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Minnesota Volleyball: Maryland and Ohio State Preview

The Gophers can officially clinch the Big Ten Championship this weekend.

Gopher Athletics - Brace Hemmelgarn

Minnesota (22-2, 16-0) has run the table thus far and are closing in on the conference title. Last weekend they swept Indiana and Purdue and will look to do the same this weekend as they head east to face Maryland and Ohio State.

Against the Hoosiers Minnesota had little trouble as they controlled the match from start to finish winning 25-12, 25-17, 25-22. The Gophers outhit IU .324-.145. Minnesota passed well and Samantha Seliger-Swenson spectacular as usual finding her middles in transition as Regan Pittman led Minnesota with 11 kills hitting .350 and Taylor Morgan had nine kills on 15 swings with one error, .533. Stephanie Samedy also hit over .500 as she had 10 kills on 19 error-less attempts. She also had a double-double with 10 digs and was the leading blocker and server with four and two respectively. Seliger-Swenson posted 36 assists. Lauren Barnes led in the back row with 11 digs

Purdue didn’t play great against the Gophers but it didn’t seem like it would’ve made a difference if they had. Minnesota hit .344 and served up six aces as they won 25-10, 25-23, 25-19. Four Gophers had eight or more kills led by Samedy’s 10. Regan Pittman was 8-13 with no errors hitting .615 while also recording four blocks. Adanna Rollins hit .500, 9-1-16. Seliger-Swenson put up 27 assists and CC McGraw led in digs and aces with 12 and two respectively.

Early in the week, the plan was for Coach Hugh McCutcheon to miss the Purdue match to attend the International Volleyball Hall of Fame induction ceremony. McCutcheon though changed his mind Tuesday forgoing the ceremony to be with the team as McCutcheon rationalized that the match was too important to miss and with his team was where he needed to be. After the match, a wonderful video was shown featuring past and present colleagues and players expressing their congratulations and admiration for the Coach. His sister and mother were in attendance at the match from London and New Zealand and Hugh said they will make it out to Massachusetts at some point.

Friday’s match will be at 5:30 against the Maryland Terrapins on BTN+. Saturday Minnesota will face Ohio State at 6:00 on BTN+.

At this point its business as usual for the Gophers; pass well, spread the ball around, tough defense, and low error. Neither team this weekend is going to present too much of a challenge. Maryland plays hard but they don’t have the depth to hang with Gophers.

Key Players

class, height, position, # name, stats, (statistical rank nationally, in the Big Ten)
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- 2.63 D/S (12), 0.3 SA/S (11)

Fr. 5’9 L 7 CC McGraw- 4.01 D/S (10)

So. 6’2 RS 10 Stephanie Samedy- 3.51 K/S (10), .290, 2.89 D/S, 0.82 B/S

Jr. 6’0 MB 12 Taylor Morgan- 2.53 K/S, .383 (29, 5), 1.14 B/S (10)

Sr. 5’11 S 13 Samantha Seliger-Swenson- 11.71 A/S (8, 2), 2.69 D/S, 0.33 SA/S (6)

Jr. 6’0 OH 19 Alexis Hart- 2.97 K/S, .240

Fr. 6’0 OH 20 Adanna Rollins- 2.59 K/S, .261, 2.83 D/S

So. 6’5 MB 21 Regan Pittman- 2.56 K/S, .402 (11, 2), 1.15 B/S (9)

Maryland

The Terrapins have been playing better as of late. Last weekend they were able to knock off then No. 15 Michigan on the road in three sets. Even so, they can be error prone and they’re fairly one-dimensional. If Erika Pritchard is off they’re sunk.

Key Players

So. 6’1 S 1 Nicole Alford- 9.93 A/S (9)

Fr. 6’3 MB 2 Rainelle Jones- .261, 0.94 B/S

So. 6’3 OH 9 Erika Pritchard- 4.29 K/S (25, 1), 2.45 D/S

Sr. 6’1 OH 12 Liz Twilley- 2.65 K/S

Fr. 5’10 L 15 Allegra Rivas- 4.59 D/S (5)

Jr. 5’9 S 16 Samantha Snyder- 0.28 SA/S (15)

So. 6’2 MB 23 Katie Myers- .242, 1.09 B/S (13), 0.53 SA/S (7, 1)

Ohio State

It’s hard to believe this team beat Penn State. Since then their only other wins have come against Rutgers and Michigan State. There has been a lot of turnover in the Buckeye (12-16, 3-13) lineup this season and they’ve tried to piece together one that works but haven’t had much luck.

Key Players

Sr. 5’10 S 5 Olivia Dailey- 8.3 A/S

So. 5’6 DS 7 Hannah Gruensfelder- 3.4 D/S (13)

So. 6’4 MB 12 Lauren Witte- 2.41 K/S, .339 (9), 0.79 B/S

Fr. 6’6 RS 13 Vanja Bukilic- 3.15 K/S (14)

Jr. 5’11 OH 17 Bia Franklin- 0.3 SA/S (10)

Big Ten Standings

AVCA Rankings Week 12

  1. BYU (48)
  2. Stanford (16)
  3. Minnesota
  4. Illinois
  5. Texas
  6. Nebraska

T-7. Penn State

T-7. Wisconsin

12. Purdue

19. Michigan

BYU is still perfect but they were dealt a blow as they lost McKenna Miller for the season to a torn ACL.

RPI Rankings

  1. Stanford
  2. Illinois
  3. Minnesota
  4. Texas
  5. BYU
  6. Wisconsin

12. Nebraska

13. Purdue

17. Penn State

20. Michigan

49. Maryland

55. Indiana

58. Northwestern

68. Iowa

85. Michigan State

87. Ohio State

209. Rutgers