Gophers Hit the Road for Purdue/Indiana Swing
Adrianna Nora
 Minnesota (19-4, 6-3) at Purdue/Indiana
 Match Minnesota at Purdue
 Date/Time Friday, Nov. 1 / 6 p.m.
 Location West Lafayette, Ind.
 Live Video Gopher All-Access
 Live Stats Gametracker
 Live Blog Game Day Live
 Match Minnesota at Indiana
 Date/Time Saturday, November 2 / 6 p.m.
 Location Bloomington, Ind.
 Live Stats Gametracker
 Live Blog Game Day Live
 Social Media  @GopherVball | Facebook

Oct. 30, 2013

The No. 10 University of Minnesota volleyball team returns to road action as the Golden Gophers face No. 16 Purdue on Friday and Indiana Saturday. Friday’s match will be shown on Gopher All-Access.

The Gophers return to the Sports Pavilion for the next four matches. Minnesota faces Iowa (Nov. 8), Nebraska (Nov. 10), Ohio State (Nov. 15) and Penn State (Nov. 16).

Ashley Wittman was named the Big Ten Conference's Player of the Week, announced Monday by the league office. Wittman receives her second weekly honor of the season and the team's seventh this year. Wittman led Minnesota this past week when she had a total of 35 kills and 45 digs. Producing double-doubles against Wisconsin and Northwestern, Wittman ranked second on the team in kills against the Badgers (18) and held a match-best against the Wildcats (17). A six-rotation player, Wittman's 29 digs Sunday were the most by a Golden Gopher since Jessica Granquist accomplished the feat in 2011. This past week, she ranked in the league's top five in kills (3rd-35), digs (2nd-45) and points (5th-4.81 per set). She also provided six assists and five blocks.

Minnesota ranks 11th 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, Washington and Stanford. Wisconsin ranks 9th, followed by Nebraska, the Gophers and Duke. Minnesota also face Kentucky earlier this year and are ranked 13th in the RPI.

Minnesota continues to play well on its home court. The Gophers are 63-9 in the last five seasons at the Sports Pavilion. Minnesota fell just once at home last year and boasted a 15-1 home record. In 2011, the Gophers were 10-5 and went 16-2 in 2010. However, all four of the Gopher losses this year have come on the opponents’ home court when it fell to ranked teams at Kentucky (9/14) at Nebraska (10/4), at Penn State (10/9) and at Wisconsin (10/23). All of the losses came against ranked teams.

Minnesota finished the first half of Big Ten Conference play. In that span, the Gophers went 7-3, with all three conference losses on the road. In the 10 games, Minnesota faced seven ranked opponents and finished a five-match streak against AVCA Top 25 teams.

Minnesota kicked off the Big Ten season against Indiana and Purdue on Sept. 25 and Sept. 29. Since that opening weekend, Purdue holds the best record of the three teams. The Boilermakers are 6-2, with road wins at Iowa, Nebraska and Michigan and home against Indiana. The two losses came to Northwestern and Penn State at home. Minnesota was 5-3 since the opening week of Big Ten play, while Indiana is 1-7 since the last meeting.

Purdue enters the weekend with a 15-6 overall record and a 6-4 mark within Big Ten play. The Boilermakers, however, enter the Minnesota match with a four-match win streak (at Iowa, at Nebraska, vs. Indiana and at Michigan). The reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, KiKi Jones leads the Boilermakers in hitting with a .376 clip and averages 1.19 blocks per set. Catherine Rebarchak averages a team-best 3.04 kills per set, while Val Nichol leads with 197 kills this year. Nichol and Rachel Davis have 469 and 380 assists, respectively, while libero Carly Cramer holds a team-best 312 digs.

Indiana enters the weekend with a 9-12 overall record and a 1-9 mark in conference play. The one win, however, came in the Hoosiers’ last opponent, Michigan State, in five sets. Jordan Haverly holds the team’s most attempts with 544 swings, while Morgan Leach has a team-best 217 kills. Awele Nwaeze has 186 kills and averages 0.82 blocks per set. Megan Tallman as 417 assists, followed by Katie Gallagher with 381. Caitlin Hansen holds a team-best 289 digs.

The Gophers own a 46-28 mark all-time against Purdue, dating back ton 1975. The 2013 season marks Minnesota’s first appearance back to West Lafayette, Ind., as the Gophers played the Boilermakers once in the 2012 regular season. The last time Minnesota played at Purdue was in 2011 where the Gophers suffered a 3-1 loss.
Minnesota is 46-15 all-time against the Hoosiers and enter with a three-match win streak. Like Purdue, Minnesota only played Indiana once in 2011 and 2012, as it won both matches, 3-0. The last loss to Indiana came on its home court in 2010 in a four-set match.




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