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Minnesota Volleyball: Gophers Split Opening Weekend; Host #1 Texas Wednesday Night

Minnesota dropped their first match against a ranked opponent and here comes #1

Brad Rempel—

The now #10 ranked Minnesota Gophers volleyball team got off to a bit of a rough start last weekend in Madison at the Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge. Then #7 Minnesota dropped their opening match to then #10 Baylor Bears 3-1 on Friday before coming back to defeat TCU 3-0 on Saturday. It won’t get any easier for the Gophers this week as they open up their home portion of the non-conference schedule Wednesday night by hosting #1 Texas at the Pav.

The Gophers and Bears played a fairly evenly match to open the season last Friday, but Baylor converted when they needed to, and a few unforced errors by the Gophers cost them the match. Baylor would take a back and forth opening set 26-24 before the Gophers came roaring back to even the match at one with a dominating 25-16 second set win.

However, Baylor turned that around and defeated the Gophers by nearly the same score 25-17 in set 3 to take a 2-1 lead in the match. Minnesota seemed to claw back and had a 24-20 lead wit four set points to set the match to a tiebreaking fifth set, but they could not get that last final point. Baylor would score four straight to tie the set at 24, and then win four of the next six to take the set 28-26 and win the match 3-1. Stephanie Samedy led the Gophers in kills with 21 while a pair of sophomores in Jenna Wennas and Taylor Landfair were also in double digits with 12 and 10 respectfully.

Saturday was much different for the Gophers. They came out and dominated the Horned Frogs and never let TCU catch a breath. The Gophers walked to a 25-7 win in set 1, 25-19 in set 2, and closed out the sweep with a 25-16 third set win. Samedy once again lead the team in kills with 12 while Wennas and Landfair both added 11. Samedy now has 1,517 kills in her Minnesota career, good enough for 9th all-time, and will pass #8 Pam Miller with two more kills on Wednesday.

The Gophers tough schedule continues Wednesday when the #1 ranked Texas Longhorns come to Minneapolis. Minnesota was swept by the Longhorns 3-0 in the most recent meeting between the two teams in Austin in 2019. The Longhorns opened up with a couple of cupcake wins at home last weekend over San Diego and UTSA. The Gophers will need to try and stop Texas senior outside hitter Logan Eggleston who is one of the best players in the nation. Junior Skylar Fields it another threat and was an honorable mention All-American last season. Texas made it to the Final Four last spring before losing to Kentucky in the NCAA Championship Game.

Wednesday’s match will begin at 7PM and will air live on BTN.