Oct. 2, 2013
The Last Meeting
November 16, 2012
GOPHERS ON THE ROAD TO NEBRASKA & IOWA
The No. 8 University of Minnesota volleyball team travels to No. 10 Nebraska on Oct. 4 and Iowa, Oct. 5. Both matches are set for 7 p.m. Friday's game against the Huskers will be televised live on the Big Ten Network, as Kevin Kugler and Audrey Flaugh provide the play-by-play and talent. Saturday's tilt against the Hawkeyes is available on the Gopher All-Access video feed.
ON THE DOCKET
Minnesota is on the road for the second-straight week at No. 5 Penn State (Oct. 9, 6:30 p.m. CT) and No. 12 Ohio State (Oct. 12, 6 p.m. CT). The match against Penn State will be televised, live, on BTN. Minnesota returns home to face No. 9 Michigan State (Oct. 17) and No. 14 Michigan (Oct. 19).
WITTMAN NAMED BIG TEN'S DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Ashley Wittman was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, announced Monday by the league office. It is Wittman's seventh career weekly conference honor and first in the defensive category. She previously received weekly honors three times as a freshman and as a sophomore.
Wittman, a 6-foot outside hitter, led the Gopher offensive and defensive charge as Minnesota swept Indiana and No. 20 Purdue last weekend. The senior captain had nine kills and tied a match-high eight digs in the win over the Hoosiers, en route to her 1,500th-career kill. On Sunday, Wittman added her fifth double-double of the season when she established match-highs in both kills (15) and digs (14). On the weekend, Wittman led the team with 24 kills, 22 digs (3.67 per set), and 29.5 points, while she ranked second with 10 blocks (1.67 per set). The six-rotation player also hit .339 to open Big Ten play.
NCAA ACTIVE LEADERS
Ashley Wittman reached her career kill No. 1,500 against Indiana and now sits at 1,516 in her career in just 3,829 attempts. Her kills currently rank third nationally among active leaders. Dixon ranks 21st on the same category at 1,211 and also ranks seventh in career hitting percentage with a .372 mark.
DID YOU KNOW?
Minnesota enters this weekend as the fifth-best hitting team in the country as it hits .330. In fact, Minnesota has hit over .300 in 12 matches this season, including two over .400 and one over .500. Minnesota's opponents, hold just a .138 clip in 15 games this season. The Gophers have not allowed a team to hit over .300 against them. Dartmouth was the closest at .287, followed by Connecticut (.250) and No. 19 Kentucky (Minnesota's only loss of the season) (.249).
ABOUT THE HUSKERS
Like Minnesota, No. 10 Nebraska opened Big Ten play with a pair of wins and are 2-0 in league action. Entering this weekend with a 9-2 overall record, the Huskers defeated Northwestern (3-1) and Illinois (3-0) last weekend. As a team, Nebraska is hitting .256, while holding its opponents to a .146 mark as it leads the Big Ten in kills (14.79 per set) and assists (13.79). The Huskers have yet to be defeated on their home court this season, now playing at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. Tennessee transfer Kelsey Robinson leads the team with 164 kills in 392 attempts (.288 and 4.21 kps) and 156 digs, while Cecilia Hall enters the weekend with a team-best .371. Named the Big Ten's Setter of the Week and also Tennessee transfer, Mary Pollmiller, has 391 assists.
ABOUT THE HAWKEYES
The Iowa Hawkeyes dropped two-straight Big Ten matches against Illinois and Northwestern last weekend. Entering the weekend, Iowa holds a 9-5 record after winning its first five matches. Alex Lovell leads the team with 214 kills (3.82 per set), followed by Alessandra Dietz (133 kills, 2.38 ps) and Rachael Bedell (131, 2.38 ps). Libero Bethany Yeager leads the league with 250 digs to average 4.46 per set.
Nebraska holds a tilted all-time series mark against the Gophers as it leads 29-5. Minnesota, however, won the last battle between the two teams as it defeated the Huskers in Minneapolis last year in five sets. The Gophers own a 70-12 all-time mark against the Hawkeyes. Minnesota won in four sets last year in Iowa City, Iowa and three in Minneapolis.
THE LAST TIME
Minnesota posted a comeback win in an epic 3-2 victory over Nebraska, Nov. 16, 2012 (25-12, 15-25, 22-25, 25-19, 21-19). The two teams were close in every statistical category. Minnesota outhit the Huskers, .287 to .263 and narrowly out-dug them, 56-54. As Nebraska held an 11.0-10.0 lead in blocks, the Gophers had 69 kills to 63. The win over the Cornhuskers marked the first since Oct. 4, 1980. Daly Santana led the Gophers with a career-high 17 kills and had 10 digs. Tori Dixon had 16 kills, and had seven blocks and two crucial aces, while former Gopher Katherine Harms had 13 kills and a team-high 12 digs. Morgan Bohl saw time as the Gopher libero and had six digs in her first-ever collegiate match.
Minnesota completed its 2012 regular season with a 3-0 win (25-13, 25-22, 25-16) over Iowa, Nov. 17, 2012. Harms and Dixon led the Gophers each with 12 kills. Dixon hit a .526 clip with 12 kills, two errors in 19 attempts. Bohl made her first collegiate start as the Gopher libero and had a match-high eight digs. Santana had eight kills, three aces and seven digs, while Ashley Wittman had seven kills, an ace and five digs.
MINNESOTA NO. 8 IN AVCA POLL
The University of Minnesota volleyball program moved up one spot and is ranked eighth in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll. Washington took over the No. 1 spot, followed by Southern California, Florida, Texas and Penn State. In all, the Big Ten Conference has eight in the latest poll. Along with the Nittany Lions and the Gophers, Michigan State is ranked No. 9, followed by Nebraska (10), Ohio State (12), Michigan (14), Wisconsin (23) and Purdue (24). Illinois is receiving votes.