Minnesota Opens Season With Gopher Invite The Minnesota volleyball team will host the Gopher Invite on Aug. 27-28 to open the 2010 season.
The Minnesota volleyball team will host the Gopher Invite on Aug. 27-28 to open the 2010 season.
Minnesota welcomes Denver, Marquette and Stony Brook to the Sports Pavilion for the season-opening tournament. In the first match of the Gopher Invite, Marquette will face Stony Brook on Friday, Aug. 27 at 5 p.m. Minnesota will host Denver at 7 p.m. on Aug. 27. Denver and Marquette will play the first match on Saturday, Aug. 28 at 10:30 a.m., following by the Golden Gophers' match against Stony Brook at 12:45 p.m. Denver and Stony Brook will play at 3 p.m., and Minnesota will wrap up the tournament against Marquette at 7 p.m.
The Golden Gophers enter the week tied for No. 6 in the AVCA preseason poll. Minnesota was also picked to finish third in the Big Ten in the preseason coaches' poll. Hailey Cowles, Lauren Gibbemeyer and Tabi Love each received Preseason All-Big Ten honors.
Gibbemeyer returns as a senior after she was named a First-Team All-American and claimed First-Team All-Big Ten honors for a second straight season. Love improved rapidly as a freshman, and was named to the 2009 Minneapolis Regional Most Outstanding Player. Cowles was named to the Final Four All-Tournament team in 2009, but will be lost for the season after suffering an ACL injury on her left leg on Aug. 19.
Denver 16-17 overall and finished fourth in the West Division in the Sun Belt at 11-7 last year. The Pioneers return senior setter Kresson Vreeman who averaged 8.69 aps, 1.94 dps and 0.46 blps. Sophomore middle blocker Faimie Kingsley averaged 1.78 kps and 0.84 blps, while senior libero Kacie Wikierak had a team-best 3.80 dps last year. The Golden Gophers defeated Denver in three sets on Sept. 19, 2009 on the way to finishing second at the Pioneer Classic. Minnesota leads the all-time series against the Pioneers.
Marquette went 18-12 overall in 2009 and finished tied for eighth in the Big East at 6-8. The Golden Eagles are led by Ashley Beyer who had 3.40 kps and 2.14 dps last season. Senior middle hitter Rabbecka Gonyo led the team with 1.07 blps and had 2.26 kps in 2009. Setter Nikki Klingsporn had 10.93 aps and 2.14 dps, while libero Kelsey Warner led the team with 3.04 dps. The Golden Eagles are picked to finish fourth in the conference in the Big East preseason poll. Minnesota leads the all-time series with Marquette 5-0, and won the last meeting on Sept. 6, 2003 as part of the Nike Invitational.
Stony Brook went 13-13 overall and tied for second in the America East in 2009. The Seawolves were led by Ashley Headon who had 2.80 kps and led the team in blocks in 2009 with 0.92. Jeanette Gibbs also led Stony Brook with 4.26 dps last year. The Seawolves are picked to finish fourth in the conference preseason poll. This will mark the first meeting between Minnesota and Stony Brook.
All three teams have a player from Minnesota on their respective roster. Marquette has two in Klingsporn (Oakdale, Minn.) and Kelsey Mattai (Vadnais Heights, Minn.), while Stony Brook and Denver each have one player from Minnesota (Stony Brook – Greta Strenger, Woodbury, Minn. & Denver – Vreeman, Raymond, Minn.)