The first ever Big Ten Volleyball Media Days are taking place Monday and Tuesday this week at the Big Ten network Studios in Chicago. The massive success the conference has had on the national state has garnered enough attention to evolve into a full two day media event to introduce the conference’s star players, coaches, and preview the 2022 season. The Minnesota Gophers brought head coach Hugh McCutcheon, 5th year senior libero CC McGraw, and junior outside hitter Taylor Landfair to Chicago to take part in the event.
Monday began with the reveal of both the preseason All-Big Ten honors and the preseason poll both as voted on by the conference coaches. Minnesota was honored with two players on the preseason All-Big Ten roster as both McGraw and junior outside hitter Jenna Wenaas were named to the 15 player roster.
.@cc_mcgraw and @JennaWenaas were named Preseason All-Big Ten in the league's annual preseason coaches poll!— Minnesota Volleyball (@GopherVBall) August 1, 2022
The #Gophers were also picked to finish third in @B1GVolleyball.
Release ↩️https://t.co/8pPLwxwTSW pic.twitter.com/dWDtsFJK9k
McGraw comes off a 2021 season where she earned All-Big Ten First team honors. McGraw led the Gophers and ranked second in the Big Ten with 4.59 digs per set. She was the only Gopher to play in every single set during the regular season. McGraw topped her previous season-best of 4.39 digs per set (2020-21) and had a Big Ten-best three matches with 30+ digs in 2021. The rest of the conference combined had four players eclipse the 30-dig mark this season. She ranks No. 5 all-time in digs at Minnesota (1,554), and barring injury should end her career in the #2 spot all time.
Wenaas had the best season of her career last fall. As a sophomore she was named Second Team All-Big Ten in 2021 averaging 3.28 kills and 2.60 digs per set. She ranked second on the team with 336 kills behind only All-American Stephanie Samedy. Wenaas reached double digit kills in 24 of 31 matches and tallied 11 double doubles in 2021.
Minnesota was picked by the conference coaches to finish in third place in 2022 behind only defending NCAA Champion and three-time defending Big Ten Champion Wisconsin Badgers and the Nebraska Cornhuskers who lost the NCAA title game a year ago to Wisconsin.
Monday also saw the reveal of the 2022 TV schedule for Big Ten volleyball. Minnesota will have 11 matches televised live on the Big Ten Network, with another 13 streamed live on BTN+. The Gophers match at Iowa on October 19th will air live on ESPNU. Non-conference TV announcements for games against Baylor, TCU and Texas will be announced at a later date.
There has been no announcement yet, but the hope is that Fox9+ will pick up the BTN+ simulcast of the rest of Minnesota’s home matches that are not slated to air on BTN which include huge home matches again Purdue, Michigan, and Stanford.
The Gophers also picked up another big 2024 recruit on Monday as Wayzata’s Olivia Swenson made it official that she had committed to the Gophers.
Swenson is a 6’3 outside hitter and is the twin sister of fellow 2024 Minnesota recruit and defending Gatorade Minnesota High School Player of the Year Stella Swenson. Both Swenson sisters are the younger sisters of former Minnesota All-American setter Samantha Seliger-Swenson who played for the Gophers from 2015 through 2018. The dynasty will continue at the U.
The Current Gophers will have their first press conference of the season at Big Ten media Days on Tuesday when McCutcheon, McGraw and Landfair will take to the stage from 11:55-12:15. The press conference will be recorded and will be available for later viewing at the official Big Ten Volleyball Media Days page HERE. There also will be a recap show at 7 PM live on Big Ten Network.
Minnesota opens up the season on August 26th in Fort Worth Texas against Baylor in a rematch of the team’s epic Sweet 16 battle in Madison last fall.