The Minnesota volleyball team will head to Seattle, Wash for the NCAA Regionals on Dec. 10-11. The 10th-seeded Gophers will face seventh-seeded Cal in the first match of the night on Friday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. (CT).
That match can be heard live in the Gold Zone and will have streaming video live on NCAAsports.com. The second match of the day will feature second-seeded Nebraska against host Washington on Dec. 10 at 9 p.m. (CT). The winner of the two matches will play on Saturday, Dec. 11 at 10:30 p.m. (CT) for the right to go to the National Semifinals. The Regional Final match will be broadcast on ESPNU.
Minnesota is led by senior middle blocker Lauren Gibbemeyer who has 3.23 kps, 1.41 blps and is hitting .373. In her last 12 matches, Gibbemeyer has averaged 3.59 kps, is hitting .391 and has 1.59 blps. Sophomore Tabi Love has 3.43 kps and 1.46 dps, while Ashley Wittman has 3.40 kps, 3.10 dps and 0.67 blps. Wittman averaged 5.50 kps and 4.17 dps in her first two career NCAA Tournament matches. Freshman Tori Dixon is averaging 2.47 kps, hitting .290 and has 0.84 blps after hitting .472 with 3.33 kps and 0.83 blps in her first two NCAA Tournament matches.
Junior libero Jessica Granquist is leading the Big Ten with 5.13 dps. Granquist also has 647 digs, which is the third-highest single-season total in school history. Sophomore Mia Tabberson has 10.66 aps, 1.67 dps, 0.61 kps and 0.40 blps. She has averaged 11.83 dps, 2.14 dps and 0.46 blps during the Gophers current nine-match winning streak.
Minnesota enters the week with the fourth-longest current winning streak of the remaining teams in the NCAA Tournament. Florida has won 24 straight matches, Texas has won 17 and Nebraska has won 10. The Gophers are also 7-1 in their last eight NCAA Regional matches. Their only defeat out of those came in 2006 when Nebraska rallied from a 2-0 deficit to win in five in Gainesville, Fla.
Cal enters the NCAA Regional round with a 27-3 overall record and are the No. 7 overall seed in the tournament. Last week, the Golden Bears defeated Utah State (3-0 in the first round) and North Carolina (3-0 in the second round). Cal finished Pac-10 play tied for first place at 15-3, and claimed the conference’s automatic bid after beating Stanford twice in the regular-season to win the tiebreaker.
The Golden Bears are led by junior Tarah Murrey who has 5.22 kps, 2.33 dps and 0.65 blps. Murrey enters the week third in the nation in kills. Kat Brown leads the team in blocks at 1.37 blps and has 2.04 kps. Shannon Hawari also has 2.07 kps and 1.22 blps. As a team, the Golden Bears are third in the nation in blocks (3.06 blps) and third in hitting percentage (.311). Setter Carli Lloyd has 11.74 aps, 2.41 dps, 1.08 blps and 1.01 kps. Robin Rostratter also leads the team with 4.09 dps.
Cal is coached by Rich Feller who is 238-129 in his 13th year with the program. Minnesota leads the all-time series 3-2. The Gophers won in three sets over then No. 4 California in the Diet Coke Classic on Sept. 12, 2008 in the last meeting. The prior year, the Golden Bears defeated then No. 12 Minnesota in three sets in Berkeley on Sept. 8, 2007. The Cornhuskers enter the NCAA Regional round with a 29-2 overall record and are the No. 2 overall seed in the tournament.
Last week, Nebraska defeated Sacred Heart (3-0 in the first round) and Auburn (3-0 in the second round). The Cornhuskers finished Big 12 play in first place at 19-1 to earn the conference’s automatic bid. Nebraska is led by Lindsey Licht who has 2.87 kps and 1.06 blps. Brooke Delano also has 2.81 kps and a team-best 1.42 blps. Hannah Werth is also averaging 2.75 kps and 3.05 dps. Lauren Cook (6.15 aps, 1.79 dps) and Sydney Anderson (6.01 aps, 1.64) split the setting duties, while Kayla Banwarth has a team-best 4.84 dps. Nebraska enters the regionals at fourth in the nation in blocks (3.04 blps) and fifth in kills (14.99 kps).
The Cornhuskers are coached by John Cook who is 336-28 in his 11th season with Nebraska. Minnesota trails the all-time series 27-4 to Nebraska. The Gophers lost a five-set match on Aug. 29, 2009 in the last meeting the programs. Nebraska has a 2-0 record against Minnesota in the NCAA Tournament. The last meeting came in the 2006 NCAA Regional Finals in Gainesville, Fla. when the Cornhusker rallied from a 2-0 deficit to hand the Gophers their only loss in their last eight NCAA Regional round matches.
The Huskies enter the NCAA Regional round with a 23-8 overall record are the only unseeded team in the Seattle Regional. Washington defeated Michigan (3-0 in the first round) and 15th-seeded Hawai’i (3-0 in the second round). The Huskies finished fifth in the Pac-10 with a 10-8 conference mark.
Washington is led by Kindra Carlson who has 4.08 kps, 2.00 dps and 0.85 blps. Becky Perry also has 3.74 kps and 1.98 dps. Lauren Barfield leads the team with 1.17 blps. Setter Jenna Haglund also has 11.75 aps and 1.96 dps, while Jenna Orlandi leads the team with 4.74 dps. Washington is coached by Jim McLaughlin who is 326-111 in his 10th year with the program.
The Huskies lead the all-time series 2-1, including a three-set victory at the Tampa Twice Tournament Sept. 11, 2009. Washington has been a big part of two of Minnesota’s three Final Four appearances. Last year, the Huskies were in Minnesota’s regional as the No. 6 overall seed and were upset in the second round of tournament. In 2003, the Gophers defeated Washington in five sets in the regional final to advance to the program’s first Final Four.