Minnesota will finish up the regular-season when its hosts Ohio State and No. 7 Penn State this week.
The Gophers welcome the Buckeyes on Friday, Nov. 26 at 6 p.m. That match will be on live video in the Gold Zone. Minnesota will also face the Nittany Lions on Saturday, Nov. 27 at 8:30 p.m. That match can be seen live on the Big Ten Network.
Following this week's action, Minnesota will find out where it will be sent in the NCAA Tournament as part of the Selection Show which will be broadcast on Sunday, Nov. 28 on ESPNews at 2-2:30 p.m. The Gophers enter the weekend No. 9 in the RPI rankings.
Minnesota enters the weekend ranked No. 15, is third place in the Big Ten at 12-6 and has an overall record of 22-8. The Gophers moved into sole possession of third place on Wednesday night when Michigan lost to Michigan State in three sets.
Senior Lauren Gibbemeyer will be honored following her final regular-season match at the Sports Pavilion on Saturday, Nov. 27. Gibbemeyer is the all-time career leader in blocks (571) and block assists (484). She is also second in career hitting percentage at .334 and 10th on the school’s career list in kills at 1,352.
Minnesota started out 5-5 in Big Ten play. Since that point the Gophers have gone 7-1. In the stretch Gibbemeyer has a team-high 3.55 kps, is hitting .403 (110-21-221) and has 1.71 blps. During Gibbemeyer’s career at Minnesota, the Gophers have gone 95-37 overall, 54-24 in Big Ten play and have been in the top 25 in 56 of a possible 62 weeks during her career. That includes the current school-record stretch of 46 weeks in a row.
Tabi Love also has 3.56 kps and 1.61 dps, while Ashley Wittman is averaging 3.33 kps, 3.01 dps and 0.72 blps. Tori Dixon has 2.40 kps and 0.86 blps. Dixon has played the left side, right side and as a middle blocker this season. Mia Tabberson is averaging 10.22 aps and 1.48 dps. In the last five matches, Tabberson has averaged 11.25 aps and 1.85 dps. Junior Jessica Granquist also leads the Big Ten in digs with 5.14 dps.
The Buckeyes enter the week in sixth place in the Big Ten at 9-9 and have a 21-10 overall record. Ohio State lost to No. 7 Penn State in three sets and defeated No. 25 Northwestern in three sets at home last week. The Buckeyes have not won or lost more than two matches in a row in conference play. Ohio State is led by Katie Dull who has 3.53 kps, 1.88 dps and 0.63 blps. Allie Schwarzwalder leads the team in blocks with 1.23 blps and has 1.63 kps. Anna Szerszen also has 2.54 kps, while
Kelli Barhorst has 2.24 kps. Betsy Hone leads the team with 9.46 aps, 1.57 dps and 0.78 kps, while Sarah Mignin has a team-high 3.54 dps.
Ohio State is coached by Geoff Carlston who is 58-40 in his third season with the program. Carlston was a student-assistant coach at Minnesota for Mike Hebert in 1999. Ohio State leads the all-time series 34-32, and won the earlier meeting in three sets this season in Columbus on Oct. 16.
The Nittany Lions enter the week ranked No. 7, are in first place by a one match at 15-3 in the Big Ten and have a 25-4 overall record. Last week, Penn State defeated Ohio State and No. 25 Northwestern in three sets. After starting 3-3 in Big Ten play, the Nittany Lions have ripped off 12 straight wins to move to 15-3 in conference play. With two wins this week, Penn State would clinch its eighth straight outright Big Ten title. The last year the Nittany Lions did not win the Big Ten title was in 2002 when the Gophers won their first and only conference crown.
Penn State is led by Blair Brown who has 4.06 kps, 2.17 dps and 0.91 blps. Deja McClendon also has 3.40 kps, 1.97 dps and 0.65 blps. Arielle Wilson leads the team with 110 blocks, but Katie Slay and Fatima Balza are averaging 1.56 and 1.32 blps respectively. Wilson has 2.67 kps and is hitting .422 on the season. Setter Kristin Carpenter is also averaging 11.11 aps and 2.16 dps, while Alyssa D’Errico has 3.96 dps.
The Nittany Lions are coached by Russ Rose who is 1026-163 in his 32nd season with the program. All combined, Rose and Mike Hebert have coached 67 years and won 1,976 matches between them. The Nittany Lions lead the all-time series 35-7, and have won the last 12 meetings. Penn State won the earlier matchup in four sets on Oct. 15.