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Minnesota Volleyball: Gopher Fall Classic Preview

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Minnesota will finish preseason with home matches against Green Bay and Kansas State.

Gophersports.com

After losing their first two matches of the season last weekend, Minnesota (5-2) will look to get back on a win streak before conference play starts.

After rising to No. 1 the Gophers went out to Palo Alto and suffered two four-set losses to then No. 18 Oregon and No. 4 Stanford. Minnesota was outgunned by the two powerful offenses and had trouble closing out sets.

Against Oregon, every set was the minimum two point margin, 23-25, 23-25, 27-25, 23-25; all in all there were 26 tie scores and 11 lead changes.

Oregon was able to close set one with a kill and a Gopher hitting error and in set two they took the lead and set with three straight kills after being down 22-19. Fortunes were reversed in set three. First the Ducks saved three Gopher set points to get a match point which they wasted with a missed serve. Minnesota then closed the set with a block and Oregon hitting error. Minnesota saved another match point in set four, but Oregon already had the momentum finishing the set on a 4-1 run.

The two teams hitting percentages were close .295 for the Gophers and .298 for Oregon, but the Ducks were able to generate more points for themselves posting 74 kills to Minnesota’s 63. Oregon also outscored Minnesota at the service line, five aces to two. Stephanie Samedy led Minnesota with 17 kills, five blocks, 11 digs and .412 hitting.

Heading into the match with the Gophers reigning Player of the Year, Kathryn Plummer had not yet hit her stride. Unfortunately for the Gophers she returned to form as the Cardinal won 23-25, 25-23, 17-25, 23-25. Plummer finished hitting .438 with 25 kills, two aces, four blocks, and ten digs. This was made worse as Minnesota’s star, Samedy, had one of her worst matches, nine kills and seven errors on 33 attempts, .061. Adanna Rollins did her best to make up the slack with an error-less 16 kill performance; Alexis Hart put away 15 kills hitting .293. As a team Minnesota was outhit .285-.358.

Like the Oregon match Minnesota had trouble finishing off sets against Stanford; the Gophers lost set one after being up 23-20. Stanford saved one set point in the second set, but Minnesota was able to close it out with a kill from freshman Adanna Rollins. There was no stopping Stanford in the third set as the Cardinal hit .645, 20 kills on 31 attempts with no errors. In the final set Minnesota appeared to be in control after going up 22-18 but struggled to hit around the Stanford block and defend against Plummer and company.

Gopher Fall Class Preview

The Gopher Fall Classic will start Thursday evening as Minnesota will face off against Green Bay at 7:00. Saturday night Kansas State will be in The Pav at 7:30 for Minnesota’s preseason finale; both matches will be on BTN+.

Minnesota is fairly balanced offensively however one concern though is how effective Minnesota can be when they’re out of system. This weekend will be a great opportunity for Samedy to get back on track and get Rollins more comfortable playing along the net; Rollins replaced Jasmyn Martin in the Oregon match. Alexis Hart seems to have rebounded from her poor start to the season which certainly helps.

Key Players

class, height, position, # name , stats, (statistical rank nationally)
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. 5’9 L 7 CC McGraw- 3.42 D/S, 0.38 SA/S

So. 6’2 RS 10 Stephanie Samedy- 3.81 K/S, .243, 2.52 D/S, 1.05 B/S

Jr. 6’0 MB 12 Taylor Morgan- 2.24 K/S, .380, 1.57 B/S (6)

Sr. 5’11 S 13 Samantha Seliger-Swenson- 10.83 A/S (32), 2.54 D/S

Jr. 6’0 OH 19 Alexis Hart- 2.2 K/S, 0.87 B/S

Fr. 6’0 OH 20 Adanna Rollins- .357, 2.38 D/S, 0.25 SA/S

So. 6’5 MB 21 Regan Pittman- 2.78 K/S, .419 (19), 1.17 B/S

Green Bay

The Phoenix are 5-5 on the season and dropped their only Power Five matchup being swept by TCU. Consistent with their record most of their team stats are similar to their opposition’s averages. Green Bay has a stalwart pin hitter but not much else around her.

Key Players

So. 6’2 S/OH 1 Taylor Wolf*- 4.86 K/S (9), .266, 2.37 D/S

Sr. 5’4 DS 5 Austyn Everingham- 2.32 D/S, 0.29 SA/S

So. 5’11 MB 9 Ashley Sledge- 2.11 K/S, .331

Sr. 5’6 L 12 Vanessa Buman- 4.43 D/S

Jr. 5’9 S 16 Maddie Yoss- 10.57 A/S (50), 2.17 D/S

Fr. 5’10 OH 18 Alex Zakutney- 2.68 K/S

*Minnesota Natives: Taylor Wolf and sister Jessica are from Waconia; teammate Anna Eaton hails from New Prague.

Kansas State

The Wildcats (9-1) received votes in the latest AVCA Poll and are looking for a signature win. To this point they’ve faced two teams who received votes in the weekly poll, losing to Marquette and beating Oregon State. K-State is well-balanced and has size. They can put the ball away coming in ninth in kills per set, 14.52, 20th in hitting percentage .279. Minnesota will have to pick their poison and try to keep everyone, especially Zumach in check.

Key Players

Jr. 6’0 MB 2 Elle Sandbothe- 2.38 K/S, .355, 1.21 B/S

Sr. 6’3 OH 3 Alyssa Schultejans- 2.56 K/S, 0.47 SA/S

Jr. 5’9 S 4 Sarah Dixon- 12.03 A/S (5), 2.45 D/S

Sr. 6’4 OH 7 Kylee Zumach*- 4.13 K/S (46), .293, 3.03 D/S

So. 6’4 MB 11 Peyton Williams- 2.13 K/S, .368

Sr. 6’3 MB 12 Macy Flowers- .311, 1.57 B/S

Sr. 6’1 MB 16 Zsofia Gyimes- 0.33 SA/S

Fr. 6’2 RS 18 Gloria Mutiri- 2.97 K/S, .303

Sr. 5’7 L 21 Devan Fairfield- 3.42 D/S

*Minnesota natives: Zumach is from Buffalo and teammate Brynn Carlson hails from Woodbury.

AVCA Poll

  1. BYU (54)
  2. Stanford (10)
  3. Texas
  4. Nebraska
  5. Penn State
  6. Wisconsin
  7. Minnesota
  8. Illinois
  9. Pittsburgh
  10. Creighton

15. Purdue

19. Michigan

RV: Michigan State

Minnesota obviously fell this week, but Wisconsin did as well after losing a four-setter to then No. 15 Baylor. The Bears were led by Yossianna Pressley’s 32 kills. It had to sting though for Wisconsin as Baylor then turned around a dropped a five-setter to Texas Rio Grande Valley. BYU is one one nine undefeated teams left after three weeks of play; Illinois, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Michigan, Washington State, Alabama, Portland, and Boston College also boast perfect records. Penn State was able to split on their trip to Palo Alto sweeping Oregon and being swept by Stanford remaining at No. 5. Wisconsin was not the only top 10 team to suffer a upset then No. 8 Florida lost to Northern Arizona dropping them to No. 11.