clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Minnesota Volleyball; NCAA Round of 16 vs Ohio State Preview

The Gophers and Buckeyes face off for a third time with a trip to the Elite 8 on the line

eric Miller—

The Minnesota Gophers volleyball team takes on Ohio State at 11 am this morning in Austin Texas in a NCAA Tournament Round of 16 matchup. The #2 seeded Gophers will face the #3 seeded Buckeyes for a trip to the Elite Eight and a chance to earn their way to the Final Four. The match begins at 11 AM and will air live on ESPN2.

Minnesota advanced to the Texas Regional by defeating SE Louisiana and Northern Iowa at home. The Gophers did not drop a set in the opening two rounds earning a pair of 3-0 sweeps enroute to the Sweet 16. This is Minnesota’s 10th trip to the Sweet 16 under Hugh McCutcheon. Minnesota is 5-4 in Sweet 16 games under McCutcheon.

Ohio State advanced to the Texas Region by defeating Tennessee State and USC in the first two rounds, also by a pair of 3-0 sweeps. This is the third consecutive year that Ohio State has made a regionals appearance, but they have lost in the Round of 16 in both of those previous appearances.

The Gophers and Ohio State are very evenly matched teams. Both went 15-5 in the Big Ten this past season to finish in a tie for third place. During the regular season the teams went 1-1 against each other with each team winning on the road. The Buckeyes swept Minnesota 3-0 in Minneapolis in October, and the Gophers won 3-1 on the last weekend of the regular season in Columbus. Minnesota is the #8 national seed, while the Buckeyes are the #9 national seed. Both teams faced #1 seed Texas early in the season with the Longhorns earning a two match sweep of Ohio State in Austin to open the season, while the Gophers dropped a 3-1 match the following week in Austin.

Ohio State is led by outstanding players in their backcourt. Senior libero Kylee Murr won the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Award this season after leading the conference with 4.79 digs per set, as well as 5.26 digs per set in Big Ten matches. Senior setter Mac Podraza won the Big Ten Setter of the Year Award this season after she led the Big Ten with 11.08 assists per set overall and finished with a conference-high 11.26 assists per set in Big Ten matches. But the Buckeyes have a star in the frontcourt as well that Minnesota will need to neutralize. Junior opposite hitter Emily Londot was named AVCA Northeast Player of the Year after averaging 3.82 kills per set in 2022.

Minnesota brings in Big Ten Player of the Year Taylor Landfair who led the conference in kills per set. They got great play from their middle blockers last weekend as well with freshman Carter Booth and Ohio State transfer Arica Davis both having huge matches against Northern Illinois. All three will need to be on the top of their games once again to see the Gophers keep their season alive.

This will be the first time the Gophers and Buckeyes will face off on a neutral court since 1989. Minnesota holds a 50-35 all-time lead in the series between the two schools, but none have been with hire stakes than this morning’s match. The winner advances to play the Texas/ Marquette winner at 5 PM Saturday night for a trip to the Final Four. The loser is done and on a place home. Hopefully Minnesota can extend their trip to Texas at least one more night.


NCAA Volleyball Tournament Round of 16:

#2 Minnesota Gophers vs #3 Ohio State Buckeyes

Where: Gregory Gym, Austin, Texas

When: 11 AM Thursday


Stream: WatchESPN

Radio: 96.7 FM/ I Heart Radio