After sweeping North Dakota and Hawaii last weekend, Minnesota (27-4, 17-3) faces the Co-SEC champion Missouri Tigers (27-5, 16-2). Missouri swept Northern Illinois before besting Purdue in four sets to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
Mizzou came in at No. 9 in the last RPI rankings and 18th in the latest AVCA poll. This year is the Tigers 13th NCAA Tournament appearance, all of which have came during, current coaches, Wayne and Susan Kreklow’s tenure. The Tigers are 12-12 in tournament play, last season they advanced to the second round where they lost to Kansas.
Missouri is 7-2 on the road this season, one loss coming at Texas A&M who is the only common opponent for the Tigers and Gophers; Minnesota swept A&M in Puerto Rico earlier this season. Mizzou is 3-1 against teams in the top 25 beating Kentucky twice and No. 5 Florida. Their lone loss to a ranked opponent was to No. 10 BYU.
The Tigers are led by their outside hitters Melanie Crow and Carly Kan who both play six rotations. Crow has a big arm swing which she also uses at the service line, unleashing a vicious top-spin jump serve. Kan is undersized at only 5’9, but has a good vertical and a big swing. She also is a very intelligent, crafty hitter who picks her shots and spots judiciously. Crow and Kan are a part of the offense in all six rotations and allow Mizzou to pick up some points on some of out of system balls. They are complemented by a couple of effective middle blockers and right pin hitter.
This week numerous Gophers were honored by the AVCA North region, Alexis Hart was Freshman of the year. Hart along with Sarah Wilhite, Hannah Tapp, and Samantha Seliger-Swenson were named All-Region and are now eligible for national All-American honors. Molly Lohman and Paige Tapp were honorable mention. Paige was also named a First Team Academic All-American this week.
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
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
Jr. OH 1 Melanie Crow^- 4.01 K/S (50), .263, 2.15 D/S, 0.44 SA/S (21)
Sr. MB 2 Emily Thater- .303, 0.92 B/S
Jr. S 4 Courtney Eckenrode- 9.81 A/S
So. MB 8 Alyssa Munlyn^- .427 (4), 1.26
Sr. OH 9 Carly Kan^- 3.09 K/S, 3.05 D/S
Jr. Opp/MB 10 Kira Larson- 2.15 K/S, .310, 0.72 B/S
Sr. L 13 Alexa Ethridge- 3.75 D/S
^ All-SEC selection
# Head Coach Wayne Krecklow was named SEC Coach of the Year
No. 7 North Carolina and No. 10 UCLA will square off in the second match on ESPNU.
Six of the eight B1G teams in the tournament advanced; Purdue lost to Missouri, and No. 9 Michigan State was upset by Arizona in the second round. There are two Big Ten-Big Ten matchups in the Sweet Sixteen No. 1 Nebraska-No. 16 Penn State and No. 3 Wisconsin-Ohio State. So far only four four the top sixteen seeds have been eliminated; No. 9 Michigan State, No. 14 Kansas State who lost to Ohio State, No. 11 Florida who lost to Florida State, and No. 5 Kansas was upset by Creighton.