Sept. 29, 2011
The No. 10 University of Minnesota volleyball program travels to No. 24 Ohio State and No. 9 Penn State, this weekend. Friday's match is set for 6 p.m. CT against the Buckeyes and 5 p.m. CT against the Nittany Lions. After the OSU/PSU trip, the Golden Gophers are on the road for the second-straight weekend as they travel to Michigan and Michigan State, Oct. 7-8. Both matches are set for 6 p.m. CT starts.
Fans that can't make it to this weekend's road match at Ohio State, Gopher All-Access is your place to be to watch all the action. The Gophers will also have free audio access this weekend, located on gophersports.com. Minnesota's match against Penn State will be televised live on the Big Ten Network.
The Ohio State/Penn State trip marks the fourth of six weekends the Gophers have been on the road in the early season. Minnesota has gone 5-2 outside the confines of the Sports Pavilion. Minnesota was 1-1 in the AVCA Showcase (hosted by Penn State), 2-1 at the Clarion-Inn-vitational (hosted by Northern Iowa) and 2-0 at the Marquette Challenge (hosted by Marquette). Minnesota will also be on the road next weekend, Oct. 7-8 at Michigan and Michigan State.
Minnesota holds a 33-33 all time record against Ohio State, while posting an 9-34 mark against Penn State. Minnesota went 1-1 against both teams last year as it fell to both teams on the road, but won at the Sports Pavilion to even the season mark.
Minnesota traveled to Ohio State and Penn State last year on Oct. 15-16. The Golden Gophers opened the weekend with a four-set loss to PSU by scores of 25-22, 25-14, 21-25, 25-16 at Rec Hall. The Gophers then held a three-set loss to Ohio State, 25-23, 25-20, 25-17, on Oct. 16 as the Buckeyes outhit Minnesota, .356 to .198.
Minnesota, however, battled back and won both matches against Ohio State and Penn State at the Sports Pavilion in November 2010. On Nov. 26, the Gophers earned a four-set win (25-19, 25-10, 21-25, 25-22) in their last meeting. Then on Nov. 27th in one of Minnesota's best matches of the season, the Gophers defeated then-No. 7 Penn State in five (14-25, 21-25, 26-24, 25-23, 23-21). It was the first time since 2004 that Minnesota had defeated PSU.
Ohio State enters the weekend ranked 24th in the AVCA poll. Like Minnesota, the Buckeyes went 1-1 in the Big Ten opening weekend, defeating Iowa in four sets, while falling to Nebraska in four sets. On the season, OSU is 11-4 after it dropped three-straight matches against Hawai'i in three sets (9/1), UCLA in four (9/2) and in four against Long Beach State (9/4). The Buckeyes are led by Mari Hole, who averages 4.20 kills per set, while Emily Danks averages. 3.74. Taylor Sherwin has played in 38 sets and averages 11.21 assists per set, while Amanda Peterson has also seen action and has 8.34 aps. Kelli Barhorst leads OSU with 1.07 blocks per set, while Sarah Miqnin has 5.04 digs per set.
Penn State also went 1-1 in the Big Ten opening week of play, falling to Nebraska in five, while defeating Iowa in three. At a crazy crowd at NU Coliseum last Wednesday, PSU fell by scores of 25-18, 25-16, 23-25, 19-25, 15-10 to the Huskers. PSU rebounded and defeated the Hawkeyes, Friday night by scores of 25-23, 25-23, 25-14. Penn State enters the weekend with an 8-4 overall record. The Nittany Lions dropped their first contest of the season to Oregon in four and also dropped back-to-back matches against Stanfor (9/9) and Texas (9/10) before their loss to Nebraska. PSU is 4-1 on their home court, dropping only the Oregon match and rallying to defeat USC during the AVCA Showcase, which Minnesota was also a part of. Deja McClendon holds a team-best 3.62 kills per set, while Katie Slay holds a 1.29 blocks per set. Micha Hancock has 424 assists on the season.