The Badgers return to action, finally, against their most hated rival!
“Last” Year In Gophers Volleyball
Minnesota followed up their remarkable 2018 campaign with a stellar 2019. After being swept by Florida State and Texas, the Golden Gophers beat defending champion Stanford before going 17-3 in the Big 10, losing twice to Wisconsin and once to Nebraska. They made it to the Final Four of the NCAA tournament before the Cardinal exacted their revenge.
2021 Gopher Volleyball
Minnesota comes into this week beating the Illini twice after their own COVID-related postponements. Their 11-1 record includes some high-level competition, having split with Nebraska and sweeping Penn State (who at 7-5 I may have to mentally knock down a rung pretty soon.)
Let’s start with the player that won a National POTW award this year.
⭐️ Stephanie Samedy
2⃣8⃣ kills & 2⃣6⃣ digs in win over #13 Purdue
Averaged 4.80 k/s last week
3⃣x Sports Imports/AVCA Player of the Week
— AVCA (@AVCAVolleyball) February 10, 2021
Stephanie Samedy would be posting eye-dropping stats if you just saw her 4.37 kills per set topping the Big Ten. But, this pin hitter contributes to Minnesota’s defense with almost 3 digs per set and a few blocks a match too. Adanna Rollins and Taylor Landfair, the top recruit in the nation last year, provide additional outside attacking.
Up front, 2019 1st Team All-American Regan Pittman leads the block party. Her kills per set is down considerably compared to her first three years, but she’s never been a main option on the attack. The backup mid was Maryland transfer Katie Meyers, but starting in February Coach McCutcheon’s been putting Shea Rubright in more.
Minnesota’s a defensive-orientated team. They block well, but they dig outstandingly, coming up with 16.84 a set. Libero and 2019 First-Team Big 10 player CC McGraw leads (because it’s her job!), with Adanna Rollins and setter Melania Shaffmaster right behind her.
We think we can post this…
— Wisconsin Volleyball (@BadgerVB) March 19, 2021
Look at that! Game’s on BTN too!
Elsewhere Around the Conference
Ohio State’s been racking up wins, standing at 14-1 (pending Saturday’s game against Michigan). They’re clearly the surprise of the Big Ten, splitting with Nebraska, sweeping Penn State, avoiding Wisconsin and having their Gopher matches cancelled. I haven’t seen how the volleyball conference title will be handed out – heck, men’s basketball just took a vote mid-season to figure it out.