GOPHERS BACK ON THE ROAD
The University of Minnesota is on the road for two matches this week when it travels to No. 17 Illinois, Wednesday night and then heads to No. 7 Wisconsin Sunday. Minnesota plays Illinois at 8 p.m., in Champaign, Ill. Minnesota travels to Wisconsin, for a 3 p.m. contest in Madison, Wis.
FOLLOW THE GOPHERS
The Gophers/Illinois match will be televised on Big Ten Network. Fans can watch the BTN broadcast on the linear station as well as through the FOX app on mobile or tablet. A game day central page will also be available on gophersports.com.
Illinois enters the Minnesota match with an 8-5 record overall and 3-1 in Big Ten play. The team is coming off of two Big Ten wins, beating No. 17 Purdue in four sets and sweeping Indiana. Jacqueline Quade leads Illinois with kills 241 kills, averages 4.46 kills per set and has 19 aces. Ashlyn Fleming offers up 64 blocks, averaging 1.19 blocks per set. Five Illinois players have over 100 digs, led by Diana Brown with 130. She also has a team-best 574 assists. As a team, Illinois is hitting .240 and average 13.44 kills per set.
The Gophers and Illinois faced each other once last season, in a 3-0 sweep at Maturi Pavilion. The Gophers, however, fell to Illinois the last time they played at Huff Hall in 2017, 3-1, on Nov. 18, 2017. Minnesota is 37-40-1 all-time against Illinois, dating back to 1976.
ON THE DOCKET
Minnesota follows a Wednesday night tilt with a 3 p.m. Sunday match against the Wisconsin Badgers. The match is scheduled to be televised on Big Ten Network. Watch the match on BTN or streamed through the FOX Sports app.
LAST MATCH RECAP
Minnesota earned a 3-1 win (25-17, 25-20, 19-25, 25-12) over Rutgers at Maturi Pavilion last Saturday. Minnesota had four players with double-digit kills, led by Regan Pittman with 14. She hit .583 and added four blocks and three digs. Taylor Morgan had 13 kills and four blocks. Adanna Rollins added 12 kills, 12 digs and four blocks. Stephanie Samedy had 10 kills, seven digs, three aces and one block. Alexis Hart offered up nine kills and two blocks. Bayley McMenimen added a double-double when she had 48 assists, 15 digs and also one ace. Rachel Kilkelly had 13 digs and one ace.
SAMEDY REACHES 1,000 CAREER KILLS
Junior opposite hitter Stephanie Samedy reached 1,000 career kills last Saturday, and now sits at 1,001 during her Gopher tenure. The last person to do that was Alexis Hart on Nov. 3, 2018. Prior to her, it was Sarah Wilhite back in 2016. Samedy accomplished this feat in 76 matches played and 260 sets. For her career, Samedy averages 3.85 kills per set.
FIRST RPI RELEASED BY NCAA
The NCAA released its first RPI of the season as the Gophers are ranked 11th nationally. Baylor, Texas and Stanford round out the top three. Wisconsin (6) and Nebraska (7) hold top eight spots, while Rice (9) and Missouri (10) rank ahead of the Gophers.
AROUND THE BIG TEN
Along with Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan are also 4-0 to start Big Ten play. Nebraska, Penn State and Illinois hold a 3-1 record. Among Big Ten players, Stephanie Samedy ranks third in kills per set as she averages 4.21 kills per set. Kylie Miller ranks first in the league in assists per set (11.93), while Regan Pittman ranks fifth in blocks (1.26 per set) and sixth in hitting (.397). CC McGraw ranks fourth in digs (4.42 per set). In conference action, Minnesota holds the most kills per set (15.50), third best hitting percentage (.306) and digs per set (16.86).
GOPHERS RANKED SIXTH IN AVCA POLL
Minnesota is ranked No. 6 in this week’s poll, announced Monday by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. In all, six Big Ten Conference teams are ranked in the preseason top 25. Nebraska holds the No. 5 spot, followed by Wisconsin (7), Penn State (8), Illinois (17) and Purdue (20). Michigan is receiving votes.
(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)