Gophers Travel to Iowa and Nebraska For Road Contests

Go Gophers! Dana Knudsen
Go Gophers!
Dana Knudsen
Go Gophers!
Logo   Minnesota at Iowa / Nebraska
Friday, Oct. 12 Minnesota at Iowa | 7 p.m.
Location Iowa City, Iowa
Live Video Gopher All-Access
Live Blog Game Day Live
Live Stats Gametracker
   
Sunday, Oct. 14 Minnesota at Nebraska | 2 p.m.
Location Lincoln, Neb.
Television ESPN2
Live Blog Game Day Live
Live Stats Click Here
   
Game Notes Minnesota | Iowa | Nebraska
Season Statistics Minnesota | Iowa | Nebraska
Social Media Facebook | @GopherVball

Oct. 11, 2012

Minnesota returns to road action after a two-week hiatus as it travels to Iowa and Nebraska this weekend. Friday’s match against the Iowa Hawkeyes is set for a 7 p.m., in Iowa City, while the Gophers face the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Sunday at 2 p.m.
 
Friday’s match against Iowa will be featured on Gopher All-Access through a paid subscription. Sunday’s match will be featured on ESPN2. Sam Gore will provide the play-by-play, while United States coach Karch Kiraly will be the color. Both Gopher matches will feature an in-game chat and live statistics on gophersports.com.

Minnesota returns to the Sports Pavilion confines as it hosts Wisconsin and Purdue next week. The Gophers host the border rival Badgers on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. Minnesota then welcomes the Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. The Purdue match will be the lone time this season the Gophers will face the Boilermakers during the 2012 regular season schedule.

Rookie Daly Santana was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week, announced Monday by the conference office. The weekly award is the first for Santana and the fifth for the Golden Gopher volleyball program this season. The award also marks Minnesota's first freshman of the week accolade since Ashley Wittman accomplished the feat on Sept. 27, 2010.

Santana averaged 2.6 kills per set and 2.3 digs per set last week as the Golden Gophers defeated both Michigan and No. 25 Michigan State. In Wednesday's match against the Wolverines, Santana tied a career-high 14 kills and hit .370 as the Gophers won in four sets. A six-rotation player, Santana also had two aces as well as eight digs and two block assists against Michigan. It’s the third time this season Santana has had a 14-kill match. On the weekend, Santana averaged 3.11 kills per set, had three aces and 21 digs. This season, Santana has a team-best 32 aces as she averages 0.53 aces per set, ranking fourth nationally. Along with her aces and 134 kills, Santana holds 139 digs this year in 17 matches played.

Katherine Harms continues to be one of the best attackers in the Big Ten this season. The senior opposite hitter leads the Big Ten in kills (averaging 4.50 per set) and second in points (5.20 ps). Harms has continued to improve each season with the Maroon and Gold. As a rookie, she posted 85 total kills in 68 games played. In 2010, she jumped to 165 kills to average 1.72. As a junior last year, Harms had 305 kills and has already produced 270 this season. A six-rotation player, Harms defensive skills have gone up each year as well. After she posted 24 digs as a freshman, Harms had 142 as a sophomore and 177 last year. This year in 60 sets played and 17 matches, Harms has 147 digs. She currently sits at 825 kills (575 as a junior and senior), and 490 digs (324 of those in last two years).

Junior Ashley Wittman had back-to-back matches where she recorded a double double in kills and digs. A six-rotation player, Wittman had 28 kills against Michigan and Michigan State last weekend and a team-high 35 digs. She also held perfection in the reception category. Wittman was a perfect 20-for-20 against Michigan and held a 17-for-17 serve /receive against Michigan State last weekend. In her career, Wittman has 1167 career kills and 902 career digs.

Minnesota is 5-2 away from the Sports Pavilion this season. The Gophers are 3-1 on the opponent’s home court and 2-1 in neutral-site locations. The Gophers started the season with two wins at the James Madison Invite (Aug. 25), and followed up with a split against then-No. 4 Texas (Sept. 6-7). Minnesota went 2-1 in the Golden Hurricane Classic (Sept. 14-15) and won both matches in the Big Ten opening weekend against Illinois and Northwestern (Sept. 21 & 23).  

It’s a tale of two records for the Gopher competition this weekend. Minnesota holds a 68-12 all-time mark against the Iowa Hawkeyes, dating back to 1975. Minnesota swept Iowa in both home and road matches last year. The last time the Gophers fell to the Hawkeyes dates back to Sept. 22, 1995 at Iowa (3-1). Minnesota, however, is just 4-28 against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, also dating back to 1975. Minnesota lost in five at home to the Huskers, while it dropped a four-set match in Lincoln, Neb.  

Iowa is coming off a strong showing against Indiana and then-No. 12 Purdue last weekend. After a four-set win over the Hoosiers last Friday, Iowa dominated the Boilermakers on their home court with a 3-0 win. It was the first time since 2008 the Hawkeyes won back-to-back conference matches. Iowa enters the weekend with a 10-9 overall record, including a 2-4 record in Big Ten play. The Hawkeyes were led last weekend by Alex Lovell, who was named Big Ten Player of the Week. In the two wins, she had 37 kills, including a career-best 24 against Purdue. On the season, Lovell averages 3.34 kills per set with 247 kills in 767 swings. Alessandra Dietz, holds the team’s best hitting percentage at .249 (122-43-317), while Nikki  Daily has 716 assists. Iowa ranks second in the conference in digs, while starting libero Bethany Yeager has a league-high 362 (4.89 dps).

The Cornhuskers hold a 13-2 overall mark and are 5-1 in Big Ten play this season. Holding a perfect 7-0 record at home, the Huskers have defeated the likes of ranked teams, UCLA (3-2, Aug. 25), Kentucky (3-1, Sept. 8) and Michigan State (3-0, Sept. 26) on their home court this year. Since dropping two matches to Iowa State (3-1) on Sept 15 and Penn State (Sept 22), the Huskers have gone on a 5-0 run in league action. In conference action alone, Nebraska is hitting .305 and holds its Big Ten opponents to a .194 hitting percentage. Tabbed as the preseason favorite for the Big Ten title, Nebraska won it last year in its first year as a Big Ten institution. In 15 matches this season, the Huskers average 2.86 blocks per set (154 total), a .303 hitting percentage and average 14.35 kills per set. Freshman Meghan Haggerty hits .410 this year, while Gina Mancuso has 186 kills to average 3.44 per set. Hannah Werth has 162 kills to average 3.00 per set, followed by Morgan Broekhuis with 2.88 per set and 141 total. Lauren Cook was named Big Ten Setter of the Week when she had 52 assists last weekend against Purdue and Indiana and has 606 assists this season. Cook, Werth and Mancuso were also selected as Preseason All-Big Ten. Mancuso is a returning first-team All-American, while both Werth and Cook earned first-team All-Big Ten honors last year.