Minnesota completed the 2007 season with an 18-13 overall record, and finished tied for third in the Big Ten at 11-9. It marked the eighth time in the last nine years that the Golden Gophers have finished third or higher in conference play. Minnesota also qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the ninth year in a row, making it one of only 13 programs in NCAA Division I play to have a streak that long.
The 2007 season was one of streaks for the Golden Gophers. After starting out with a 1-2 record, Minnesota won 11 of its next 12 matches to move to 12-3. The Golden Gophers moved to 5-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since 2002 when they won at Ohio State in five games on Oct. 5. That was also their eighth victory in a row.
Minnesota dropped its next match at eventual National Champion Penn State for its first Big Ten loss of the year. From that point, the Golden Gophers saw their losing streak extend to seven in Big Ten play to drop them to a 5-7 mark in conference play. After splitting the next two matches, Minnesota showed a great deal of resiliency by closing out the Big Ten season with victories in five of its final six matches to finish tied for third at 11-9.
The Golden Gophers traveled to Stanford for the first round of the NCAA Tournament to face Sacramento State. After taking a 1-0 lead in the match, Minnesota dropped the next three games to suffer its first opening round NCAA Tournament loss in school history. It marked the 11th time in 12 years that the Golden Gophers have advanced to the NCAA Tournament under the guidance of Mike Hebert.
Minnesota was also ranked in the top 25 for the first 10 weeks of the season, moving their streak to 21 weeks in a row(dating back to the 2006 season) before dropping out on Oct. 29. The Golden Gophers have now appeared in the top 25 in 82 of the last 96 weeks of the poll.
During the 2007 campaign, Minnesota faced eight ranked teams, and were the only team in the nation to face Final Four participant California, runner-up Stanford and National Champion Penn State (twice) during the season. The Golden Gophers also claimed victories against No. 12 San Diego (Sept. 2) and No. 11 Michigan (Sept. 30) during the course of the season.
Individually, Minnesota had three different players collect Big Ten honors. Senior Jessy Jones claimed First-Team All-Big Ten honors, while freshman outside hitter Brook Dieter and freshman Lauren Gibbemeyer were named to the All-Freshmen Team. It marked the third year in a row that a Golden Gopher middle blocker claimed First-Team honors, and it was the first time since 2002 that Minnesota placed a pair of freshman on the All-Freshmen team.
Dieter was also named Honorable-Mention All-Midwest for the Golden Gophers. With that honor, she became just the fourth player in school history to receive any type of All-Region honors as a freshman.
Minnesota also had several players reach noteworthy statistical accomplishments. Jones ended her four-year career at Minnesota fourth on the all-time blocks list with 485, and was third on the all-time block assists list at 429.
Senior defensive specialist Kelly Roysland also chalked up a rare accomplishment, as she became the first Golden Gopher to play in the NCAA Women’s Basketball and Women’s Volleyball tournaments. Roysland, who played in the women’s basketball Final Four in 2003-04, was also the sixth Minnesota athlete to play women’s basketball and women’s volleyball, and the first to do so since 1979.
Dieter finished her freshman season with 413 kills, to become the first Golden Gopher freshman with 400 or more kills since 1997. Her 413 kills were the fourth-highest total by a Golden Gopher freshman in school history (since 1982). Gibbemeyer also finished her freshman season with 319 kills and 122 blocks. She joined Andrea Gonzalez as one of two players in school history (since 1982) to record 300 kills and 100 blocks as a freshman. Gibbemeyer’s 122 blocks were the second most by a Golden Gopher freshman (since 1982).
Sophomore Christine Tan also became the third Golden Gopher in school history to record 500 or more digs in a season joining Paula Gentil and Malama Peniata. Her 517 digs were the sixth-highest total in school history.
As a team, Minnesota finished fourth in the nation in blocks at 3.54 blpg. The 3.54 blpg were also second in the Big Ten, and broke the school record for blocks per game.
Earlier in the year, the Golden Gophers also became the ninth program in NCAA Division I history to capture their 900th win. Minnesota did so with a three-game sweep at Notre Dame on Aug. 24. The Golden Gophers will enter the 2008 season ninth on the all-time list in victories with 917.