AVCA Preseason Poll // 2017 Schedule // Tickets on Sale Now
The University of Minnesota volleyball program enters the 2017 season as the fourth-ranked team in the nation, announced today by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. Three of the top four teams in the AVCA poll advanced to the 2016 NCAA Championships.
Texas (1), Stanford (2), Washington (3), Minnesota (4) and Nebraska (5) round out the top five. Minnesota is set to face nine teams ranked in the preseason poll, seven of which hail from the Big Ten. Nebraska (5), Penn State (6), Wisconsin (7), Michigan (16), Michigan State (17), Ohio State (21) and Purdue (25) are ranked, while the Gophers face nonconference opponents Texas and North Carolina (11) during the first three weeks of the season.
Minnesota returns 11 letter winners this season, but lost three of its top four scorers from the 2016 team. The Gophers return starters Samantha Seliger-Swenson, Molly Lohman and sophomore Alexis Hart for the 2017 season. Seliger-Swenson was named the 2016 Big Ten Setter of the Year and a First Team All-American. As a sophomore, Seliger-Swenson helped Minnesota to a .288 hitting efficiency and 1,465 assists. Lohman and Hart garnered AVCA All-America honorable mention accolades, while Hart was named the AVCA North Region Freshman of the Year.
The Gophers also welcome the nation's fourth-best recruiting class, which includes Stephanie Samedy (6-2, RS, Clermont, Fla.), Jasmyn Martin (6-3, OH, Brooklyn Park, Minn.), Sydney Kleinman (6-2, OH, Frisco, Texas), Sara Nielsen (5-11, S, Glen Ellyn, Ill.), Lauren Barnes (5-6, DS/L, Naperville, Ill.), and Alice Zeimann (6-0, OH, Christchurch, New Zealand).
Minnesota opens the season Aug. 25-26 in Madison, Wis., as the Gophers take on North Carolina and Louisville in conjunction with the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Minnesota plays the Tar Heels on Aug. 25 at 4:30 p.m., followed by a 4 p.m. match, Aug. 26 against the Cardinals.
Gophers Meet with the Media
Minnesota held its first media availability on Thursday afternoon at Maturi Pavilion.
Seven Gopher Games Televised in 2017
The University of Minnesota volleyball program will have seven Big Ten matches televised this season, including one on ESPN, announced today by Big Ten Network and the conference office.
Freshman Feature: Sara Nielsen
Gophersports.com caught up with freshman setter Sara Nielsen after her first week on practice.