THIS WEEK’S STORYLINES
Minnesota will travel to Indiana and Purdue for a pair of Big Ten road contests this week. The Golden Gophers will face the Hoosiers on Friday, Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. (CT). Minnesota will then face the Boilermakers on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. (CT). Both matches will be webcast on gophersports.com. Indiana enters the week in 10th place at 5-9, and has a 14-12 overall record. Purdue is in a three-way tie for third place at 7-7, and has a 14-11 overall record. Minnesota is in a four-way tie for sixth place at 6-8.
Entering the final three weeks of Big Ten play, there are eight teams that can finish as high as third place or as low as 10th place. Those eight teams are battling it out for possible NCAA Tournament position as well. Michigan (17-7) and Purdue (14-11) are tied for third at 7-7. Illinois (15-10) is in fifth at 7-8. Northwestern (15-10), Michigan State (15-11), Minnesota (13-11) and Ohio State (12-11) are all tied for sixth at 6-8, and Indiana (14-12) is in 10th at 5-9. The following is a list of each of the eight teams remaining schedules:
Mich. (4R, 2H) - at Ill., at Wis., at Pur., at Ind., OSU, PSU
Ill. (2R, 3H) - Mich., at OSU, at PSU, Minn., Iowa
Pur. (2R, 4H) - Iowa, Minn., Ind., Mich., at MSU, at NU
NU (2R, 4 H) - PSU, OSU, at Iowa, at Minn., Ind., Pur.
MSU (2R, 4) - OSU, PSU, at Minn., at Iowa, Pur., Ind.
Minn. (4R, 2 H) - at Ind., at Pur., MSU, NU, at Ill., at Wis.
OSU (3R, 3 H) - at MSU, at NU, Ill., Wis., PSU, at Mich.
Ind. (3R, 3H) - Minn., Iowa, at Pur., Mich., at NU, at MSU
Minnesota senior middle blocker Jessy Jones had a career-high 11 blocks on Nov. 2 at Michigan to move to 443 for her career. That total moved Jones past Dawn Thompson (1987-90) for fifth on the Gophers’ all-time blocks list. Jones is currently five blocks behind Martie Larsen (1980-83) for fourth on the list at 448. Jones is also fourth on the career block assists list with 369.
Minnesota enters Friday’s match with an average of 3.50 blpg. The Golden Gophers are on pace to surpass their record for blocks per game, which was set in 2000 when they averaged 3.29 blpg. Minnesota has not averaged over 3.00 blocks per game since 2000. In fact, 1999 and 2000 are the only years in school history that the Golden Gophers have averaged more then 3.00 blocks per game as a team. Minnesota has kept blocks per game as a stat since the 1983 season.
Senior middle blocker Jessy Jones and freshman middle blocker Lauren Gibbemeyer each had career-highs in Friday’s match at Michigan. Jones had a career-high 11 blocks and tallied a season-high with 17 kills, while Gibbemeyer had a career-high 19 kills and tied a career-high with three service aces. Together the pair of middle blocker hit .400 (36-8-70) on the night with 36 kills and 14 blocks.
Since 2002, Minnesota is 40-14 in the second half of the Big Ten season. The Golden Gophers have started the second half 1-3 this year. Minnesota was 8-2 in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006. The Golden Gophers were also 7-3 in 2003 in the second half of the year. Minnesota has home matches remaining against Northwestern and Michigan State. The Golden Gophers also have road matches against Indiana, Purdue, Illinois and Wisconsin remaining.