Gophers Ready for NCAA Regional Action
Dec. 6, 2017

 Minnesota (28-5) vs. Southern California (24-9)
 REGIONAL SEMI Minnesota vs. USC (Friday | 5 p.m. CT)
  Exactech Arena at Stephen C. O'Connell Center | Gainesville, Fla. 
  Watch Online | Live Stats | Live Updates
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The University of Minnesota earned its third consecutive trip to the NCAA Regional Semifinal, Friday, Dec. 8, at 5 p.m. CT, and will face 10-seed Southern California. No. 2 and host Florida, takes on 15-seed UCLA prior to the Minnesota match at 3 p.m. CT. Winners of the semifinals advance to the NCAA Regional Final and play at 5 p.m., CT Saturday.

The Minnesota/USC match will be streamed live on ESPN3. The Regional Final will be televised on ESPNU. The match will also feature a game day live page on, for in-game updates and stats.

Minnesota is making its 22nd NCAA tournament appearance, coming off back-to-back Final Four berths. In all, Minnesota has been to five Final Fours and are playing in the program's 15th Regional Semifinal. The Gophers are 15-4 in NCAA play under head coach Hugh McCutcheon.

Minnesota received an at-large and is one of six Big Ten teams remaining in the NCAA tournament. As the overall No. 7 seed, the 2017 season marks the third-straight year the Gophers have held a top 10 seeding in the NCAA Tournament, after an overall No. 2 seed in 2015 and 2016.

Minnesota earned a four set win over Northern Iowa (25-18, 20-25, 25-19, 25-17) to advance to the NCAA Regional Semifinals. Alexis Hart led Minnesota with 20 kills, followed by Regan Pittman with 14 and hit .522. Molly Lohman posted 11 kills, hit .455 and had eight of the team's 11 blocks. Stephanie Samedy and Brittany McLean each had nine. Samantha Seliger-Swenson had a double-double with 53 assists and 17 digs. Dalianliz Rosado posted 26 digs. Prior to the win over UNI in the Second Round, the Gophers defeated Big Sky champion, North Dakota, in straight sets (25-20, 25-15, 25-21) last Friday. The Gophers were led by Brittany McLean who set a career high 13 kills.

The University of Minnesota had three individuals land a spot on the American Volleyball Coaches' Association All-Region Team, announced today by the organization. Alexis Hart, Stephanie Samedy and Samantha Seliger-Swenson received All-North Region honors, while Molly Lohman was named an honorable mention. Samedy was also named the North Region Freshman of the Year, the third-straight Golden Gopher to receive the honor. Seliger-Swenson and Hart were both named North Region Freshmen of the Year during their rookie seasons. 

No. 10 seed Southern California enters the NCAA Regional Semifinal with a 24-9 overall record and went 14-6 in the Pac 12 this season. The Trojans earned a spot in the Sweet 16 by defeating San Diego, 3-2, after a win over Central Arkansas in the first round As a team, USC averages 14.12 kills per set and is hitting .251 this season. Defensively, USC averages 14.04 digs per set and 2.03 blocks per set. Khalia Lanier leads the team with 465 kills as she averages 4.19 per set and has 1205 attempts. She is followed by Brittany Abercrombie with 401 and Niki Withers with 308. Jordan Dunn leads USC in blocks per set (1.02) and hitting efficiency among starters (.374). Reni Meyer-Whalley and Cindy Marina share setter responsibilities and have 795 and 670 assists, respectively. Victoria Garrick has 477 digs this year.

No. 2 seed Florida holds just one loss on the season at 27-1 and finished the SEC at 17-1 to share a conference title with Kentucky. The Gators earned a 3-0 win over Alabama State and a 3-1 win over Miami (FL) to advance to the NCAA Regional Semifinals as the highest seed in their bracket. As a team, Florida is hitting .287 and averages 14.08 kills per set. One of the best blocking teams in the nation (ranked sixth), the Gators average 3.03 blocks per set, led by Rhamat Alhassan (1.74 per set) and Rachael Kramer (1.08 per set). Carli Snyder has a team-best 339 kills this season, followed by Kramer with 279 and Alhassan with 261. As a team, Florida averages 15.91 digs per set, led by Caroline Knop with 444 digs. Allie Monserez and Cheyenne Huskey have 745 and 375 assists, respectively.

UCLA enters Gainesville with a 21-10 overall record and went 12-8 in Pac 12 play. The Bruins punched their ticket to the Regional Semifinal with a pair of wins over Austin Peay (First Round) and Cal Poly (Second Round). UCLA is hitting .242 as team this season and averages 13.95 kills per set. They also average 17.10 digs per set and 2.20 blocks per set. Reily Buechler holds a team-best 403 kills (3.54 per set), followed by Jenny Mosser with 327 (2.89 per set). Madeleine Gates rounds out the top three scoring with 304 kills, is hitting .349 and averages 1.22 blocks per set. Setter Sarah Sponcil averages 11.85 assists per set, while defensive specialist/libero Zana Muno averages 4.97 digs per set.

The Gophers are 2-3-1 all time against Southern California, dating back to 1979. The last time Minnesota faced Southern California was in the first match of the year in 2011. USC, ranked No. 2 at the time, rallied back to defeat the Gophers, 3-2, as a part of the AVCA Showcase in University Park, Pa. (hosted Penn State). Minnesota won the first two sets, 25-23, 26-24, but the Trojans rallied back as the Gophers fells, 13-25, 21-25, 7-15.
Minnesota has only faced Florida four times in school history and are 3-1 against the Gators, dating back to 1984. The last time Minnesota played Florida was also in Gainesville at the 2006 Regional Semifinals. Minnesota won the match, 3-1, on Dec. 8, 2006.
Minnesota is 2-4 all-time against UCLA, a series that goes back to 1991. The Gophers have the most recent history against the UCLA Bruins, as the two teams faced each other in the 2016 Regional Final. Minnesota won, 25-23, 25-20, 25-22 to advance to the National Semifinals for the second straight year.

The Last Meeting
August 26, 2011
State College, Penn.
No. 2 USC Rallies to Defeat No. 12 Minnesota
The Golden Gophers were up, 2-0 before the No. 2 Trojans rallied back to win in five sets.




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