Oct. 22, 2013
GOPHERS TRAVEL TO WISCONSIN FOR BORDER BATTLE
The No. 7 University of Minnesota volleyball team travels to Madison, Wis., to face the No. 16 Wisconsin Badgers, Wednesday at 7 p.m. The match will be broadcast on Gopher All-Access.
ON THE DOCKET
The Gophers return home on Oct. 27 for the annual Dig Pink event, set for 1 p.m. The game will be available on Gopher All-Access. Minnesota hits the road and faces No. 21 Purdue and Indiana, Nov. 1-2.
TAPP NAMED BIG TEN'S FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Minnesota's Hannah Tapp has been named the Big Ten's Freshman of the Week after her performance against No. 5 Michigan State and No. 16 Michigan this past weekend. It's Tapp's first weekly honor and Minnesota's sixth award this season. Tori Dixon has received four weekly awards, while Ashley Wittman and Tapp each have one.
Tapp, a 6-foot, 2-inch middle blocker, helped the Gophers to wins over then-No. 5 Michigan State and then-No. 16 Michigan last week. Against the Spartans, Tapp added six block assists, one dig and added two kills in seven attempts as the Gophers won in five sets. She followed with a team and career-best eight blocks in the Saturday win over Michigan. Along with her blocks, she also established three kills, one assist and a dig. On the season, Tapp ranks fourth among Big Ten blockers as she's recorded 73 blocks her freshman season. in conference action alone, Tapp and Dixon are tied for third with 40 blocks.
BACK-TO-BACK RANKED WINS
Minnesota defeated two ranked opponents over the course of last weekend in then-No. 5 Michigan State and then-No. 16 Michigan. The pair of wins mark the first regular season weekend wins against ranked opponents since November 7-8, 2008. Prior to that, Gophers defeated No. 18 Purdue (3-0) and No. 17 Illinois (3-2).
DID YOU KNOW?
Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan are the only three teams in the nation that have played or will play against six-straight ranked opponents this season. The Gophers are currently in the midst of playing five-straight against ranked opponents and will play against six-straight in November.
GOPHERS IN THE RPI
Minnesota ranks 12th in the recent RPI, a system used to help determine the NCAA postseason. Holding the No. 1 spot is Texas, followed by Penn State, Florida, Southern Cal and Creighton. Wisconsin ranks 11th, followed by the Gophers, Nebraska and Michigan State. Minnesota faced Kentucky and Duke, both of which are ranked in the top 20 of the RPI.
CAREER HIGH NIGHTS
Minnesota had several individuals have career nights last week against Michigan State and Michigan. Against the Spartans, Daly Santana tied a career-high seven aces, while she added a career-best 18 kills in the Michigan win. Lindsey Lawmaster came in as the Gophers' libero in the second set of the Wolverine match and established a career-high 17 digs. Hannah Tapp also provided a career-high eight blocks Saturday, while Sydney Howard had her best assist night as a Golden Gopher when she had 14 set ups.
NCAA ACTIVE LEADERS
Ashley Wittman reached her career kill No. 1,500 against Indiana (9/25) and now sits at 1,576 in her career. Her kills currently rank sixth nationally among active leaders. Dixon ranks 21st in the same category at 1,291 and also ranks 10th in career hitting percentage with a .365 mark.
SERVE IT UP
Daly Santana has arguably one of the best serves in the Big Ten with 27 aces this season. Averaging 0.42 per set, Santana ranks third overall in the league. In league action alone, Santana averages 0.58 as she has a Big Ten-best 18 aces.
ABOUT THE BADGERS
The Gophers will face a much-improved Wisconsin team from a year ago. Unranked a year ago, the Badgers enter the match as the No. 16 team in the country and possess a 16-4 record and 5-3 in the Big Ten. Last year, the Badgers finished with a 5-15 mark within Big Ten play. Ellen Chapman leads the Badger offensive charge with 258 kills (averaging 3.35 per set), followed by Deme Morales with 182 kills (2.36 kps) and Courtney Thomas at 179 (2.75 kps). Starting setter Lauren Carlini has 68 kills and 644 assists. The Badgers have five players with over 100 digs this season. Taylor Morey leads the team with 258, followed by Carlini with 174 and Morales with 186. Annemarie Hickley, this week's Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, has 187 digs.
Minnesota holds an all-time 42-32 advantage over the Badgers, dating back to November of 1975. Minnesota enters the match with a 10-game win streak over Wisconsin. However, the last loss to the Badgers came on their home court in November of 2007 (3-0 loss).
MINNESOTA NO. 7 IN AVCA POLL
The University of Minnesota volleyball program moved up three spots in the recent American Volleyball Coaches Association poll and sit at No. 7. Texas moves back into the No. 1 spot, followed by Penn State, Washington, Southern Cal and Florida. In all, the Big Ten Conference has 10 either ranked or receiving votes in the latest poll. Along with the Nittany Lions and the Gophers, Michigan State (10), Nebraska (13), Wisconsin (16), Michigan (17), Purdue (21) and Ohio State (24) are all ranked. Illinois and Northwestern are receiving votes.