MINNEAPOLIS — The No. 11 Minnesota Golden Gophers (12-6, 7-3 Big Ten) head to Indiana on Wednesday to battle the Hoosiers (9-13, 3-7 Big Ten) in a mid-week conference contest. Minnesota is looking to win its 12th match in its last 15 games on Wednesday. The Gophers and Hoosiers played on Oct. 17 at Maturi Pavilion, with the ‘U’ coming home with a victory in three sets. After a 1-1 weekend in Big Ten play, Minnesota currently sits in a tie for third place in the conference standings, behind Nebraska (10-0) and Wisconsin (9-1).
Wednesday, Oct. 27
No. 11 Minnesota at Indiana | 6 p.m. CT | BTN
BTN Broadcasters: Connor Onion (PBP) and Emily Ehman (Analyst)
LAST TIME OUT
• The then No. 12 Minnesota Gophers split their top-15 home matches this past weekend at the Pav. They fell to No. 14 Penn State in three sets on Friday before taking down No. 6 Ohio State in four sets on Sunday.
• PSU took set one convincingly before Minnesota went up 24-21 in set two. The Gophers couldn’t close it out as the Nittany Lions went on to win 27-25 before taking set three.
• After dropping set one to the Buckeyes on Sunday, Minnesota won three straight sets by the score of 25-21 to take the match. Stephanie Samedy registered 22 kills and 21 digs in a herculean effort.
GOPHERS HISTORY AGAINST INDIANA
• Minnesota is 59-16 all-time against Indiana, including a 13-1 mark under Hugh McCutcheon. The lone loss came in 2014, a four set loss. The Gophers have won 10 in-a-row in the series, taking eight of the contests in three sets. They last played on Oct. 17, a three set Minnesota victory.
GOPHERS IN BIG TEN PLAY
• Under Hugh McCutcheon, Minnesota is 139-40 (.777) in Big Ten competition. In his nine seasons prior to 2021, the Gophers have had eight seasons above .500 in conference play. In all eight of those seasons, the ‘U’ went 15-5 or better in conference play, with the best being 19-1 in 2018.
• The Gophers won Big Ten titles in 2016 and 2018 and have finished either first, second or third in eight of the last nine seasons.
• Indiana (9-13, 3-7 Big Ten) holds Big Ten wins over MSU and Rutgers (twice) while dropping matches to Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Purdue, Ohio State and Penn State. They’re led by fourth year coach Steve Aird.
• The Hoosiers took Penn State to four sets on Oct. 2 in Bloomington and nearly took it to five, falling 25-22 in the fourth set. IU is led by head coach Steve Aird, who’s in his fourth year in charge.
• Paula Cerame ranks fifth in the Big Ten in digs per set (4.38) while Kaley Rammelsburg ranks ninth in the conference in hitting percentage (.349).
SAMEDY TAKES HER GAME TO ANOTHER LEVEL IN 2021
• Stephanie Samedy had a phenomenal 2020-21 spring season, winning Big Ten Player of the Year in addition to being named a First Team AVCA All-American for the third time in her career. She had five 20+ kill performances and averaged 4.15 kills per set and 2.48 digs per set.
• She’s taken her game to another level this fall, upping her numbers in almost every statistical category. She’s averaging a Big Ten best 4.69 kills per set along with 3.64 digs per set. She’s also had eight 20+ kill performances this season in 17 matches. No one else in the Big Ten has more than five 20+ kill matches and no other Power 5 player has more than seven.
SAMEDY AND WENAAS COMBINING AS LETHAL DUO
• Minnesota opposite Stephanie Samedy and outside Jenna Wenaas have combined for 516 of Minnesota’s 918 kills (.562). They’ve reached double digit kills a combined 29 times this season while Samedy has hit the 20-kill mark in eight of her 17 matches. Statistically, they’re the top attacking duo in the Big Ten Conference (chart below).
TOP BIG TEN ATTACKING DUOS (BY % OF TEAM’S KILLS; As of Oct. 26)
1. Samedy/Wenaas (MINN) – 516/918 (.562)
2. Paige Jones/Jess Mruzik (MICH) – 445/830 (.536)
3. Courtney Buzzerio/Addie VanderWeide (Iowa) – 442/861 (.513)
4. Sam Csire/Paula Neciporuka (UMD) – 486/954 (.509)
5. Caitlyn Newton/Grace Cleveland (PUR) – 559/1111 (.503)
6. Temi Thomas-Ailara/Hanna Lesiak (NW) – 540/1073 (.503)
7. Mady Saris/Breana Edwards (IND) – 483/983 (.491)
TIME TO DIG IT OUT
• The Gophers lead the Big Ten and rank in the top 40 (37) nationally in digs per set (16.41). CC McGraw leads the team (4.50) while Samedy (3.64) and Melani Shaffmaster (2.72) are right around four and three per set.
• CC McGraw ranks third in the conference in digs (306) and second in digs per set (4.50).
DIFFICULT SCHEDULE AWAITS MINNESOTA TO FINISH 2021
• The Gophers have a gauntlet of schedule once again. In addition to playing 20 conference games in the always difficult Big Ten slate, they played eight non-conference matches, including five against AVCA top-25 ranked teams.
• Minnesota is set to take on seven teams ranked in the AVCA preseason top-10 (second most top-10 games in the country). The Gophers have 13 ranked opponents out of 28 games on their schedule.
• In their final 12 matches of this season, the Gophers face seven ranked opponents. Illinois is also receiving votes and could be ranked in the coming weeks.
• Minnesota hosts No. 6 Nebraska (16-3, 10-0 Big Ten) on Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Maturi Pavilion. BTN will again provide television coverage.