Oct. 11, 2013
GOPHERS CONTINUE ROAD CHALLENGE
The No. 11 University of Minnesota volleyball team is back on the road as it travels to No. 14 Ohio State, Saturday, Oct. 12. The match can be found on Gopher All-Access as it starts at 6 p.m. CT.
ON THE DOCKET
Minnesota returns home to face No. 7 Michigan State (Oct. 17) and No. 17 Michigan (Oct. 19). Thursday's match against the Spartans will be televised on ESPN2. Saturday's match will be broadcast live on Gopher All-Access.
DIXON ON THE ATTACK
Tori Dixon has hit over .400 in 13 of Minnesota's 18 matches this season. The 6-foot, 3-inch middle blocker has hit over .600 in two matches this season, eight over .500 and three over .400. Having not played in the Dartmouth match, Minnesota is 13-0 when Dixon hits over .400 in a match and 1-3 when she's hit under .400. In the past two seasons, Dixon has hit over .400 in 33 matches.
DID YOU KNOW?
Minnesota enters this weekend as the fifth-best hitting team in the country as it hits .309. In fact, Minnesota has hit over .300 in 12 matches this season, including two over .400 and one over .500. Minnesota's opponents, hold a .163 clip in 18 games this season.
NCAA ACTIVE LEADERS
Ashley Wittman reached her career kill No. 1,500 against Indiana (9/25) and now sits at 1,552 in her career. Her kills currently rank fifth nationally among active leaders. Dixon ranks 20th in the same category at 1,263 and also ranks seventh in career hitting percentage with a .373 mark.
Minnesota seniors Tori Dixon and Ashley Wittman have each had standout performances for the Gophers this season. Against Penn State, Wittman led the offensive charge when she had season bests in kills (18) and digs (22). In all, Dixon has led the Gophers in match kills 12 times, followed by Wittman with four. Wittman also leads the Gophers with seven double-doubles.
ABOUT THE BUCKEYES
Ohio State finished the non-conference undefeated when it won 13 straight games before falling to Michigan State in Columbus, Sept. 29. Holding a 14-2 overall record, OSU enters the weekend with a 2-2 mark against league opponents. The Buckeyes won the Big Ten season opener against Michigan, fell to MSU and Purdue in straight sets and defeated Indiana in five, Oct. 5. OSU's offensive threat is senior Kaitlyn Leary.
She leads the conference in kills (5.13 kills pet set) and in points (5.51). Leary has played in 60 sets, has 308 kills in 733 swings to hit .263 this year. Taylor Sandbothe ranks second on the team with 143 kills, followed by Kylie Randall and Erin Sekinger with 111 and 109. Sandbothe leads the team with 1.05 blocks per set, while libero Davionna DiSalvatore leads in digs at 215. Setter Taylor Sherwin has
ALL-TIME VS. OHIO STATE
Minnesota holds a 36-35 lead in the all-time series, dating back to the 1975. In the last five matches in Columbus, Minnesota has gone 2-3, as it won last year, fell in 2011, 2010 and 2009, but won in 2008.
LAST YEAR VS. OSU
Minnesota won both contests between the two teams last year in a three-set and five set decisions. On Sept. 28, 2012, Minnesota won, 3-0 at the Sports Pavilion. Minnesota was led by former Gopher Katherine Harms and Daly Santana as they each had 14 kills. Tori Dixon had seven kills, while Alexandra Palmer had a match-high 37 assists. Lindsey Lawmaster added a match-high 11 digs. Minnesota hit .309 to OSU's .221 and edging the Buckeyes in kills, 42-37.
On Nov. 4, 2012, Minnesota trailed 2-0 and came back to win the next three to earn a 3-2 win in Columbus, Ohio. Minnesota had four players with double-digit kills. The Gophers were led by Harms, who had 17 kills, while Santana had 15. Ashley Wittman had a season-best 21 digs, as Dixon hit .542 and seven blocks. Dana Knudsen had 11 kills and hit .364. Palmer had 53 assists. The Gophers hit .315 in the match, including a .423 mark in the fourth set. OSU hit .233 in the match and had 11.0 blocks to Minnesota's 13.0. After being out dug, 42-29 in the first two sets, Minnesota finished with 79 digs to OSU's 72.
WHERE THEY RANK IN THE BIG TEN
Minnesota ranks high in a few of the conference statistical categories. Minnesota ranks first in blocks (2.83 blocks per set) second in hitting percentage (.309), third in assists (12.98 assists per set) and sixth in kills (13.64). Individually, Dixon ranks third in the Big Ten in hitting percentage (.440), blocks (1.33) and points (5.15) and fourth in kills (4.16).
GOPHER BLOCK PARTY
Freshman Hannah Tapp has already made her mark so far as a Gopher middle blocker. Tapp has played in 52 sets and 17 matches this season. In that span, she's led or tied the Gopher blocking in six matches this season. In Big Ten action alone, Tapp has 26 total blocks in five games. She's ranked fifth in blocks against conference opponents as she averages 1.37 per set. On the total season, Tapp averages 1.13 blocks per set (6-53-59).
PENN STATE RECAP
Minnesota dropped a five-set decision to No. 4 Penn State in University Park, Pa., Wednesday. The Golden Gophers (15-3, 3-2 in the Big Ten) fell in the first set, 25-19, won the second 25-23, fell in the third, 25-21, won in the fourth, 25-22, and dropped a 15-11 decision in the final set.
Minnesota had three in double-digit kills. Ashley Wittman recorded a season-best 18 kills and 22 digs, which was one shy of her career high. Tori Dixon finished with 17 kills, while Daly Santana added 15 and Sarah Wilhite nine. Alexandra Palmer had 46 assists and 10 digs for the Gophers. The Gophers established a season-best 18.0 blocks, led by Dixon with nine and Hannah Tapp with six. The Nittany Lions had 18.5 blocks and a 76-61 kill advantage. As a team, Minnesota hit .208 to Penn State's .245.