Gopher Volleyball 2021-Fall Season


MplsGopher

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 4, 2017
Messages
27,794
Reaction score
6,886
Points
113
And the team poll:


^^^ these are both voted on by the coaches
 

MplsGopher

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 4, 2017
Messages
27,794
Reaction score
6,886
Points
113
Lexi Sun :rolleyes:

Nothing more than a fan favorite and future (if not current) instagram model/millionaire. She's a fine player, but not a great one.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 9, 2015
Messages
7,330
Reaction score
566
Points
113

NCAA.com lists the top three opening weekend matchups:

Opening week is here. In what is certainly a different year, we have two NCAA women's volleyball seasons within four months of each other — and the new season starts this weekend.

There will be a ton of ranked games and amazing matchups week after week, but we will continue to break down the top three or so that you will not want to miss. This week was tough, but there are a few in particular that you should be amped about. Let's break it down as we all anticipate the fun. Rankings are from the AVCA.

Here are the top three matchups you wont want to miss in the opening weekend:

No. 7 Minnesota vs. No. 10 Baylor (at Wisconsin) | Friday, Aug. 27 | 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU


Baylor absolutely loaded up its out-of-conference schedule to start the season, and Minnesota is only the beginning. This match will be a big debut for both teams. For one, we will see the combination of Yossiana Pressley and Avery Skinner for the first time — how exciting is that? Pressley was the 2019 National Player of the Year, and rightfully so, as Baylor burst onto the scene and reached the semifinals, but the Bears fell out of the top 10 last season. Now Skinner joins the group leaving us excited for what this time might look like. Skinner played a large part in Kentucky's 2020-21 national championship season. For Minnesota, we will see how the Gophers filled in the spots previously occupied by Regan Pittman and Adanna Rollins. Stephanie Samedy is back for her fifth year after a phenomenal spring season, and Taylor Landfair, last season’s freshman phenom, is back as well. Samedy made my list for the top 16 offensive players returning for 2021. She finished last season as an AVCA first team All-American and was the Big Ten Player of the Year. Last season she was the first Gopher since 2011 to post 20 kills and 20 digs in a match and had 20-plus kills in FIVE matches. This matchup will be quite the way to kick off the season.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 9, 2015
Messages
7,330
Reaction score
566
Points
113

Fox 9: Gophers open season versus Baylor

MINNEAPOLIS - Expectations and excitement are at an all-time high as the University of Minnesota volleyball team opens the fall 2021 season at Wisconsin Friday night in the Big 10/Big 12 Challenge.

There’s nothing that could make coach Hugh McCutcheon and players more happy than a season-opening match in late August. This time last year, the Gophers were wondering if they’d even have a season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The No. 7-ranked Gophers start their fall slate with five of their first six matches against ranked teams, beginning with No. 10-ranked Baylor Friday night. Four of those five matches are against top-15 teams. McCutcheon wants to find out right away where his team is at after finishing last year with a loss to Pittsburgh in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.


"I just think we wanted to play good teams. The rankings stuff, we don’t have any control over who is where. They’re all really good and that’s the best thing we can do,’ McCutcheon said. "Our goal is to be good every time we step out on the floor, but it’s not to win preseason, it’s to try to win the conference and try to be the last team standing. For those things to happen, if you’ve got spaces in your game, I’d rather find out in August and September than have to wait until October over November."

Minnesota has to focus on Baylor and TCU this weekend first, but the team is a week away from its first home match with fans since a 3-2 win over Creighton in the NCAA Tournament on Dec. 7, 2019. The Gophers got their first taste of what that will feel like last weekend, hosting an open scrimmage at Maturi Pavilion.

"The athletes battled and we were playing some pretty good volleyball, very happy with the way they played and it was great to have some fans in the stands. Kind of cool to have it feel a little bit like The Pav," McCutcheon said.

That first opponent to play in front of fans at The Pav? No. 1-ranked Texas. It should be a full house for an early non-conference match between a pair of top-10 teams.

"I’m really excited. I know that the fans give us a big rush and a lot of excitement. They’re very supportive and I just can’t wait to be able to play in front of them and show everybody what we’ve been training for," said sophomore Taylor Landfair, a First-Team All-Big Ten and All-America Honorable Mention pick last year after coming in as the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit.

The Gophers are coming off finishing 16-3 overall, 15-2 in the Big Ten and falling short of their annual expectation of reaching the NCAA Final Four. But they have All-American Stephanie Samedy back, and CC McGraw is back after battling injuries last season.

There’s some unfinished business after last year’s loss to Pittsburgh, and it’s an understatement to say they’re motivated.

"It definitely was a little disappointing at the end of the season last year, but I think we’re going to use that this year to really fuel us and I think this group is really good," junior libero Rachel Kilkelly said
 



Ignatius L Hoops

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 9, 2015
Messages
7,330
Reaction score
566
Points
113

Baylor match notes:

Adding All-American Avery Skinner as a grad transfer from national championship Kentucky, the consensus is that this Baylor team is at least as talented as the Final Four team in 2019. Skinner joins 2019 National Player of the Year Yossiana Pressley; fifth-year senior setter Hannah Sedwick, a first-team All-American that same season; and former North Carolina transfer Lauren Harrison, who earned honorable mention honors last season.
"We have so much talent," Sedwick said. "It's unfortunate that only six can be on the court at one time, because everyone deserves to play and everyone is working hard in practice and getting better with each other and connecting. What a cool thing to say, when we're playing six-on-six, we have the two best teams in the country. We are so deep and so good."
That includes the setter position, where former Tennessee transfer Callie Williams took up the slack with Sedwick out the first half of the season and averaged a team-best 6.58 assists per set.
"We don't know exactly what it's going to look like throughout the season or even come this weekend. Who knows?" Sedwick said. "Callie's doing awesome, she's so good. That's just another awesome thing is to know that whether it's Callie, myself or Molly (Kipp), we all can get it done."
[...]
The Bears are also loaded at middle blocker with Kara McGhee, former transfers Preslie Anderson and Andressa Parise and the freshman trio of Kaitlyn Riley, Alicia Andrew and Ava Grace Haggard. McGhee is a returning first-team All-Big 12 pick, along with Pressley, Harrison and Big 12 Libero of the Year Shanel Bramschreiber.
"This is probably the most talented team I've been on," McGhee said, "which is exciting to see how we're going to go and just how we're going to honor the Lord and pour into each other while we do it."
 

adchester

Active member
Joined
Nov 4, 2011
Messages
408
Reaction score
188
Points
43
"How does Hugh McCutcheon get these players from Texas and Florida to come to Minneapolis? Don't they know it's freezing there?"

Wow never heard that one before, thanks ESPN
 




ClassOf98Gopher

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 19, 2020
Messages
504
Reaction score
251
Points
63
Blew 24-20 chance to force 5th

Baylor should be really good this year. For us to be hanging in there with them for four sets against is a good start for this Gophers team. Obviously a win would have been preferable but this will set realistic expectations from game one. I think we will get even better when Rubright is healthier.
 

Hrothgar

Active member
Joined
Sep 1, 2017
Messages
722
Reaction score
215
Points
43
Baylor should be really good this year. For us to be hanging in there with them for four sets against is a good start for this Gophers team. Obviously a win would have been preferable but this will set realistic expectations from game one. I think we will get even better when Rubright is healthier.
I love the Gophers, but have trouble sharing your optimism. It seemed tonight's game was a repeat of last year: 1) Play a great set; 2) then fall asleep in the next set; 3) in a pinch rely on only one decider (Samedy, who's brilliant), when the opponent has 4 or 5 deciders who can put the ball on the floor when it's really needed. I don't blame the players for this, but wonder what type of talent is being recruited.
 


4EverAGopher

Active member
Joined
Feb 10, 2019
Messages
156
Reaction score
78
Points
28
To me when it comes to recruiting, we are now being surprassed in some areas of the game.....this year especially the middle. I keep questioning why this program has come to this point.

Well today Wisconsin did not struggle with Baylor like we did. Sure, it is early in the season, but this is a huge concern for me. We lost to a top ten ranked team with one of the toughest preseason schedules in Div 1 NCAA Volleyball yet to be played.

Besides, I really need some real development from Shaffmaster this season. Rubright and Myers both need to be playing and staying healthy to try and develop any type of middle threat with Shaffmaster. Here's hoping that starts against Texas.
 



ClassOf98Gopher

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 19, 2020
Messages
504
Reaction score
251
Points
63
Kilkelly didn't play tonight. Was there any word why?

McCutchen sure sticks with his starting players doesn’t he.

I think only 7 players played tonight which, in my following of volleyball over the last 6-7 years, seems quite standard for him.
 

Hrothgar

Active member
Joined
Sep 1, 2017
Messages
722
Reaction score
215
Points
43
To me when it comes to recruiting, we are now being surprassed in some areas of the game.....this year especially the middle. I keep questioning why this program has come to this point.

Well today Wisconsin did not struggle with Baylor like we did. Sure, it is early in the season, but this is a huge concern for me. We lost to a top ten ranked team with one of the toughest preseason schedules in Div 1 NCAA Volleyball yet to be played.

Besides, I really need some real development from Shaffmaster this season. Rubright and Myers both need to be playing and staying healthy to try and develop any type of middle threat with Shaffmaster. Here's hoping that starts against Texas.
I agree with your first 2 paragraphs. The Gophers of not so long ago had the depth & power to win the BIG or close to it & always compete for the final four. They would've dealt with the Baylor of yesterday's match the way WI did today. It feels like the Gophers are slowly sliding toward the middle of the BIG. Please tell me this is not happening.
 

GibsonSG

Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2009
Messages
357
Reaction score
23
Points
18
The Gophers of not so long ago had the depth & power to win the BIG or close to it & always compete for the final four. They would've dealt with the Baylor of yesterday's match the way WI did today. It feels like the Gophers are slowly sliding toward the middle of the BIG. Please tell me this is not happening.
Are you s#!tting me? Get a grip. Last season the Gophers finished second in the Big Ten and unlike the other teams near them in the standings, despite all the cancellations, they played every top half Big Ten team except Ohio State. 2019 - finished tied for 2nd, made the Final Four. 2018 - Big Ten Champs. 2017 - finished 3rd in the Big Ten. 2016 - finished tied for 2nd and made the Final Four.

Could the Gophers finish 4th or worse this year? Certainly. But maybe wait until halfway through the Big Ten season before climbing out on the ledge. If you are complaining and worrying this much about volleyball, how do you manage to get through a Gopher basketball or football season without slitting your wrists?

And Wisconsin? Hey, it is fantastic for the Gophers to get a 5th year out of Samedy, but no team benefited from the NCAA granting a 5th year of eligibility more than Wisconsin. Rettke, Hilley, Loberg, Civita, and Barnes should all be gone. And with a redshirt senior in Hart, who the hell has more experienced talent than Wisconsin right now? Of course, they are going to destroy many teams and have a gaudy record! They would have been hitting the reset button this year if not for the NCAA ruling. Do you really think the Badgers would cakewalk their way to a Big Ten title and another Final Four without those 5 super-senior starters?
 


Hrothgar

Active member
Joined
Sep 1, 2017
Messages
722
Reaction score
215
Points
43
Are you s#!tting me? Get a grip. Last season the Gophers finished second in the Big Ten and unlike the other teams near them in the standings, despite all the cancellations, they played every top half Big Ten team except Ohio State. 2019 - finished tied for 2nd, made the Final Four. 2018 - Big Ten Champs. 2017 - finished 3rd in the Big Ten. 2016 - finished tied for 2nd and made the Final Four.

Could the Gophers finish 4th or worse this year? Certainly. But maybe wait until halfway through the Big Ten season before climbing out on the ledge. If you are complaining and worrying this much about volleyball, how do you manage to get through a Gopher basketball or football season without slitting your wrists?

And Wisconsin? Hey, it is fantastic for the Gophers to get a 5th year out of Samedy, but no team benefited from the NCAA granting a 5th year of eligibility more than Wisconsin. Rettke, Hilley, Loberg, Civita, and Barnes should all be gone. And with a redshirt senior in Hart, who the hell has more experienced talent than Wisconsin right now? Of course, they are going to destroy many teams and have a gaudy record! They would have been hitting the reset button this year if not for the NCAA ruling. Do you really think the Badgers would cakewalk their way to a Big Ten title and another Final Four without those 5 super-senior starters?
I have my views and express them. I'm not a diehard Gophers fan; the sun also rises; I'm not even from MN originally & don't slit my wrists over MN football or basketball; who would? I follow VB because I like the sport; I expected MN under Hugh to ascend above the successful years and titles you mention and be competing every year for nat'l championships by now, not struggling for runnerup in the BIG. Why that isn't happening is a question other posters ask as well. I post here wishing someone who knows more about VB than I would suggest some answers. Your comments on WI are enlightening. Thanks.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 19, 2020
Messages
504
Reaction score
251
Points
63
Are you s#!tting me? Get a grip. Last season the Gophers finished second in the Big Ten and unlike the other teams near them in the standings, despite all the cancellations, they played every top half Big Ten team except Ohio State. 2019 - finished tied for 2nd, made the Final Four. 2018 - Big Ten Champs. 2017 - finished 3rd in the Big Ten. 2016 - finished tied for 2nd and made the Final Four.

Could the Gophers finish 4th or worse this year? Certainly. But maybe wait until halfway through the Big Ten season before climbing out on the ledge. If you are complaining and worrying this much about volleyball, how do you manage to get through a Gopher basketball or football season without slitting your wrists?

And Wisconsin? Hey, it is fantastic for the Gophers to get a 5th year out of Samedy, but no team benefited from the NCAA granting a 5th year of eligibility more than Wisconsin. Rettke, Hilley, Loberg, Civita, and Barnes should all be gone. And with a redshirt senior in Hart, who the hell has more experienced talent than Wisconsin right now? Of course, they are going to destroy many teams and have a gaudy record! They would have been hitting the reset button this year if not for the NCAA ruling. Do you really think the Badgers would cakewalk their way to a Big Ten title and another Final Four without those 5 super-senior starters?
Are you s#!tting me? Get a grip. Last season the Gophers finished second in the Big Ten and unlike the other teams near them in the standings, despite all the cancellations, they played every top half Big Ten team except Ohio State. 2019 - finished tied for 2nd, made the Final Four. 2018 - Big Ten Champs. 2017 - finished 3rd in the Big Ten. 2016 - finished tied for 2nd and made the Final Four.

Could the Gophers finish 4th or worse this year? Certainly. But maybe wait until halfway through the Big Ten season before climbing out on the ledge. If you are complaining and worrying this much about volleyball, how do you manage to get through a Gopher basketball or football season without slitting your wrists?

And Wisconsin? Hey, it is fantastic for the Gophers to get a 5th year out of Samedy, but no team benefited from the NCAA granting a 5th year of eligibility more than Wisconsin. Rettke, Hilley, Loberg, Civita, and Barnes should all be gone. And with a redshirt senior in Hart, who the hell has more experienced talent than Wisconsin right now? Of course, they are going to destroy many teams and have a gaudy record! They would have been hitting the reset button this year if not for the NCAA ruling. Do you really think the Badgers would cakewalk their way to a Big Ten title and another Final Four without those 5 super-senior starters?

The third paragraph of this analysis is perfectly correct. Gopher fans would do themselves a big favor by not comparing our team to Wisconsin this year. Do that next year.

We are a good team and will get a lot of wins this year… and most importantly, a lot of people are going to get hours and hours of entertainment from this team. And that is what sports is all about.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 19, 2020
Messages
504
Reaction score
251
Points
63
I… don't slit my wrists over MN football or basketball; who would? I follow VB because I like the sport; I expected MN under Hugh to ascend above the successful years and titles you mention and be competing every year for nat'l championships by now, not struggling for runnerup in the BIG.

This first sentence is too good; and exactly why I focus quite a bit of my sports attention to volleyball in the fall and early winter.

But as to the second sentence, everything is about expectations. Natty titles are BIG expectations! Look at Stanford, a truly blessed athletic program, and their volleyball team is down. The Longhorns of Texas are also a blessed athletic program, but their volleyball program has had some slightly down years. I just think McCutchen has continued to keep us in the conversation for many years now. And this 2023 class including Wurcherer and others should keep that going for many more years into the future.
 

Gopher68

Active member
Joined
Nov 12, 2008
Messages
364
Reaction score
125
Points
43
This first sentence is too good; and exactly why I focus quite a bit of my sports attention to volleyball in the fall and early winter.

But as to the second sentence, everything is about expectations. Natty titles are BIG expectations! Look at Stanford, a truly blessed athletic program, and their volleyball team is down. The Longhorns of Texas are also a blessed athletic program, but their volleyball program has had some slightly down years. I just think McCutchen has continued to keep us in the conversation for many years now. And this 2023 class including Wurcherer and others should keep that going for many more years into the future.
Mckenna Wucherer, Carter Booth, and Julia Hanson (Prior Lake) are all 2022 recruits. So far, Laney Choboy is the only 2023.
 





GibsonSG

Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2009
Messages
357
Reaction score
23
Points
18
I have my views and express them. I'm not a diehard Gophers fan; the sun also rises; I'm not even from MN originally & don't slit my wrists over MN football or basketball; who would? I follow VB because I like the sport; I expected MN under Hugh to ascend above the successful years and titles you mention and be competing every year for nat'l championships by now, not struggling for runnerup in the BIG. Why that isn't happening is a question other posters ask as well. I post here wishing someone who knows more about VB than I would suggest some answers. Your comments on WI are enlightening. Thanks.
I hope my comments aren't read as being overly-harsh or condescending because that was (and is) never my intent. There's just no "tone of voice" when posting on a message forum. I was merely saying, "hey, relax!" Just keep things in perspective.

I was pretty frustrated and disappointed with the Baylor match. Not just because of how the Gophers blew the 4th set, but mainly because of how many points they gave away with hitting errors (22) and service errors (12). They could have easily taken the victory. But the season is long (hopefully) and they have time to improve. I think Hugh is an exceptional coach but he is no miracle worker. I'll always believe Minnesota is a tougher sell than most places just because of our winter. And the competition has damn good coaches as well. Winning championships is extremely tough. 3 teams - Nebraska, Penn State, and Stanford - having hogged something like 15 of the last 21 national titles. It's been tough for others to break through.
 

Hrothgar

Active member
Joined
Sep 1, 2017
Messages
722
Reaction score
215
Points
43
This first sentence is too good; and exactly why I focus quite a bit of my sports attention to volleyball in the fall and early winter.

But as to the second sentence, everything is about expectations. Natty titles are BIG expectations! Look at Stanford, a truly blessed athletic program, and their volleyball team is down. The Longhorns of Texas are also a blessed athletic program, but their volleyball program has had some slightly down years. I just think McCutchen has continued to keep us in the conversation for many years now. And this 2023 class including Wurcherer and others should keep that going for many more years into the future.
I hope my comments aren't read as being overly-harsh or condescending because that was (and is) never my intent. There's just no "tone of voice" when posting on a message forum. I was merely saying, "hey, relax!" Just keep things in perspective.

I was pretty frustrated and disappointed with the Baylor match. Not just because of how the Gophers blew the 4th set, but mainly because of how many points they gave away with hitting errors (22) and service errors (12). They could have easily taken the victory. But the season is long (hopefully) and they have time to improve. I think Hugh is an exceptional coach but he is no miracle worker. I'll always believe Minnesota is a tougher sell than most places just because of our winter. And the competition has damn good coaches as well. Winning championships is extremely tough. 3 teams - Nebraska, Penn State, and Stanford - having hogged something like 15 of the last 21 national titles. It's been tough for others to break through.
No, I'm glad you wrote. You sent no harsh or condescending comments. I write hoping for replies from those who know more than I do. I think BIG expectations should be the norm at MN, given how the program's progressed, but I see the progress plateauing. PSU & Nebr got nat'l titles despite not being garden spots either, because they set their goals high and recruited the talent needed to win big. The past two years or so, the Gophers have had talented players but lack depth of talent. The coaches don't need to be miracle workers; they just need more & more great talent. Winning big is a way to bring in that talent, IMO. Not easy, of course.
 

rwlarson

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2009
Messages
44
Reaction score
45
Points
18
I have my views and express them. I'm not a diehard Gophers fan; the sun also rises; I'm not even from MN originally & don't slit my wrists over MN football or basketball; who would? I follow VB because I like the sport; I expected MN under Hugh to ascend above the successful years and titles you mention and be competing every year for nat'l championships by now, not struggling for runnerup in the BIG. Why that isn't happening is a question other posters ask as well. I post here wishing someone who knows more about VB than I would suggest some answers. Your comments on WI are enlightening. Thanks.
The top 3 teams in the B1G are very much in the mix for a national championship every year. It’s no embarrassment to “struggle” to finish 2nd in the B1G. Hugh’s teams have won two B1G titles and advanced to the Final Four three out of the last five years, even though what may well have been their best team failed to make it.

Until the team gets over the hump and actually wins one, there is bound to be some sense of frustration within the fanbase. As it stands today, no B1G team other than Penn State or Nebraska has ever won a championship.

Other than those two teams, Wisconsin has played in the championship match the most (3), and Minnesota has appeared in the most Final Fours (6).

I think Minnesota has become a legitimate recruiting powerhouse in recent years, despite the assertion that we are losing ground to others. Last year’s class was pretty much the consensus #1 class in the country. Next year’s class could be a Top 5 class, and the 2024 libero commit Choboy, who will arrive just as McGraw departs, is widely considered the top libero in either the 2023 or 2024 classes.

So why haven’t they been able to win a NCAA title under Hugh? I think they’ve had the pieces they’ve needed most years EXCEPT for an elite level serve and pass game, which has resulted in some losses to teams with a strong middle attack and good servers. Our ace/error ratio has been consistently good overall, but our service pressure and our passing has just not been good enough to run the table in the tournament.

Despite the 1-1 start this year, I am actually encouraged by what I believe looks to be an improved serve and pass game so far this year. If that trend holds this year and continues into the future, along with the level of recruiting we are currently seeing, a national title will happen soon, probably when we aren’t really expecting it.
 

Hrothgar

Active member
Joined
Sep 1, 2017
Messages
722
Reaction score
215
Points
43
The top 3 teams in the B1G are very much in the mix for a national championship every year. It’s no embarrassment to “struggle” to finish 2nd in the B1G. Hugh’s teams have won two B1G titles and advanced to the Final Four three out of the last five years, even though what may well have been their best team failed to make it.

Until the team gets over the hump and actually wins one, there is bound to be some sense of frustration within the fanbase. As it stands today, no B1G team other than Penn State or Nebraska has ever won a championship.

Other than those two teams, Wisconsin has played in the championship match the most (3), and Minnesota has appeared in the most Final Fours (6).

I think Minnesota has become a legitimate recruiting powerhouse in recent years, despite the assertion that we are losing ground to others. Last year’s class was pretty much the consensus #1 class in the country. Next year’s class could be a Top 5 class, and the 2024 libero commit Choboy, who will arrive just as McGraw departs, is widely considered the top libero in either the 2023 or 2024 classes.

So why haven’t they been able to win a NCAA title under Hugh? I think they’ve had the pieces they’ve needed most years EXCEPT for an elite level serve and pass game, which has resulted in some losses to teams with a strong middle attack and good servers. Our ace/error ratio has been consistently good overall, but our service pressure and our passing has just not been good enough to run the table in the tournament.

Despite the 1-1 start this year, I am actually encouraged by what I believe looks to be an improved serve and pass game so far this year. If that trend holds this year and continues into the future, along with the level of recruiting we are currently seeing, a national title will happen soon, probably when we aren’t really expecting it.
Very good comments. I enjoyed reading them. I guess patience is necessary in waiting for that title. At 83, I'd prefer it sooner rather than later.
 

MplsGopher

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 4, 2017
Messages
27,794
Reaction score
6,886
Points
113
and advanced to the Final Four three out of the last five years, even though what may well have been their best team failed to make it.
One of the saddest choke jobs I've experienced as a Gophers fan. Oregon played inspired. Then immediately got blown out the next game by Nebraska, as we knew they would.

And like I said, they kind of "lucked" into the FF in 2019. Sorry, but it's true. Can't know for sure how they would've played against Texas, but it sure as hell would've been a tougher fight than Louisville put up.
 




Top Bottom