It was another good weekend for the Minnesota Gophers non-revenue teams. The Gipher volleyball team dug deep to escape their Big Ten opener with a five-set win, and then swept previously unbeaten Maryland to take the lead in the conference. The Gopher women’s cross-country team won their own Roy Griak Invitational for the sixth time in school history, and the Gopher women’s tennis team played well in their season opening tournament. Read all about that and more below in this week’s Non-rev Recap!
Volleyball Digs Deep to Beat Michigan/ Spikes Maryland’s Hopes
The Gophers opened Big Ten action this week with a pair of home matches at the Pav. Minnesota opened Thursday night with a visit by the Michigan Wolverines who had been receiving votes in the most recent NCAA Volleyball coaches poll, while the Gophers came into the week ranked #9 in the nation.
The Gophers seemed to take control of the match early on against the Wolverines. The first set was back and forth in the early going, but the Gophers would not let Michigan any closer to 13-12 before winning five of the next seven points and then eventually the set 25-20. Stephanie Samedy was electric recording seven kills alone in the opening frame.
Minnesota continued to look like they would be able to head home early after winning the second set in similar fashion except earlier. With the set tied at 6, the Gophers would go on a 9-1 run. The Wolverines would get one 5-0 run to slowly creep back in the set, but the Gophers would close it out with a 3-0 finish to get the 25-17 win and take a 2-0 lead.
Unfortunately for Minnesota, the easy early night would not come. Michigan foudn a way to dig deep and make a furious comeback. Minnesota had a 17-16 lead, but Michigan would go on a 3-0 run, and while the Gophers had a chance at 24-23 to tie the set up and try and win in extra points Jenna Wennas would hit her kill attempt out and the Wolverines would take a 25-23 set three win. The fourth would be more of the same, the Gophers just not as sharp as they had been the first two sets and Michigan finding a second wind. Michigan would take set 4 25-19 and the Gophers seemed to be in trouble with all the momentum on the Michigan side of the court.
In the fifth set Hugh McCutchon would look to star sophomore Taylor Landfair who had sat on the bench for the first three sets and was inserted late in the fourth.. Landfair was injured against Florida a few weeks ago and had not played much since. But the Gophers needed a spark and she gave them one in set five. She would finish with three of the last five Minnesota points including the final kill of the match to give the Gophers a 15-11 set five win and a 3-2 win over the Wolverines. Samedy would finish with 30 kills on the night, one off her career high set against Florida earlier in the season.
The Gophers were one of the few top Big Ten teams to avoid the upset bug on opening night. #3 Ohio State lost at home to Purdue, and the shocker of the night came from College Park where Maryland remained undefeated after upsetting #2 Wisconsin 3-2 on their home court. Those 13-0 Terps would come to Minneapolis Sunday afternoon for a match against the Gophers.
Whether it was a hangover for Maryland, or the Gophers just playing great, it was not the challenge it appeared it might be. Minnesota took control from the very beginning and dominated the Terrapins winning in a 3-0 sweep with scores of 25-13, 25-12, and 25-16. Samedy and Wennas tied for the lead with 11 kills each for the Gophers while middle blocker Ellie Huseman added nine blocks. Minnesota moved to a perfect 17-0 all time against Maryland.
With her 41 kill performance in the pair of matches Samedy was named the Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday. It’s the second time she has been honored this season and the 10th of her career. Samedy leads the Big Ten in both points (5.64) and kills (5.09) per set and is the only Power Five player to average more than five kills per set.
The Gophers moved up to #7 in the Coaches poll released Monday and will have another huge match Friday night when the Gophers head to Madison to take on #5 Wisconsin. That match will begin at 8PM and will air live on BTN. The following night the Gophers head south to Evanston to take on Northwestern. That match will begin at 7PM and will stream on BTN+.
Gopher Women Win the Run for Roy!
Minnesota’s annual major cross-country meet the Roy Griak Invitational took place last Friday at the Les Bolstad Golf Course. For just the sixth time in the 35th annual event the Gopher women took home the gold in the event winning in a rout by over 30 points over second place Iowa State. The #10 Gophers got a 4th place individual finish from 5th year senior Bethany Hasz in a time of 21:02:2 in the 4K race. Abby Kohut-Jackson was right behind in 5th place in a time of 21:04.4.
A portion of the team will be in action Friday night at the UW-Eau Claire Bluegold Invitational while the rest will rest up for the Nuttycome Invitational October 15th in Madison.
Gopher Women’s Tennis Volleys to Good Start:
The Gopher women’s tennis team opened their fall season by hosting the Gopher Invitational at the Baseline Tennis Center over the Weekend. The Gophers were joined by teams from North Dakota, South Dakota, Drake, Iowa State and Gonzaga at the event. Minnesota’s athletes dominated on the weekend with their doubles teams going 20-5 and their singles teams going 22-5.
The Gophers had four athletes, Maria Rizzolo, Dalila Said, Lucy Lu, and Zeyneb Sarioglan who each went 5-0 in their doubles matches across the weekend. The Gophers had five athletes go a perfect 3-0 in singles on the weekend as well in Emilee Duong, Ekin Ercetin, Anfisa Danilchenko, Sarioglan and #89 ranked Rachel Hanford.
The Gophers will be off until November when they head to Boston for the Harvard Invitational.
Gopher Soccer Splits a Pair:
The Gophers soccer team moved to 1-2 in Big Ten play after this past week which saw them earn a 4-2 win at Ohio State, but drop a 2-1 match at Michigan State.
Minnesota fell behind the Buckeyes 2-0 after a pair of goals four minutes apart about 20 minutes into the game. The Gophers would cut the lead to 2-1 before the half when Izzy Brown took a nice pass from Megan Gray and put it in the net. Sadie harper would tie it at 2 with 3 minutes left in the first half to send the teams to the locker room knotted up.
Minnesota found their stride in the second half getting goals from Sophia Bowman and Delaney Stekyr to push the lead to 4-2 where it would stay. It was Minnesota’s first win when trailing by 2 or more goals in a game since 2012.
Sunday the Gophers were in East Lansing and would tie the game at 1 in the second half, but could not withstand a push by the Spartans who would score the game winner in the 83rd minute. Brown would score her 5th goal of the season for Minnesota in the second half, but it would not be enough.
The road does not get any easier for Minnesota despite returning home this week. Minnesota will host #9 Rutgers on Thursday night at 6PM before facing off against #12 Penn State on Sunday at 1 PM. Both matches will stream live on BTN+.
Women’s Golf Mountain Hunting in Vail
The Gopher women’s gold team is playing in the Golfweek Challenge at the Red Sky Golf Club in Vail, Colorado this week. After Monday’s first round a pair of Gophers were in the top five on the leaderboard. Grace Curran and Geraldine Wong both shot -4 68’s to sit in a tie for 5th place after the first round. As a team the Gophers are in 12th place out of 20 teams at +2 for the tournament. The teams will play two more rounds Tuesday and Wednesday.
The men’s golf team will hit the links this weekend in the Rich Harvest Farms Intercollegiate Tournament in Sugar Grove, Illinois hosted by Northern Illinois.