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Minnesota Volleyball: Michigan State and Michigan Preview

The Gophers are in Michigan this week as they look to pick up their twelfth and thirteenth consecutive wins and stay perfect in conference play.

No. 3 Minnesota (16-2, 10-0) defended home court last weekend sweeping Iowa and picking up a four-set win over Nebraska. This weekend they’ll face the Michigan schools. Friday at 5:00 on BTN they’ll take on Michigan State. Then Saturday at 6:00 on BTN+ they’ll face No. 12 Michigan.

Minnesota just keeps rolling along taking down one team after another with excellent defense and a powerful, balanced offensive attack. Everyone that sees the floor for Minnesota makes big plays and one bad performance from one athlete doesn’t sink the team. Offensively the Gophers are lighting up conference teams averaging 15.75 kills per set, a whole kill better than the next closest team. Defensively, the Gophers 2.5 digs better than the next closest league team with 17.91 per set. Teams are hitting away from CC McGraw more and more and the rest of the team is picking up the slack. Lauren Barnes who is only on the floor for three rotations has averaged almost 3.5 digs per set in conference play. It’s not just the defensive specialists who are making plays either, Samantha Seliger-Swenson, Stephanie Samedy, and Adanna Rollins all average nearly three digs per set.

Key Players

class, height, position, # name, stats, (in the Big Ten) **stats from conference play**
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

So. 5’6 DS 2 Lauren Barnes- 3.44 D/S (12), 0.34 SA/S (7)

Fr. 5’9 L 7 CC McGraw- 4.0 D/S (8)

So. 6’2 RS 10 Stephanie Samedy- 3.56 K/S (10), .320 (9), 2.94 D/S, 0.91 B/S

Jr. 6’0 MB 12 Taylor Morgan- 2.72 K/S, .382 (3), 1.03 B/S (10)

Sr. 5’11 S 13 Samantha Seliger-Swenson- 12.22 A/S (1), 2.97 D/S, 0.47 SA/S (2)

Jr. 6’0 OH 19 Alexis Hart- 3.16 K/S (14), .291 (15)

Fr. 6’0 OH 20 Adanna Rollins- 3.38 K/S (11), 2.84 D/S

So. 6’5 MB 21 Regan Pittman- 2.03 K/S, .325 (8), 1.09 B/S (8)


Michigan (18-3, 7-3) has gone largely untested through the first half of conference play and so they find themselves in fourth in the Big Ten Standings. Their only upset so far in conference play came against then No. 14 Purdue, although the Boilers barely showed up as Michigan trounced them in a quick sweep. Michigan nearly knocked off Illinois in five, but they’ve also had to go five sets with Indiana and Ohio State. The Wolverines have two great outside hitters otherwise they don’t have many consistent performers on offense. The Gophers should be able to key in on Jones and Skjodt and offensively take advantage of a weak block.

Key Players

Fr. 6’1 OH 1 Paige Jones- 3.03 K/S (15), 0.34 SA/S (6)

Jr. 6’1 S 9 MacKenzi Welsh- 10.87 A/S (6), 2.28 D/S

Sr. 5’6 L 10 Jenna Lerg- 4.85 D/S (1)

Sr. 5’10 S 14 Maddy Abbott- 0.28 SA/S (12)

Sr. 6’1 OH 18 Carly Skjodt- 4.56 K/S (1), .297 (12), 2.38 D/S

*There are two Minnesota natives on the Michigan roster, Grace Persson from Eden Prairie and Kayla Bair from Prior Lake. Both played on the same club team as CC McGraw while Bair also was her teammate at Prior Lake High School.

Michigan State

The Spartans (15-8, 3-7) are starting from scratch this season as the departure of last year’s graduating class left the cupboards bare. This season their Big Ten wins have come against Rutgers, IU, and Maryland. Last weekend they gave Northwestern their first conference win as they got swept by the Wildcats. Many of the Spartans start with serve-pass as they are last is aces per set in the conference play and they’re 11th in aces by opponents per set.

Key Players

So. 5’6 L 4 Jayme Cox- 3.3 D/S (15)

Jr. 5’10 S 7 Maggie Midgette- 4.79 A/S

Sr. 6’2 OH 9 Maddie Haggerty- 2.52 K/S

So. 6’2 OH 11 Alyssa Chronowski*- 3.65 K/S (8), .246, 0.81 B/S

Fr. 6’1 S 12 Elena Shklyar- 8.49 A/S (11)

Fr. 6’3 MB 17 Naya Gros- .257, 1.16 B/S (5)

Fr. 6’2 MB 21 Rebecka Poljan- 0.92 B/S (15)

Big Ten Honors

Samantha Seliger-Swenson picked up her fifth consecutive Setter of the Week Honor this week and Adanna Rollins was recognized as the Freshman of the Week.

Senior CLASS Award

Seliger-Swenson is a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award which was announced yesterday. You can now vote for her here.

Big Ten Standings

AVCA Rankings

  1. BYU (58)
  2. Stanford (6)
  3. Minnesota
  4. Penn State
  5. Pittsburgh
  6. Illinois
  7. Wisconsin
  8. Texas
  9. Nebraska
  10. Creighton

12. Michigan

17. Purdue

Nebraska has lost four of their last five matches which has dropped them to No. 9. The Pac-12 also has seven teams in the Top 25. Unlike the Big Ten where there is incredible depth at the top in the Pac-12 their depth is in the middle of the conference. After Stanford the next ranked Pac-12 team is No.15 USC. BYU and Pittsburgh are still undefeated.

RPI Standings

  1. Stanford
  2. BYU
  3. Illinois
  4. Texas
  5. Pittsburgh

7. Minnesota

8. Wisconsin

11. Michigan

13. Purdue

14. Penn State

15. Nebraska

45. Ohio State

46. Iowa

58. Northwestern

60. Indiana

67. Maryland

77. Michigan State

192. Rutgers