The Minnesota volleyball team will host No. 24 Ohio State on Friday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. and No. 2 Penn State on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. Minnesota’s match against Ohio State will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on Fox Sports Net North and Comcast Chicago on Sunday, Oct. 29 at 12 p.m.
Minnesota enters the week on a five-match winning streak, and has recorded three straight wins over ranked opponents. The Golden Gophers defeated No. 14 Ohio State on Oct. 8, No. 9 Purdue on Oct. 14 and No. 11 Wisconsin on Oct. 18.
The Golden Gophers enter the weekend with a 15-5 overall record and are second place in the Big Ten at 9-1. Minnesota trails Penn State for first place by one match. The Nittany Lions enter the weekend with a 10-0 record in Big Ten play. Purdue sits in third place at 8-3, while Wisconsin is in fourth at 7-3. Ohio State is in fifth place in the Big Ten at 5-5.
Minnesota’s 9-1 first of the Big Ten matched a school record. The Golden Gophers also started 9-1 in 2000, 2002 and 2004. All three of the prior seasons, Minnesota finished with a school-record 17 conference wins.
Ohio State defeated Michigan State in three games and Michigan in five games last week. It will be the seventh time in the last three years that the Golden Gophers have faced the Buckeyes. Minnesota has won four of those six matches in that span. The Golden Gophers won two of three over Ohio State in 2004, including a victory that sent them to the Final Four. In 2005, the Buckeyes won at Minnesota in three games but dropped a three-game match at home to Minnesota later in the year. The Golden Gophers won in four games over the Buckeyes on Oct. 8.
Penn State defeated Michigan in four games and Michigan State in three games this past week. The Nittany Lions enter the week with a 44-match regular season winning streak and a 41-match winning streak. The Big Ten winning streak is the second-longest in conference history. Penn State had the longest winning streak in conference history at 49 from Nov. 1, 1997 to Nov. 27, 1999.
The next longest winning streaks in conference history were reached by Mike Hebert’s Illinois teams. Illinois won 40 straight matches under Hebert from Nov. 15, 1985 to Nov. 20, 1987. His Illinois team also had a 25-match winning streak from Oct. 2, 1992 to Oct. 9, 1993.
Penn State head coach Russ Rose has four of the 10 longest winning streaks in conference history, and helped break Wisconsin’s 21-match Big Ten winning streak on Oct. 10, 1998. Hebert has three of the 10 longest winning streaks in conference history, and broke Ohio State’s 24-match winning streak on Sept. 25, 1992 and Penn State’s winning streak on Nov. 27, 1992. Together Hebert and Rose have been involved in nine of the 10 longest Big Ten winning streaks in some way.
Minnesota has played the role of streak buster before to Penn State, winning on Sept. 29, 2000 at Rec Hall to snap Penn State’s 87-match home winning streak.
The Golden Gophers are led by Meredith Nelson who has 3.25 kpg, is hitting .293 and has 0.90 blpg. Kyla Roehrig is averaging 3.49 kpg and has 0.77 blpg. Junior Jessy Jones has 2.94 kpg, is hitting .305 and has 1.50 blpg. Senior libero Malama Peniata is leading the Big Ten with 5.74 sapg, while Kelly Bowman has 2.19 kpg, 1.02 apg, 3.32 dpg and 0.84 blpg. Sophomore setter Rachel Hartmann also is averaging 13.19 apg, 2.37 dpg and 0.77 blpg.
Ohio State is led by Danielle Meyer who has 4.59 kpg, 2.47 dpg and 0.63 blpg, while Anna Szersen has 4.48 kpg and 1.78 dpg. Setter Marisa Main has 1.45 kpg, 12.76 apg and 2.12 dpg.
Penn State is led by freshman Megan Hodge who has 4.91 kpg, 2.70 dpg and 0.74 blpg. Sophomore Nicole Fawcett has 4.38 kpg, is hitting .342 and has 0.76 blpg. Christa Harmotto is hitting .420, has 3.01 kpg and 1.64 blpg. Setter Alisha Glass is averaging 12.22 apg, 2.12 dpg and 1.13 blpg.