GOPHERS READY TO START THE SEASON
The University of Minnesota is set to begin the 2018 season when it competes in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, hosted by the Target Center. The Golden Gophers welcome Florida State, North Carolina and Wisconsin for the event. The Gophers play the second match of each day and face Florida State (Aug. 24) and North Carolina (Aug. 25). Both matches are set for 7 p.m. Wisconsin will play at 4:30 p.m., both nights and play North Carolina Friday and Florida State Saturday.
FOLLOW THE GOPHERS
Friday’s matches will be shown on BTN Plus (paid subscription), while Saturday matches will be shown live on Big Ten Network. Game Day Live pages will also be located on gophersports.com.
IT’S GOOD TO BE HOME
The Gophers will play seven non-conference matches in Minneapolis this season, the most since 2002. The Gophers return to the Maturi Pavilion confines on Aug. 31 when they host the annual Diet Coke Classic. North Dakota State, Georgia Southern and Arkansas will also compete in the DCC. After a weekend in Stanford for the Pac 12/Big Ten Challenge (Sept. 7-8), Minnesota hosts the Gopher Fall Classic, Sept. 13-15 at Maturi Pavilion.
GLAD TO HAVE YOU BACK
Minnesota returns 12 letterwinners to the 2018 squad, including five starters. Of the five, two are upperclassmen in Samantha Seliger-Swenson (senior) and Alexis Hart (junior). The Gophers return all three of their 2017 All-Americans in Samantha Seliger-Swenson, Stephanie Samedy and Alexis Hart.
THREE GOPHERS LAND A SPOT ON THE PRESEASON ALL-BIG TEN
The University of Minnesota landed three individuals on the 2018 Preseason All-Big Ten Volleyball Team. Samantha Seliger-Swenson and Stephanie Samedy were unanimous selections, while Alexis Hart was also named to the preseason team. It is Seliger-Swenson’s third-straight honor, Hart’s second and Samedy’s first. Minnesota was also tabbed to finish third in the Big Ten preseason coaches’ poll.
WELCOME TO MINNESOTA
The Gophers add six newcomers to the mix this season. Minnesota welcomes CC McGraw, Bayley McMenimen, Claire Sheehan, Paulina Swider, Rebecca Rendahl and Adanna Rollins. Freshmen CC McGraw and Adanna Rollins joined the Gopher program in January of 2018 and both competed in the 2018 spring season. McGraw and Rollins competed in the Under-Armour All-America match in 2017. McMenimen, Sheehan, Swider and Rendahl joined the Gophers this summer. Sophomore Claire Sheehan joins the Gophers after transferring from Iowa. With the Hawkeyes, Sheehan played in 32 matches and had 259 kills.
ABOUT FLORIDA STATE
Florida State was picked to finish third in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season by the 15 head coaches in the league. The Seminoles also placed two on the Preseason All-ACC team, as sophomore Taryn Knuth and junior transfer Payton Caffrey both earn the first accolades of the season. Knuth led the conference and ranked 11th nationally in blocks per set last season with 1.49, and ranked third in the ACC and 17th nationally with 162 total blocks. Caffrey, was a two-time All-Big 12 First Team selection for West Virginia before transferring to FSU. Last year, Florida State went 18-11 and 12-8 in conference play. FSU will look to fill the void of graduated right-side hitter Milica Kubura, who was an AVCA All-America honorable mention selection.
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina was selected sixth in the preseason Atlantic Coast Conference poll, as voted on by the league’s head coaches. The Tar Heels return Katharine Esterley who ranked second in the ACC and 19th nationally in 2017 with 1.44 blocks per set. The redshirt-sophomore reset Carolina’s freshman records for block assists and blocks per set. Carolina welcomes back a quartet of defensive specialists in Mia Fradenburg, Casey Jacobs, Greer Moseman and Maddie Grace Hough who all saw time as libero during 2017. In addition to Jacobs, setter Kendra Koetter and outside hitter Madison Laufenberg lead the young 2018 squad as the three seniors. The Tar Heels finished eighth in 2017 with an 11-9 record and went 14-14 overall. North Carolina welcomes nine newcomers to the 2018 squad.
The Gophers are 10-5 against Florida State, all time, with the last appearance against the Seminoles in 2016. The Gophers and FSU battled against each other during the Puerto Rico Clasico, Sept. 3, 2016 in San Juan, Puerto Rico as Minnesota took the match, 3-1.
Minnesota is 9-1 all time against the North Carolina Tar Heels. Last season during the Big Ten/ACC Challenge in Madison, Wis., the Gophers opened the season and won, 3-0, as Stephanie Samedy opened her career with a match-best 14 kills.
GOPHERS RANKED FOURTH IN AVCA
Minnesota volleyball enters the 2018 campaign as the fourth-ranked team in the nation, released earlier this month by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). In all, seven Big Ten Conference teams are ranked in the preseason top 25. Nebraska holds the No. 2 spot, while Minnesota is followed by Penn State (6), Wisconsin (9), Illinois (12), Michigan State (22) and Purdue (23). Michigan received votes in the opening poll.