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Gophers Beat Nebraska and Take Over First in the Big Ten

Minnesota dropped a set for the first time in six matches as they dealt the Huskers their first conference lost, taking sole possession of first in the Big Ten.

No. 5 Minnesota (12-2, 6-0) served tough and kept the pressure on No. 3 Nebraska (14-2, 5-1) all night long as they prevailed in four sets; 25-20, 23-25, 25-14, 25-21. The Gophers had four aces on the night and were able to score on a handful of overpasses and free balls.

Minnesota outhit Nebraska .280-.194 on the night utilizing an incredibly balanced attack. Nearly every hitter posted double-digit kills as Regan Pittman was just one short with nine. Samantha Seliger-Swenson was effective offensively too converting on six of her seven dump attempts.

Adanna Rollins led Minnesota with 17 kills, nine digs, and four blocks. Taylor Morgan made her presence known hitting .500 tallying 13 kills and four blocks. Alexis Hart finished with 11 kills. Stephanie Samedy tallied a double-double with 10 kills and 18 digs, not to mention three aces and .296 hitting.

Samantha Seliger-Swenson also had a double-double with 45 assists and 14 digs. CC McGraw also had herself a double-double with 13 digs and 10 assists. Lauren Barnes was the second leading passer with 17 digs.

The Gophers led wire to wire in set one and benefited from a string of Husker hitting errors which gave Minnesota some breathing room. Minnesota was up 13-12 when Adanna Rollins and Taylor Morgan combined for a block; this was the first of four Husker hitting errors which put Minnesota in front 17-12. Nebraska would draw within two twice but the Gopher answered each time. Rollins and Morgan both started the match strong tallying five kills each in set one as the team hit .350.

The Gophers got down early in set two, 10-5, due to some serve receive issues but were able to slowly work themselves back into the set, even taking the lead. A 6-2 run which saw four different Gophers put down kills put Minnesota in front 20-18. Nebraska though was dialed in on the block getting three blocks late in the set as they closed the set on a 6-3 run.

While it has been Lauren Barnes and Samantha Seliger-Swenson who have provided the big service runs in the last few matches, Saturday night it was Stephanie Samedy’s turn. A Rollins kill made the score 13-11 and sent Samedy back to the service. The score was 23-12 when Nebraska finally scored a point. Samedy served up three aces and otherwise made it impossible for Nebraska to run their offense as they committed four hitting errors. The Gophers also were lucky early in the run after Rollins’ swing sailed long Nebraska was called for a net violation which extended the run.

An early run by the Gophers was the difference in the final set which was an offensive slugfest; both teams hit over .400. Minnesota broke a 4-all tie with a 5-1 run. Regan Pittman started it off with a kill. After hitting into the block she successfully covered herself sending a tip over on one that hit the floor. The Gophers also got two kills from Rollins an another from Pittman, this time an overpass kill which closed the run. From there Minnesota just played steady, trading blows with the Huskers. Samedy and Rollins led Minnesota with five kills each.

The rematch will be October 20th at the Pav; it is already sold out.

Northwestern Recap

Minnesota had little trouble dispatching the Wildcats in three sets; 25-19, 25-17, 25-15. The Gophers led in every statistical category outhitting Northwestern .390-.117.

Minnesota came out on fire hitting .500 in set one. The Gophers were down early but a 5-0 run put them in front 9-5. In set two it took Minnesota longer to break it open, again using a 5-0 run to gain some separation, 19-13. The Gophers were able to coast to the finish in set two after getting up 10-3 early.

Taylor Morgan led Minnesota as one of a trio of hitters who hit over .400. Morgan had 11 kills and three blocks while hitting .563. Fellow middle Regan Pittman has equally impressive with eight kills and four blocks, two solo, and .500 hitting. Stephanie Samedy hit .417. Samantha Seliger-Swenson put up 30 assists to go with three aces. Libero CC McGraw also had three aces to go with a team-leading nine digs.

This weekend the Gophers will face Illinois and Northwestern at home in the Pav.

Big Ten Standings

The Gophers are alone at the top.

Big Ten Honors

Samantha Seliger-Swenson picked up her 14th Big Ten Setter of the Week Honor today, sharing it with Michigan’s MacKenzi Welsh. Seliger-Swenson averaged 10.71 assists and 2.8 over the weekend while leading the team to a .335 hitting percentage on the weekend.

Adanna Rollins was recognized as the conference’s Freshman of the Week. Rollins averaged 3.4 kills per set which led all Gopher hitters. She also had 2.29 digs per set to go with five blocks on the weekend.

Senior CLASS Award

Samantha Seliger-Swenson is one of five candidates for the Senior CLASS Award from the Big Ten. She’s joined by Illinois’ Ali Bastianelli and Jordyn Poulter, Michigan’s Carly Skjodt, and Nebraska’s Mikaela Foecke. The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists later on.

AVCA Rankings

  1. BYU (60)
  2. Stanford (4)
  3. Minnesota
  4. Texas
  5. Nebraska

7. Illinois

8. Wisconsin

9. Penn State

13. Michigan

17. Purdue

RV: Iowa

After the road win, the Gophers flip-flopped with Nebraska. Wisconsin only dropped two spots after falling to Iowa in five on the road. Michigan rose to No. 13 from No. 16 after a commanding sweep over then No. 14 Purdue. Oregon is right back in the top 15, No. 14, after sweeping then No. 17 UCLA and No. 12 USC on the road; both UCLA and USC fell three spots this week. The Big Ten Trails the Pac-12 8-7 in teams in the Top 25.