Gophers Open Preseason Wednesday

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2012 Volleyball First Practice

The University of Minnesota volleyball program kicked off the 2012 season today, at the Sports Pavilion as the Golden Gophers held its first practice. The team reported on Tuesday for team meetings and on Wednesday were busy in the gym.

The first practice day consisted of an early morning with a 7 a.m. physical testing with strength coach Sarah Wiley. Following breakfast, the team gathered together for the first practice at 10 a.m. As coaches Laura Bush, Chris Tamas and volunteer coach Dave Ganser looked on, the team worked on technique and ball control.

Following a lunch, the team will add another practice at 3:30, followed by dinner and a team meeting. The Gophers will continue two-a-days also on Thursday and Friday, while Saturday will be photo day and relaxation.

The Gophers open the season at the James Madison Tournament, August 25th in Harrisonburg, Va. Minnesota will play twice that day as it takes on host James Madison (11:30 a.m. CT) and Appalachian State (4:30 p.m. CT). Minnesota's first home matches will be August 31-Sept. 1 as hosts Albany, Long Island and Miami (OH). 

Blog: Gopher Volleyball Lawn Bowling

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Photo Album

KARE 11 Coverage

Tori Dixon and Ashley Wittman are used to getting up early for 6 a.m. workouts so when KARE 11 Sunrise called for them to compete in a lawn bowling tourney at 6 a.m., they were ready. 

KARE 11 (NBC Twins Cities affiliate) kicked off the 2012 London Olympics by holding an on-location event at a local English establishment (Brit's Pub) in Minneapolis. The duo was among former Olympians, Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve and Gopher wrestling head coach J Robinson. They all competed in a lawn bowling tournament to ring in the Summer Games as the opening ceremony is today (July 27th).

Arriving at 5:45 a.m., they were greeted by KARE's Bryan Piatt, while the live show was being held in the background. The competitive juices were flowing on the rooftop as Dixon and Wittman were paired with former Olympians, including wrestler Brandon Paulson, who won a silver medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. If there was an award for most competitive and enthusiastic, it went to him. Having only a couple practice opportunities, Gopher Volleyball represented in their rookie performance as their team (Team USA) won by one point.  

Minnesota Volleyball reports on August 7th with the first practice being held on August 8th. The Gophers start the season August 25th at the James Madison Tournament, while hosting the Diet Coke Classic on August 31st. Following the Olympics, Minnesota will welcome head coach Hugh McCutcheon. Currently the head coach of the U.S. women's Olympic team, McCutcheon will join the Gophers following the 2012 London Games.

NCAA Selection Show and NCAA Regionals

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As the regular season winds down this weekend, all teams will be awaiting to hear if it is a part of the second season. The NCAA field of 64 for the 2011 DI women's volleyball tournament will be announced at 5 p.m. CT Nov. 27 on ESPNU.

The University of Minnesota will also be hosting one of the NCAA Regionals. The NCAA has announced the start times for Minnesota's regionals. On Friday, Dec. 9, the NCAA Regional Semifinals will be held a 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., both on ESPN 3. On Saturday, Dec. 10, the Regional Final will be held at 8:30 p.m. and will be shown on ESPN U.

Tickets are now on sale for the NCAA Regional. All session reserved chair back is $25. all session adult general admission is $20, while all session student/youth/senior general admission is $15. Single session tickets will go on sale the week of the tournament. Fans can purchase tickets through or by calling the Gopher ticket office at 1-800 UGOPHER or 612-624-8080. 
Minnesota alum Lindsey Berg was named the team captain as USA Volleyball participates in the FIVB Women's World Cup to be held Nov. 4-18 in Nagano, Japan. The event is the first 2012 Olympic Games qualification event with the top three countries earning a ticket to London next summer. Team USA, led by Hugh McCutcheon, posted his full roster, which also includes Jennifer Tamas, the wife of Gopher assistant coach, Chris Tamas. Team USA will open the World Cup against Brazil on Nov. 4, Serbia on Nov. 5 and Nov. 6 against Korea. Following a travel day Team USA will then competes against Kenya on Nov. 8 and Germany on Nov. 9.

The full USA Volleyball release with roster and information can be found here.

Former Gophers Win Pan Am Bronze

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The University of Minnesota was well represented at the Pan Am games with USA Volleyball. Former Gopher greats Lauren Gibbemeyer, Jessy Jones and former Gopher coach Mike Hebert assisted Team USA to a bronze medal, Thursday night. Led by Gibbemeyer and Jones, Team USA had 22 blocks to rally past Dominican Republic 23-25, 25-16, 25-20, 25-19 in  in Guadalajara, Mexico.

In the bronze-medal match, Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.) added 16 points with 11 kills and five blocks, while Jones (Naperville, Ill.) charted five kills and seven blocks for 12 points. Gibbemeyer was named the Games' Best Blocker. Playing in all 17 sets, Gibbemeyer led Team USA with 24 blocks, averaging 1.41 per set. She ranked second on the team in kills with 36, trailing only team captain Cynthia Barboza, who had 62. Jones had 20 blocks and 24 kills also in 17 sets played. Coach Hebert served as an assistant coach for the Pan Am Games. 

Team USA's Lauren Gibbemeyer Named Best Blocker

Information and photos courtesy of USA Volleyball and NORCECA

Gophers Ranked Fourth in RPI

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The NCAA released the Division I RPI and Minnesota is fourth overall in the nation. Like the AVCA poll, Illinois ranks first as the only undefeated team in the country at 19-0 (6-0 road, 4-0 neutral, 9-0 home). Nebraska, the Gophers' last opponent, ranks second with a 15-1 overall mark, while Iowa State is ranked third (15-3). Of the top 10 teams in the RPI standings, Minnesota has faced five of the teams already this season.

Along with Illinois, Nebraska and Minnesota, the Big Ten Conference has a total of six ranked in the top 20 RPI. Michigan is ranked 15th overall, Purdue is ranked 16th, Penn State at 19. Full RPI rankings located here.

Filho highlighted by Star Tribune

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Senior Ariana Filho was highlighted in the Star Tribune. The second-youngest of 10 children, Filho talks about her childhood and her nine siblings. You can read the entire article here

M Club Hall of Fame: Mike Hebert

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The legacy of University of Minnesota athletics will be celebrated Thursday, Sept. 22 at Ted Mann Concert Hall, when eight former Golden Gopher student-athletes are inducted into the "M" Club Hall of Fame.

Each day until then, we will preview one of the eight inductees with a special video. Next up is Golden Gopher volleyball coaching icon Mike Hebert. For more on all the inductees, click here.

The most successful volleyball coach in school history, Mike Hebert lead the Golden Gophers to three NCAA Final Fours and recently finished his career at the University of Minnesota with a 381 and 185 record. In his fifteen years with the Minnesota Gophers, from 1996-2010, Hebert won more than 75% of his games while leading Minnesota to fourteen NCAA tournament appearances, eight NCAA Regional trips and four NCAA titles.

Along with three Final Fours, Hebert also lead the gophers to the National Title match against Stanford in 2004. He's the only coach in division one volleyball to lead two different programs from the same conference to Final Four appearances and one of four to make multiple trips to the Final Four with two different programs.

Along with national acclaim the Gophers also won their first Big Ten Title in 2002 under Hebert's tutelage. Named 2003 National Coach of the Year, Hebert was also named a five-time Big Ten Coach of the Year. Along with the M-Club induction, Hebert was also inducted into the American Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

The official induction of the 2011 class will take place during a ceremony to be held at the Ted Mann Concert Hall (2128 Fourth Street South, Minneapolis, MN 55455) on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011.Tickets are available for purchase online through the University of Minnesota ticket office at or by calling the Northrop ticket office at 612-624-2345.

Granquist family highlighted in Star Tribune

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Senior Jessica Granquist is known for her libero skills, but her family, especially her sister, inspires her. Read a great story and courage about Jessica, her sister, Christina, and her family here.

Welcome the Gopher Volleyball blog!

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Welcome to the Gopher Volleyball blog! We'll have more content up here shortly -- but for right now, we just wanted to welcome you! Keep checking back here for more content.