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Minnesota Volleyball: Signing Day Recap and Weekend Preview

Gophers bolstered their roster for next season signing four athletes from the class of 2018. Minnesota travels to Indiana this weekend as they look to keep their win streak alive.

Signing Day Recap

While most of Minnesota’s roster will remain intact next season there will be openings for newcomers to join the lineup and the coaching staff signed some great athletes to fill those spots. Wednesday, on Signing Day, Minnesota signed Caroline “CC” McGraw, Adanna Rollins, Rebecca Rendahl, and Bayley McMenimen.

Minnesota’s top signee for the class of 2018 is an AVCA Under Armour First-Team All-American, libero, Caroline “CC” McGraw from Prior Lake. McGraw is the heir apparent to take over the libero spot from senior Dalianliz Rosado. PrepVolleyball tabbed her as the 17th best senior and was the first defensive specialist ranked in their top 100. McGraw was recently named Ms. Baden Player of Year in Minnesota.

Fellow signee Adanna Rollins is also an AVCA First-Team All-American. Rollins, 6’0, is from Carrolton, TX where she played outside for Hebron High School. This season she’s averaged 3.7 kills per set, hitting .304, and 4.0 digs per set. In 2016 she led Hebron to a state championship PrepVolleyball put Rollins at 33 in their senior rankings.

The Gophers also added Rebecca Rendahl from Murrieta Valley High school in CA. Renddahl is a 6’1 middle blocker. This season she’s averaged 2.7 kills per set, hitting .426. Rendahl was recognized as member of PrepVolleyball’s 150, top seniors who fall outside the top 100.

Rounding out this year’s recruiting class is Bayley McMenimen, a 5’9 setter. McMenimen has competed for junior German national championships but attended high school in Niceville, Florida. McMenimen was also named to PrepVolleyballs 150 list.

McGraw and Rollins will enroll in January.

As for the rest of the AVCA Under Armour All-Americans, Michigan, Michigan State, Oregon, and Penn State are all picking up four with the Ducks adding three first-teamers to their roster next season. Full recruiting class rankings will not be released until late spring.

Match Recap

Since the match against Wisconsin the Gophers (23-2, 12-2) have continued their winning ways, picking up four more wins,but that’s not to say there haven’t been close matches. Illinois pushed the Gophers to five sets and against Maryland two of the three sets were decided by the minimum two points. Otherwise Minnesota got an easy win over Rutgers and swept Ohio State.

During the match with the Buckeyes two Gophers hit milestones. Samantha Seliger-Swenson recorded her 4000th assist making her the 7th Gopher to do so and Molly Lohman posted her 500th block becoming the 7th Gopher to achieve the mark.

Stephanie Samedy was recognized by the conference last week as the Freshman of the Week after averaging 5.17 kills per set, hit .418, and tallied 20 digs in the wins over Maryland and Ohio State.

Weekend Preview

Minnesota has held up well through conference play since dropping two matches early. Alexis Hart has been dominant in conference play, averaging a league best 4.2 kills per set. Molly Lohman also has been a top performer in conference play, averaging 1.63 blocks per set. Offensively, Lohman has been showing off her range hitting behind the setter more often. The Gophers are in a good spot right now. Their one of the best defensive teams in the conference averaging a conference best 16.50 digs per set and third best 2.60 blocks per set. This will be important against Purdue if they can just extend rallies and frustrate their hitters who can be error prone at times. With three weeks in conference play left they’re second in the RPI and were slated at No. 3 seed by the selection in their in-season rankings.

Friday’s match with Purdue will be at 4:30 CT. Saturday, Minnesota faces IU at 6:00 CT. Both matches will only be on BTN+.

Key Players

class, height, position, # name , stats, (statistical rank nationally, in conference)
Positions: MB- middle blocker, OH- outside hitter, RS- right side 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. 6’3 OH 1 Jasmyn Martin- 2.19 K/S

Fr. 6’2 RS 10 Stephanie Samedy- 3.95 K/S (50, 3), .306, 3.0 D/S (12), 0.76 B/S

Jr. 5’11 S 11 Samantha Seliger-Swenson- 12.24 A/S (2, 1), 2.55 D/S, 0.28 SA/S (14)

Sr. 6’3 MB 13 Molly Lohman- .388 (34, 7), 1.44 B/S (18, 3), 0.29 SA/S (13)

Sr. 5’9 L 17 Dalianliz Rosado- 4.51 D/S (2)

So. 6’0 OH 19 Alexis Hart- 3.73 K/S (5), .284

Rs Fr. 6’5 MB 21 Regan Pittman- 2.27 K/S, .357 (9), 1.01 B/S (14)

Purdue Preview

The Boilermakers (18-7, 8-6) are hungry for an upset to boost their Tournament resume and they’ve been close a couple times taking Penn State and Nebraska to four sets. In both matches Danielle Cuttino was playing middle blocker. In the previous matchup with the Gophers Cuttino played outside. Purdue made the switch for the Penn State match and has stuck with it since. Freshman Caitlyn Newton has taken over the second outside hitter post with varying success. The new lineup makes Purdue so much better in the middle, more explosive offensively and a bigger block.

Key Players

Jr. 5’9 L 3 Brooke Peters- 3.63 D/S (9)

Sr. 6’1 S 5 Ashley Evans- 11.31 A/S (20, 3), 2.18 D/S, 0.25 SA/S (9)

So. 6’2 MB 9 Shavona Cuttino- 1.0 B/S

Sr. 6’0 OH 10 Azariah Stahl- 2.46 K/S, .252, 2.29 D/S, 0.25 SA/S

Jr. 6’5 OH 16 Sherridan Atkinson- 3.38 K/S (10), .348 (11)

So. 6’2 M 17 Blake Mohler- .326 (15), 0.90 B/S

Sr. 6’4 OH 20 Danielle Cuttino- 4.09 K/S (34, 2), .348 (10), 0.79 B/S

Indiana Preview

Indiana (12-14, 1-13) has won sets here and there but their only match win came in five sets over Rutgers. The Hoosiers just don’t have talent to keep pace in the Big Ten.

Key Players

So. 6’0 S 1 Victoria Brisack- 10.82 A/S, 0.32 SA/S

So. 5’8 DS 8 Meaghan Koors- 2.73 D/S

Jr. 5’6 DS 12 Samantha Fogg- 0.27 SA/S

Jr. 6’3 RS 14 Elizabeth Asdell- 2.37 K/S, .287

So. 6’2 MB 16 Deyshia Lofton- 2.26 K/S, .328, 1.02 B/S

So. 6’2OH 17 Kendall Beerman- 3.21 K/S, 2.47 D/S

Fr. 6’0 OH 22 Kamryn Malloy- 2.27 K/S

Conference Standings

Nebraska is set up to win the Big Ten even though they are currently tied with Penn State for 1st. The Huskers last five games are against teams in the bottom half of the league. Penn State still has to travel to Wisconsin and Minnesota.

National Rankings

Last week the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee released preliminary rankings, here’s how they compared to the AVCA rankings and RPI standings from last week.

Last Week’s Rankings Comparison

# AVCA RPI NCAA Selection Committee
# AVCA RPI NCAA Selection Committee
1 Penn State Penn State Penn State
2 Stanford Minnesota Nebraska
3 Texas Kentucky Minnesota
4 Florida Nebraska Stanford
5 Minnesota Florida Kentucky
6 Kentucky Texas Florida
7 Nebraska Stanford Texas
8 Wisconsin Wisconsin Washington
9 Michigan State Washington Oregon
10 BYU Oregon Wisconsin

11/6 AVCA Rankings

  1. Penn State (56)
  2. Stanford (8)
  3. Texas
  4. Florida
  5. Minnesota

(first-place votes)

Big Ten teams: #6 Nebraska, #8 Michigan State, #10 Wisconsin, #21 Purdue, RV Illinois. Minnesota is 7-1 against AVCA ranked teams this season.

11/5 RPI Standings

  1. Penn State
  2. Minnesota
  3. Florida
  4. Kentucky
  5. Nebraska

Big Ten: #10 Wisconsin, #15 Michigan State, #23 Illinois, #25 Purdue, #31 Ohio State, #34 Michigan, #43 Maryland, #44 Iowa, #82 Northwestern, #120 Indiana, #221 Rutgers. Minnesota has gone 14-2 against the current RPI top 50.