Nov. 6, 2013
GOPHERS RETURN HOME AGAINST IOWA AND NEBRASKA
The No. 9 University of Minnesota volleyball team returns to the Sports Pavilion confines this weekend as it hosts Iowa and No. 11 Nebraska, Friday and Sunday. Friday's game against the Hawkeyes will be shown on Gopher All-Access at 7 p.m. Sunday's match is a 3:30 p.m. start and will be televised live on the Big Ten Network.
ON THE DOCKET
The Gophers are home for the second-straight week as they hosts the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Penn State Nittany Lions, Nov. 15-16. The match against the Buckeyes is slated for a 7 p.m. start, followed by a 7:30 p.m. tilt Saturday against PSU.
TIME CHANGE AND TELEVISED MATCH VS. PSU
The University of Minnesota volleyball match against Penn State, Nov. 16, will be televised on the Big Ten Network, announced by the league office. To accommodate the television schedule, the game will start at 7:30 p.m., instead of the original 7 p.m. start. The match will be played in the Sports Pavilion.
With the addition of the PSU match, it marks the sixth time this season the Golden Gophers will be televised nationally. Five games are on the Big Ten Network, while the Michigan State match (Oct. 17) was shown on ESPN2.
GOPHERS IN THE RPI
Minnesota ranks 10th 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 Southern Cal. Nebraska is eighth in the RPI, while Minnesota rounds out the top 10. Minnesota also faced Kentucky (12) and Duke (14) earlier this year in non-conference play.
GOPHERS AT HOME
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.
GIRL ON FIRE
Adrianna Nora has had 49 kills in the last four matches. She posted 10 kills against Wisconsin, 15 against both Northwestern and Purdue and nine against Indiana. Hitting .339 this season, Nora has played in 54 sets and has had 128 kills in 283 attempts. She also posted her first ace of the year against Purdue and had six blocks in the Purdue win.
DID YOU KNOW?
In conference action alone, Ashley Wittman has 169 digs and ranks ninth in digs against conference opponents. She's the lone position player in that list as all others are the team's libero or defensive specialist. Wittman had 29 digs against Northwestern two weeks ago, the most by any Gopher player since 2011.
ABOUT THE HAWKEYES
The Iowa Hawkeyes enter the weekend with a 10-14 overall record and a 1-11 mark in conference play. Iowa played Illinois and Northwestern last week, and fell 3-0 and 3-1, respectively. Alex Lovell leads the Hawkeyes in kills (322), kills per set (3.46) and second in digs (231). Rachael Bedell and Alessandra Dietz follow with 234 and 201 kills. Dietz also leads the team with 85 blocks to average 0.91 per set. Libero Bethany Yeager holds a team-best 393 digs. Nikki Dailey and Alyssa Klostermann share the setter spot as they have posted 463 and 392 assists.
ABOUT THE HUSKERS
The No. 11 Nebraska Cornhuskers enter the weekend with a 17-4 overall record and are 10-2 within Big Ten play. The Huskers hold a four-match win streak. After a loss to Purdue, Nebraska defeated Iowa (3-0), Ohio State (3-1), Illinois (3-1) and Northwestern (3-2). Kelsey Robinson leads the Huskers with 349 kills (4.47 per set), 20 aces and 268 digs. Robinson ranks second in the league in kills, and 10th in aces and digs. She is followed by Kadie Rolfzen with 231 kills (3.40 kps) and Amber Rolfzen at 163 (2.20). Starting setter Mary Pollmiller has 813 assists. Cecilia Hall leads the Huskers with a 1.31 blocks per set.
SINCE THEY LAST MET
The Gophers met up with Nebraska and Iowa earlier this year on Oct. 4-5. The Gophers fell in three to the Huskers and defeated the Hawkeyes in five on the road. Since then, the Gophers have gone 6-2 since that weekend. Iowa has gone 1-7 in that span, with a 3-2 win over Indiana on Oct. 19. Like Minnesota, Nebraska has also gone 6-2 as it dropped contests against Michigan State and Purdue.
The Gophers own a 71-12 all-time mark against the Hawkeyes, including a three-set win last year in Minneapolis. Nebraska holds a tilted all-time series mark against the Gophers as it leads 30-5. Minnesota, however, defeated the Huskers last year at the Sports Pavilion in a five-set match.
NCAA ACTIVE LEADERS
Ashley Wittman reached her career kill No. 1,500 against Indiana (9/25) and heading into the week sits at 1,634 in her career. Her kills currently rank sixth nationally among active leaders. Dixon ranks 21st in the same category at 1,353 and also ranks 11th in career hitting percentage with a .367 mark.
Minnesota seniors Tori Dixon and Ashley Wittman have each had standout performances for the Gophers this season. In all, Dixon has led the Gophers in match kills 15 times, followed by Wittman with five. Wittman also has 10double-doubles, a team best and has led the Gophers in match digs 15 times.