Oct. 6, 2011
Michigan MSU Notes
The No. 14 University of Minnesota volleyball program is on the road for the second-straight weekend as it travels to Michigan and Michigan State, Oct. 7-8. Both matches are set for 6 p.m. CT starts and can be followed through the Gopher All-Access as well as through the online blog at gophersports.com.
The Michigan/Michigan State trip marks the fifth of seven weekends the Gophers have been on the road in the early season. Minnesota has gone 5-4 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). The Gophers went 0-2 last weekend at Ohio State and Penn State, the third-straight year the Gophers have fallen in that road trip.
Minnesota is 48-13 all time against Michigan, but will look for its first road win in Ann Arbor since 2005 this weekend. The Gophers hold a 45-16 all-time mark against the Spartans, including a six-match win streak, dating back to 2008.
The Golden Gophers fell to the Michigan Wolverines in five sets last year at Cliff Keen Arena. The Gophers fell by scores of 13-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23 and 16-14 on Sept. 25 as the Gophers were ranked 14th to Michigan’s 22nd AVCA rank. Minnesota, however, defeated Michigan in the last time the two teams met on Nov. 12 at the Sports Pavilion. Minnesota, ranked 22nd at the time, defeated then. No. 16 Michigan in three sets, 25-18, 25-14, 25-21.
The Gophers swept the Spartans last year, both at home and on the road. Minnesota hosted Michigan State in the two team’s last meeting when Minnesota won in five sets (29-31, 25-20, 25-23, 22-25, 15-5) at the Sports Pavilion on Nov. 13. Prior to the last meeting, Minnesota earned a three-set win against Michigan State, 25-17, 25-23 and 25-21.
The Wolverines enter the weekend with a 14-2 overall record and a 2-2 mark within conference play. Michigan opened the Big Ten Conference season with a win at Indiana (3-0) and a loss to Purdue (3-0), Sept. 23-24. Last weekend at home, the Wolverines had a win over Iowa (3-0) and a loss over Nebraska (0-3), Sept, 30-Oct. 1 at Cliff Keen Arena. Michigan will face its fifth-ranked opponent of the season in Minnesota this weekend, sitting at 2-2. Michigan is sixth in the country in kills per set (14.74), sixth in assists per set (13.61) and seventh in aces per set (1.87). Lexi Erwin leads the team with 178 kills (.229 hitting percentage), while Alex Hunt leads in kills per set (3.40). Sloane Donhoffe averages 4.54 digs per set.
Michigan State enters the weekend with a 13-3 overall record and are 2-2 in conference action. The Spartans earned wins against Indiana and Iowa (3-1, 3-0), while falling to Purdue and Nebraska (0-3, 2-3). Prior to the start of conference season, MSU went 11-1 in non-conference action. The Spartans are led by Jenilee Rathje, who averages 4.19 kills per set and has 218 kills this year. Kyndra Abron averages 3.53 kps and 187 kills, while Alexis Mathews leads the team with 1.38 blocks per set.
The Golden Gophers return home for the first time since Sept. 23 and 25 when it hosts Iowa and Nebraska next weekend. The Gophers face the Hawkeyes at 7 p.m. at the Sports Pavilion Friday, Oct. 14. Minnesota then hosts Nebraska, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m., in Williams Arena. Saturday’s match against the Cornhuskers in also the Dig Pink night, where student-athletes will be at the entrances to collect monetary donations that goes toward breast cancer awareness. Dig Pink shirts ($10) and ace cards ($1) will be sold throughout the day and all proceeds go toward Dig Pink.
The Saturday match is also the Battle in the Barn and admission for the Saturday event is $1. High School teams receive free admission when they submit their roster to email@example.com. University of Minnesota Faculty and Staff receive free admission for themselves and guests, while showing their UCard. Doors for the Saturday event will open at 5:30 p.m.