Minnesota will host No. 9 Wisconsin and Illinois this week at the Sports Pavilion. The Golden Gophers will host the Badgers on Friday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m., and will face Illinois on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. Wisconsin enters the week with a 14-1 overall record, and is tied for first place in the Big Ten at 6-0. Illinois is tied for seventh at 2-4 and has a 10-6 overall record. Minnesota enters the week ranked No. 11, and has a 12-4 overall record. The Golden Gophers are third in the Big Ten with a 5-1 record. Both of this week's matches will be available on audio on gophersports.com.
The Girls Scouts of America will be accepting new and gently used coats, along with monetary donations for "Coats for Kids" prior to Saturday's volleyball match. Anyone who donates a coat will receive free admission to the match that night. For more information, visit http://coats-for-kids.org/site/.
Minnesota is off to a 5-1 start or better in Big Ten play for the seventh time in 12 years under current head coach Mike Hebert. The Golden Gophers started off 5-1 in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006. In 1999, Minnesota started out 7-0 before its first loss in conference play. This year, marks the fourth year in a row that Minnesota has started off 5-1 in Big Ten play. In five of the six years that the Golden Gophers started off 5-1 or better they finished second place or higher in conference play.
The Golden Gophers have won 15 of their last 16 Big Ten matches at home (14-1 at the Sports Pavilion and 1-0 at Williams Arena) dating back to the end of the 2005 season. Minnesota’s only conference loss at home in that span came to Penn State in five games on Oct. 28, 2006.
Minnesota will face its seventh ranked opponent of the year when it faces No. 9 Wisconsin on Oct. 12. The Golden Gophers enter the week having faced six ranked teams this year. That total is the second highest in the Big Ten behind Penn State, who has faced seven ranked opponents. Minnesota has faced No. 23 Ohio University, No. 12 San Diego, No. 2 Stanford, No. 15 California, No. 11 Michigan and No. 3 Penn State.
Minnesota senior middle blocker Jessy Jones missed both matches last week due to ankle injury that she suffered in the second game of the Michigan match on Sept. 30. Jones’ status for this week is questionable heading into this week’s action.
The sport of volleyball will begin the fourth annual Border Battle Cup between Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Badgers won the Cup in the 2004-05 and 2006-07 seasons, while Minnesota won it in the 2005-06 season. The annual battle for border supremacy between the Athletic Departments at the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin enters its fourth year of existence with each institution claiming a victory. The two institutions compete in 22 sports during the course of the year, and get points for each victory. Minnesota and Wisconsin compete head-to-head in volleyball, football, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's hockey, wrestling and softball. Team's also get awarded points for whoever finisheds higher in Big Ten Championships in men's and women's cross country, men's and women's swimming and diving, men's and women's indoor track, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's golf, men's and women's outdoor track and rowing. Individual victories in volleyball are worth 20 points. Minnesota will face Wisconsin on Friday, Oct. 12 at the Sports Pavilion and Saturday, Nov. 24 at the Wisconsin Fieldhouse in the final match of the Big Ten season.