Gophers Welcome OSU and PSU to Pavilion
Daly Santana
 Minnesota (22-5, 10-4) vs. Ohio State/Penn State
 Fri., Nov. 15 Minnesota vs. Ohio State | 7 p.m.
 Location Sports Pavilion
 Travel Local Weather | Parking | Preferred Hotels
 Live Video Gopher All-Access
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 Live Blog Game Day Live
 Sat, Nov. 16 Minnesota vs. Penn State | 7:30 p.m.
 Live Stats Gametracker
 Live Blog Game Day Live
 Social Media @GopherVball | Facebook

Nov. 13, 2013

The No. 11 University of Minnesota volleyball team continues its homestand against Ohio State Friday and No. 2 Penn State Saturday. Friday’s game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start and will be broadcast on Gopher All-Access. Saturday’s match is a 7:30 p.m. start and will be televised live on the Big Ten Network.

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.

The Gophers travel to No. 19 Michigan and No. 16 Michigan State next weekend. Friday’s match against the Wolverines will start at 6 p.m. CT and shown through Gopher All-Access. The Saturday slate is for 5:30 p.m. CT against the Spartans, also shown on Gopher All-Access.

Minnesota ranks 15th in the recent RPI, a system used to help determine the NCAA postseason. Holding the No. 1 spot is Texas, followed by Penn State, Washington, Florida and Southern Cal. Nebraska is eighth in the RPI, while Minnesota rounds out the top 15. Minnesota also faced Kentucky (9) and Duke (17) earlier this year in non-conference play.

Minnesota continues to play well on its home court. The Gophers are 64-10 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. Of Minnesota’s five losses, four came against ranked teams on the road. Kentucky (9/14) at Nebraska (10/4), at Penn State (10/9) and at Wisconsin (10/23). The loss to Nebraska ended a 19-match home win streak, dating back to the 2012 season. The Gophers are 9-1 this year at home.

Adrianna Nora has had 81 kills in the last six matches. Of the six matches, Nora has had double-digit kills in five and posted nine in the win at Indiana (11/2). Hitting .346 this season, Nora has played in 62 sets and has had 160 kills in 355 attempts. She also posted her first ace of the year against Purdue and had six blocks in the Purdue win. In the Nebraska match alone, Nora had 18 kills, 41 attempts and six blocks, all of which were her best as a Golden Gopher.

In conference action alone, Ashley Wittman has 189 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 three weeks ago, the most by any Gopher player since 2011.

The Buckeyes enter this weekend with a 16-10 overall record and are 4-10 within conference play. After dropping eight straight conference games, OSU enters the Minnesota match defeating Indiana and No. 14 Purdue at home. The Buckeyes are led by Kaitlyn Leary, who has 476 kills in 98 sets (4.86 kps) and has 1215 attempts. Taylor Sandbothe follows with 237 kills (2.44 kps) in 620 attempts and a team-best 101 blocks. Taylor Sherwin is the starting setter and holds 1058 assists, 14 aces and 173 digs. Julianne Mandolfo leads the team with 312 digs, followed closely by Davionna DiSalvatore with 295

Penn State has only dropped two matches this season and hold a 22-2 overall record and a 13-1 mark within Big Ten play. Ranked second in the nation, the Nittany Lions fell to Texas in the third match of the season and against Michigan State in five on Sept. 27. Since then, PSU rides a 13-match win streak this weekend. Deja McClendon leads the potent pack with 228 kills, followed by 2012 Big Ten Player of the Year Ariel Scott with 223. Big Ten block leader Katie Slay has a .413 hitting percentage and averages  1.61 blocks per set. Nia Grant, however, holds the league’s best hitting clip at .418. Starting setter Micha Hancock has 80 kills, 60 aces and 904 assists.  

Minnesota holds a 37-35 lead in the all-time series, dating back to the 1975. In the last five matches at home, the Gophers have won all five against the Buckeyes, including a three-set win last year. Minnesota also won in three earlier this season in Columbus, Ohio.

Minnesota is just 7-41 against the Penn State Nittany Lions since 1983. PSU has won the six meetings against the Gophers, including a five-set win earlier this season. The Gophers, however, last defeated Penn State on their home court on November, 27, 2010, in five-set fashion.

Minnesota swept Ohio State, 25-16, 25-17, 25-19, Oct. 14 in Columbus, Ohio. Tori Dixon led the Gophers with 12 kills in 25 attempts, hit .360, had six digs and a match-high seven blocks. Sarah Wilhite hit .500 when she had 10 kills, one error in 18 swings and two service aces. As a team, the Gophers did not commit an error in the first two sets. On the night, Minnesota had 42 kills to Ohio State's 35, out blocked the Buckeyes, 10.5 to 5.0 and held a 45-44 dig margin. The Gophers also hit .337 to OSU's .098.

Minnesota dropped a five-set decision to No. 4 Penn State in University Park, Pa.,Oct. 9. The Golden Gophers fell in the first set, 25-19, won the second 25-23, fell in the third, 25-21, won in the fourth, 25-22, and dropped a 15-11 decision in the final set. Minnesota had three in double-digit kills. Ashley Wittman recorded a season-best 18 kills and 22 digs. Tori Dixon finished with 17 kills, while Daly Santana added 15 and Sarah Wilhite nine. Alexandra Palmer had 46 assists and 10 digs for the Gophers. The Gophers established a season-best 18.0 blocks, led by Dixon with nine and Hannah Tapp with six.




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