in the series with Minnesota 4-1, and won the last match-up in 2003 in a sweep. UCLA is 11-4 in road matches and has won at Minnesota in the only matchup between the teams at the Sports Pavilion.

The Bruins made to the Elite Eight by beating Murray State, Baylor and North Carolina. The UCLA program has four national titles; the most recent was won in 2011. This is the Bruins 34th NCAA Tournament appearance going 88-30 over the years. Coach Michael Sealy is in his 7th year.

Coach Hugh McCutcheon’s wife, Elisabeth ‘Wiz’ Bachman, was a standout for the Bruins in the late 90s.

This year’s Bruins are led by their pin hitters. UCLA also has decent size ranging from 6’0-6’6. Different from most teams, the Bruins run a 6-2 scheme. One of the setters, Ryann Chandler, took an interesting path to UCLA, and despite being a junior eligibility wise she will graduate this year and defer her last year; read about her here. Chandler is the teams top server with 26 aces. Anchoring a stout Bruin defense is two-time Pac-12 Libero of the Year Taylor Formico, with over five digs per set. As a team UCLA is sixth best in the country pulling up 17.84 digs per set.

Key Players

class, position, # name , stats, (statistical rank nationally)

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

Minnesota

Sr. M 4 Paige Tapp- 2.03 K/S, .303, 1.08 B/S

Sr. M 7 Hannah Tapp*- 2.71 K/S, .321, 1.04 B/S

Sr. OH 8 Sarah Wilhite*P- 4.18 K/S (37), .296, 2.63 D/S

So. S 11 Samantha Seliger-Swenson*S- 11.55 A/S (8), 2.35 D/S, 0.27 SA/S

Jr. M 13 Molly Lohman^- .367 (36), 1.40 B/S (20)

Jr. L 17 Dalianliz Rosado- 4.03 D/S

Fr. OH 19 Alexis Hart!- 2.84 K/S

* All-Big Ten selection

^ All-Big Ten Honorable Mention

! Big Ten All-Freshman selection

P Big Ten Player of the Year

S Big Ten Setter of the Year

UCLA

Sr. OH 1 Jordan Anderson~- 3.12 K/S

Jr. OH 3 Reilly Buechler~- 3.27 K/S, 2.21 D/S

Fr. OH/Opp 5 Torrey Van Winden+F- 2.94 K/S, .282, 0.68 B/S

Fr. S 6 Kylie Miller- 5.66 A/S

So. OH/Opp 7 Zana Muno- 2.63 D/S

Sr. MB 8 Claire Felix- .350, 0.82 B/S

Sr. MB 10 Jennie Frager+- 2.19 K/S, .348, 1.14 B/S

Sr. L 11 Taylor Formico+L- 5.07 D/S (24)

Jr. S 12 Ryann Chandler- 7.41 A/S, 2.15 D/S

+ All Pac-12

~ All Pac-12 Honorable Mention

F Pac-12 All-Freshman selection

L Pac-12 Libero of the year

The other three regional hosts, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Texas, were all pushed to five sets before advancing. Creighton continued their run of upsets and five set matches, beating No. 12 Michigan. The Bluejays are the only unranked team left.