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The Minnesota volleyball team will open up Big Ten play at Indiana on Friday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. Minnesota will then travel to West Lafayette, Ind. to take on Purdue on Saturday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. The Golden Gophers will look to defend their first ever Big Ten title that they claimed with a 17-3 record in 2002. Minnesota comes into the match against Indiana with a six-matching winning streak against the Hoosiers dating back to Nov. 27, 1999. The Golden Gophers have an eight-match winning streak against Purdue that dates back to Nov. 28, 1998. Indiana brings a 7-4 record into its Big Ten opener. The Hoosiers defeated St. Louis, Austin Peay and Western Kentucky last week to start up a three match winning streak. Purdue heads into Big Ten play with a 7-3 overall record. The Boilermakers have won three of four winning the Annual Mortar Board Purdue Premier with victories over Mississippi State, Middle Tennessee State and Indiana State before falling at Notre Dame on Sept. 17.
Minnesota is 7-0 in Big Ten road openers under current head coach Mike Hebert. The Golden Gophers are also 4-3 in Big Ten openers under Hebert, and have won four straight. Overall Minnesota is 12-10 in Big Ten openers and 16-6 in Big Ten road openers in 22 years of conference play. Last season Minnesota had a big statement win, on its way to the Big Ten title, in its 2002 Big Ten road opener by defeating No. 14 Wisconsin in Madison for the first time since Nov. 22, 1995. Under Hebert, Minnesota has opened Big Ten road play with wins over Iowa (1996, 1998, 1999, 2001), Indiana (1997) and No. 11 Penn State in 2000. Hebert lost his first three Big Ten openers at Minnesota to No. 2 Penn State in 1996, Michigan in 1997 and No. 1 Penn State in 1998, before rebounding with four straight Big Ten opener wins against No. 15 Wisconsin in 1999, Purdue in 2000, Iowa in 2001 and No. 21 Michigan State in 2002. This season will mark only the third time in eight seasons that a Hebert-coached Minnesota team has started out Big Ten play on the road. The Golden Gophers have started off Big Ten play against Indiana three different times. Minnesota is 2-1 against the Hoosiers in conference openers winning in 1981 and 1982, and losing in 1984.
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