Sep 4, 2013
GOPHER OPEN HOME SEASON HOSTING DIET COKE CLASSIC
The Golden Gophers open the 2013 home season this weekend when they host the Diet Coke Classic, Sept. 6-7, at the Sports Pavilion. The Gophers welcome Ball State, Duke and Western Illinois to the Pav this weekend. Minnesota opens the home season at 7:30 p.m., Friday against Ball State and follow with 11 a.m. (Western Illinois) and 7:30 p.m. (Duke) matches Saturday.
ABOUT THE FIELD
Ball State played three matches last weekend and went 2-1. It plays a match on Wednesday against IPFW before heading to Minnesota. Duke comes to Minnesota with a 2-1 record, as it defeated LIU Brooklyn and New Orleans in three, but fell to No. 9 Florida, 3-0, the opening week. The Leathernecks enter the DCC with a 2-1 record. As it fell in the season opener to Bradley (3-1), WIU rebounded to win the next two over UT Martin and Maryland Eastern Shore.
GOPHERS AT HOME
Minnesota is 55-9 in the last four seasons at the Sports Pavilion. The Gophers fell just once at home last year and boasted a 15-1 home record. In 15 home matches last season the Gophers were 10-5 in 2011, while they went 16-2 in 2010. On their home court, Minnesota was 14-1 in 2009.
OPENING WEEKEND RECAP
Minnesota opened the 2013 season at the UAB/Samford Challenge last weekend in Birmingham, Ala. The Golden Gophers earned four-straight 3-0 set wins over the likes of Jacksonville State, UAB, Georgia State and Samford. Minnesota hit .399 as a team, while Tori Dixon had 49 kills to average 4.08 kills per set. Daly Santana had 43 kills, while Ashley Wittman was at 39. Minnesota also established 22 aces and 204 kills last weekend.
WELCOME TO THE TEAM
Minnesota had four newcomers make their first collegiate starts in Adrianna Nora, Hannah Tapp, Paige Tapp and Sarah Wilhite. Nora and Paige Tapp had their first Gopher start against Georgia State, while Wilhite and Hannah Tapp started in the season opener against Jacksonville State. In all, Minnesota had six newcomers made their Gopher debuts over the weekend and 14 players saw action.
DIXON NAMED BIG TEN PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Minnesota senior middle blocker Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minn.) kicked off the 2013 season as the Big Ten Player of the Week, announced Monday by the conference office. The player of the week honors is the first of her career and the middle blocker's fourth weekly award as a Golden Gopher.
Dixon aided the Gophers to four 3-0 wins at the UAB/Samford Challenge. Dixon led the Gophers in kills (49), kills per set (4.08), hitting percentage (.472), total blocks (11), blocks per set (0.92) and points (58). Named to the 2013 Preseason All-Big Ten list, Dixon played six rotations in a majority of her matches played and notched double-doubles against Jacksonville State (17 kills, 12 digs) and UAB (15 kills, 11 digs. She was also named to the All-Tournament team.
A YEAR UNDER HIS BELT
As of Aug. 30, head coach Hugh McCutcheon completed a full year with the Golden Gopher volleyball program. After serving as the United States Olympic coach in 2012, Hugh McCutcheon joined the Golden Gopher staff for his first official practice on August 30, 2012. Last year, McCutcheon led the Golden Gophers to a 27-8 overall record and a 15-5 mark in the Big Ten, which tied for second place. Laura Bush and Erich Hinterstocker will serve as the associate head coach and assistant coach for the 2013 season. Bush enters her sixth year with the team, while Hinterstocker is in his first year.
MINNESOTA MOVES UP TO NO. 4 IN AVCA POLL
The University of Minnesota volleyball program moved up two spots in the recent American Volleyball Coaches Association poll.
Minnesota, which held the No. 6 spot in the preseason, cracked the top-five after a 4-0 record, all of which were three-set wins. As a team in the UAB/Samford Challenge, Minnesota hit .339 and averaged 14.42 kills per set. Along with 22 aces, Minnesota also had 204 digs for 17.00 per set.
Penn State takes over the No. 1 spot, followed by Stanford and Southern Cal. In all, the Big Ten Conference has eight in the latest poll. Along with the Nittany Lions and the Gophers, Michigan is also in the top 10 at No. 7. Also in the poll is Nebraska (13), Illinois (19), Michigan State (20), Purdue (22) and Ohio State (23). Wisconsin is receiving votes.
Along with the ranked conference opponents, Minnesota will faces two non-conference teams. The Golden Gophers face No. 17 Louisville on Sept. 13 and No. 21 Kentucky on Sept. 14 in the Bluegrass Battle in Lexington, Ky.
ON THE DOCKET
Minnesota will compete in back-to-back tournaments the next two weeks. The Golden Gophers travel to Lexington, Ky., Sept. 13-14 to face ranked opponents Louisville and Kentucky. Minnesota then finishes out its non-conference season when it travels to Hanover, N.H. to compete in the Dartmouth Tournament. Minnesota will face another four teams in Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut and host Dartmouth. The Gophers open the Big Ten Conference season at home against Indiana, Sept. 25 at the Sports Pavilion.