Gophers Ready to Open 2017 Home Campaign
Aug. 30, 2017

 #2 Minnesota (2-0) hosts Diet Coke Classic
 MATCH 1 Minnesota vs. West Virginia (Friday | 7 p.m.)
  Watch Online | Live Stats | Live Updates
 MATCH 2  Minnesota vs UTSA (Saturday | 10 a.m.) 
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 MATCH 3 Minnesota vs Tennessee (Saturday | 7 p.m.) 
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 LOCATION Maturi Pavilion | Minneapolis
 TICKETS Gophersports.com
 SOCIAL MEDIA   @GopherVball | Facebook


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WEEKLY NOTES

GOPHERS READY TO PLAY AT HOME
The University of Minnesota is set to open its home season this weekend when it hosts the Diet Coke Classic, Sept. 1-2, at Maturi Pavilion. In a six-match tournament, each team plays each other once within the two days. The Golden Gophers welcome University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), Tennessee and West Virginia to the Pav. Minnesota plays WVU on Friday, followed by UTSA and Tennessee Saturday.

GOPHERS OPEN 2017 WITH PAIR OF WINS
The Gopher Volleyball program opened the 2017 with a pair of wins at the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Minnesota earned a 25-16, 25-7, 25-20 win over No. 11 North Carolina and erased a 0-1 deficit (score 20-25) to defeat Louisville 25-18, 25-18, 25-20. It was the fourth year of the tournament, the third straight the Gophers won both of their matches in that tournament.

SAMEDY RECEIVES WEEKLY B1G HONORS
In just her first week of competition, University of Minnesota freshman opposite hitter Stephanie Samedy was named Co-Big Ten Player of the Week and Co-Freshman of the Week, announced today by the conference office. As a first-week collegiate student-athlete, Samedy paced the Gophers with a team-high 31 kills and averaged 4.43 kills per set to lead the Gophers to a pair of wins at the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. She also hit .315, had 27 digs and five blocks. In her opening match, Samedy produced a match-high 14 kills and hit .286, while she also provided an ace, 12 digs and four block assists. She followed with another double double in as many games when she had a team-high 17 kills, 15 digs and a block solo, as she hit .342. Samedy also contributed big in the moment Saturday. As the Gophers and Cardinals were tied 17-17 in the fourth set Saturday, Samedy provided back-to-back kills to give Minnesota enough of a cushion (20-17 lead) to hold on for the win.

COLLEGIATE DEBUTS
Minnesota had four freshmen see significant action over the course of the opening weekend. Lauren Barnes, Jasmyn Martin, Regan Pittman and Stephanie Samedy all made their collegiate debuts in the opening weekend. Sara Nielsen also made an appearance in one set of the Louisville match. In all, 11 of the 188 person Gophers roster saw action in the opening week.

RETURNING GOPHERS
Minnesota returns 11 letter winners from last year and graduated six. The Gophers lost three starters in Hannah Tapp, Paige Tapp and AVCA National Player of the Year Sarah Wilhite. Also finishing her collegiate career was defensive specialist Katie Schau, who played in over 114 matches during her four-year tenure. Along with starters in Hart, Lohman and Seliger-Swenson, the Gophers also return a steady back court in Alyssa Goehner and Dalianliz Rosado. Goehner played in 109 sets and added 193 digs last year. Rosado led Minnesota with 511 digs and ranked second on the team in assists (121) and third in aces (26).

SPORTS PAVILION RENAMED TO MATURI PAVILION
The University of Minnesota announced it will celebrate the official re-naming of the University's Sports Pavilion in honor of former athletics director Joel Maturi on Saturday, Sept. 2. The formal name for the facility will be the Joel Maturi University Sports Pavilion and the building's exterior will bear the name "Maturi Pavilion." Signs above the west and south entrances of the facility will be unveiled as part of a brief public ceremony beginning at 5 p.m., prior to the Gopher Volleyball's 7 p.m. match that evening against Tennessee.

During his 10-year tenure as athletics director, Maturi led Golden Gopher Athletics through one of the most transformative eras in its history. He became the department's first-ever director of athletics for both the men's and women's programs on July 12, 2002, bringing together what had been two separate departments since their inceptions. Maturi worked tirelessly with internal and external stakeholders to develop a new mission, values and vision for Gopher Athletics as a single, unified department. A native of Chisholm, Minn., Maturi's career at the U was a time of significant positive change in many aspects of the department. The men's and women's departments were successfully merged; graduation rates reached what were all-time highs at that time; many of the Gophers' 25 programs ranked among the nation's best; the budget was balanced; football returned to a new, on-campus stadium; and, fundraising for facilities and scholarships increased. Notably, these successes were achieved with a renewed emphasis on compliance throughout the department.

Under Maturi's leadership, Minnesota claimed five national titles, winning the 2003 men's hockey, the 2004, 2005 and 2012 women's hockey and 2007 wrestling championships. The Golden Gophers also won an impressive 45 Big Ten or WCHA championships during his time leading the department.

GOPHERS SECOND IN LATEST AVCA POLL
The University of Minnesota volleyball program moved up two spots in the recent AVCA poll and are now ranked No. 2 in the polls. Minnesota has been in the top five for 16 straight week dating back to the Sept. 5, 2016 poll. That is the longest current consecutive streak of appearing in the top five of any team in the nation. Texas has done it five weeks in a row dating back to last year, and Stanford three weeks in a row dating back to last year's final poll. Florida and Penn State are making their first appearance this year.

ABOUT WEST VIRGINIA
West Virginia went 2-1 in their opening week of play as they defeated both Delaware and UT-Martin, before it fell to Penn State in three sets. The Mountaineers were led by Payton Caffrey, who averaged 3.10 kills per sets, while Mia Swanegan had 30 kills and hit .317. Erin Slinde has 74 assists already in this short season, while five players had double-digit digs in the opening weekend. WVU was 12-18 overall last season and 3-13 in the Big 12.

ABOUT UTSA
University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) opened the 2017 campaign at TCU and dropped both contests to open the season. The Roadrunners lost a five-set decision to Coastal Carolina, while it dropped a three-set match to host TCU. Marijeta Runjic has a team-high 27 kills, followed by Brianna McCulloch with 22. UTSA was 20-8 last season and tied for fourth in the Conference USA.

ABOUT TENNESSEE
Tennessee opened the 2017 season hosting the Tennessee Classic, last weekend and went 3-0 as it defeated Western Michigan, Wofford and George Washington. Erica Treiber and Alyssa Andreno had a team-best 28 and 24 kills, respectively, as they both hit over .450 during the weekend. Kendra Turner also had 20 kills, while Kanisha Jimenez had 13. Tennessee is coming off a 17-14 season and a 7-11, seventh-place finish in the SEC.

HOME, SWEET HOME
Minnesota has been undefeated at the Pavilion since Oct. 25, 2014. Minnesota finished the 2014 season on a four-win home streak. En route to a Big Ten title in 2015, the Gophers were 15-0 on their home court. This season, Minnesota again went 17-0 and now sit at a home win streak of 36-straight matches. The Gophers rank fourth in average attendance (4,668) in their 5,500 seat capacity arena. The top three (Nebraska, Hawaii, Wisconsin) facilities hold more than 6,000. In all, the Big Ten holds seven of the top 10 attendance national rankings.



 

 

MORE HEADLINES

Gophers in the Polls: Sept. 20

9/20/2017

The University of Minnesota continues to represent at a high level as multiple Golden Gopher teams achieved national rankings this week.

Gophers Ready to Start Big Ten Play

9/20/2017

The University of Minnesota returns home for the first time in two weeks to play No. 20 Michigan and Michigan State, Friday and Sunday.

Gophers to Celebrate Kathleen Ridder

9/19/2017

Gopher Athletics is celebrating Kathleen Ridder Day at women's hockey, soccer, and volleyball on Sunday, Sept. 24.

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