The Minnesota volleyball team will host No. 16 Michigan on Friday, Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. and Michigan State on Saturday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Sports Pavilion.
Fans are encouraged to arrive as early as possible for Friday's match since the men's basketball season opener will also be taking place at Williams Arena at 7 p.m. on the same night.
Saturday’s match against Michigan State can be seen live on BigTenNetwork.com. Both matches will be broadcast live on the Gold Zone.
Minnesota enters the week ranked No. 22, is in fourth place in the Big Ten at 8-6 and has an 18-8 overall record. Tabi Love entered the week leading the Gophers in kills at 3.71 kps and also has 1.72 dps. Ashley Wittman has 3.35 kps, 3.09 dps and 0.69 blps. Wittman is the 11th Gopher player (since 1982) to collect 300 kills in a season. She joins Lauren Gibbemeyer (2007) and Tabi Love (2009) as one of three players on the current roster to collect 300 or more kills as a freshman. Wittman is 82 kills away from joining Andrea Gonzalez (522 - 1985), Katrien DeDecker (520 in 1993), Nicole Branagh (478 in 1997) and Brook Dieter (413 in 2007) as one of five Gophers (since 1982) to collect 400 or more kills in a season. She is also six digs from joining Becky Lindberg (1989) as the only other Golden Gopher freshman (since 1982) to have 300 kills and 300 digs in a season.
Gibbemeyer has 2.94 kps, is hitting .358 and has 1.36 blps. Last week, she collected 13 blocks and broke the school-record for career blocks when she recorded her 537th block against Indiana. Gibbemeyer currently has 545 career blocks for Minnesota. Junior Jessica Granquist leads the Big Ten in digs at 5.21 dps, and has recorded match-highs in digs in 12 of 14 Big Ten contests this year.
The Golden Gophers enter the week as the only team in the Big Ten to be in the top five in hitting percentage (3rd at .258), assists (fourth at 12.89 aps), blocks (third at 2.75 blps),opponent hitting percentage (second at .159) and kills (fourth at 13.86 kps). Minnesota is one of two teams in the conference to be in the top five in five of the six categories listed (hitting percentage, assists, blocks, opponent hitting pct., kills and service aces).
Michigan enters the week ranked No. 16, is third place in the Big Ten at 10-4 and has a 21-5 overall record. Last week, the Wolverines suffered their first home loss of the season to No. 9 Penn State in three sets and defeated Ohio State in three sets. The Wolverines started out 7-1 in Big Ten play, but have split their last six matches. Michigan is led by Alex Hunt who has 4.39 kps, 2.00 dps and 0.43 blps. Jennifer Cross leads the team with 1.00 blps and has 2.29 kps, while Claire McElheny has 2.24 kps. Senior setter Lexi Zimmerman has 10.61 aps, 2.87 dps and 1.47 kps, while Sloane Donhoff leads the team with 3.76 dps.
Minnesota leads the all-time series 47-12, but dropped the earlier meeting this year when the Wolverines rallied from a 2-0 deficit to win at Ann Arbor on Sept. 25. Michigan has won the last five meetings against Minnesota at home. However, the Gophers have won the last 12 meetings against the Wolverines at the Sports Pavilion.
Michigan State enters the weekend 10th in the Big Ten at 3-11 and has an 11-14 overall record. Last week, the Spartans lost to Ohio State in three sets and No. 9 Penn State in four sets at home. Michigan State started out 3-5 in Big Ten play, and are in the middle of a six-match conference losing streak. The Spartans are led by Megan Schatzle who has 2.89 kps and 1.02 dps. Jenilee Rathje leads the team with 0.91 blps and has 2.78 kps. Kyndra Abron also has 2.56 kps, whil Becca Zlabis is averaging 2.34 kps and 2.60 dps. Natalie Emro (6.24 aps, 1.59 dps, 1.34 kps and 0.72 blps) and Kristen Kelsay (5.29 aps,
1.33 dps) are splitting the setting duties, while Allyson Karaba leads the team with 4.03 dps.
Minnesota leads the all-time series 44-16,and has won the last six meetings. The Gophers swept the first meeting on Sept.
24 at the Breslin Center.