Sept. 24, 2013
GOPHERS SET TO OPEN BIG TEN PLAY
The No. 9 University of Minnesota volleyball program begins Big Ten Conference play Wednesday when Indiana visits the Sports Pavilion, Sept. 25, at 6:30 p.m. The Gopher/Indiana match kicks off the conference season and will be shown live on the Big Ten Network. Mike Wolf will provide the play-by-play, while Liz Tortorello-Nelson handles color analysis.
ON THE DOCKET
The Gophers prepare for No. 20 Purdue on Sunday, Sept. 29 at 1 p.m. The Gopher/Purdue match will be broadcast on Gopher All-Access. Following the Purdue match, Minnesota will play four straight on the road. The Gophers travel to Nebraska (10/4) and Iowa (10/5), followed by road games at Penn State (10/9) and Ohio State (10/12).
DARTMOUTH DUELS RECAP
Minnesota won its tournament last weekend as it competed in the Dartmouth Duels in Hanover. N.H. The Gophers were tournament champions for the third time this season as they went 4-0. Minnesota opened with a pair of 3-0 wins over Rhode Island and New Hampshire. The Gophers dropped a set to Connecticut, but won, 3-1, and finished the tournament with a sweep over host Dartmouth. Tori Dixon, Daly Santana and Ashley Wittman were named to the all-tournament team.
DIXON NAMED BIG TEN'S DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Tori Dixon received Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors, announced Monday by the league office. It marks the third weekly honor for Dixon in four weeks. Playing in three of the four Dartmouth Duel matches, she had 40 kills and was named to her third all-tournament team this season. Dixon averaged 4.00 kills per set, hit .485 on the weekend, led the team with five aces, 13 blocks and established 26 digs as a six-rotation middle blocker. She had just seven errors in 68 attempts and gathered a team-best 53 points for Minnesota.
WHERE THEY RANK IN THE BIG TEN
Entering Big Ten play this weekend, Minnesota ranks high in the conference statistical categories. Minnesota ranks second in hitting percentage (.327) and blocks (2.76 blocks per set) and third in assists (13.36 assists per set) and kills (14.05). Individually, Dixon ranks second in the Big Ten in hitting percentage (.471), third in kills (4.26 kps) and fourth in blocks (1.36). Ohio State finished the non-conference season undefeated, while Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State recorded one loss in non-conference action.
WHERE THEY STAND IN NATIONAL RANKINGS
The Golden Gophers rank high in a few national statistic rankings. As a team, Minnesota ranks sixth as it's hitting .327 and 16th in blocks per set (2.76). Tori Dixon currently holds the sixth-best hitting percentage at .471. In 39 sets, Dixon has 166 kills and just 30 errors in 289 attempts. She also ranks sixth in points per set (5.40), 22nd in kills per set (4.26) and 27th in blocks per set (1.36).
DID YOU KNOW?
The Wednesday match will feature two of the national active leaders in career kills in Minnesota's Ashley Wittman and Indiana's Jordan Haverly. Wittman currently ranks fourth nationally with 1,492 career kills. Haverly is right behind Wittman, at 1,489 career kills. Dixon ranks 22nd on the same category at 1,188 career kills.
GOPHERS IN THE BIG TEN OPENER
The Golden Gophers are 7-3 in its last decade of Big Ten openers. Minnesota's last loss in a Big Ten opener came against Illinois in 2011, the year the Illini made it to the NCAA Final Four. In the last 10 years, the Gophers have only opened against the Hoosiers once, which came on Sept. 26, 2003. Minnesota fell to Indiana in three (30-22, 30-25, 34-32). In the last decade, Minnesota has opened the Big Ten Conference season against Illinois, Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Northwestern twice and has faced Indiana and Purdue once.
THE LAST TIME
Minnesota is 47-15 all-time against Indiana, dating back to 1975. The Gophers faced the Hoosiers in Bloomington, Ind., last year and won in straight sets, 25-22, 25-20, 25-22. The match marked the last for the Gophers in the conference season on Nov. 24, 2012. Former Gopher Katherine Harms had a double-double with 16 kills and 11 digs, while Tori Dixon hit .750 in the match. As a team, Minnesota hit .354 to Indiana's .258.
ABOUT THE HOOSIERS
Indiana enters Big Ten play with an 8-3 record as it closed out the non-conference portion with losses to Duke (3-0) and North Carolina (3-1). Coached by Sherry Dunbar, the Hoosiers were 6-0 at home, 2-0 in neutral courts and 0-3 in away games. Awele Nwaeze hits the best for Indiana at a .310 clip, while Jordan Haverly averages a team-best 2.86 kills per set. As a team, Indiana is hitting .254 (ranks seventh in the Big Ten), averages 13.92 kps (fifth) and 1.71 aces per set (third).
The Golden Gophers went 12-1 in non-conference play, dropping just four sets the entire preseason. Minnesota won 11 matches in straight sets, went 1-0 (vs. UConn) in four sets and played just one five-set match in its lone loss against ranked Kentucky. Minnesota held a 36-4 win ratio in the non-conference. Its largest set win differential came in the season-opening set against Jacksonville State at a 25-8 victory.