Gopher Volleyball 2021 - Spring Season

Hrothgar

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i’m so glad we won, but man do we have a thin bench right now. rachel and cc are the only two DS’s on the roster. wenas did well tonight stepping in, but if cc is going to be out any length it’s going to be very tough. also appears that mcmenimen hasn’t been on the bench the past 2 matches.
I agree. The roster is talented, but it's thin with only 14 on the roster. I haven't seen anything of Atherton at all. Is she still with the team?
 

GibsonSG

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A very entertaining match! Tough to get the ball on the floor against Purdue. And to think they'll rematch again right away tomorrow.

Too bad Appiani transferred but what do you do? The Gophers may only have two DS players listed on the roster now but Wenaas, like Rollins, was also a 6-rotation player in high school. Flovolleyball gave her quite the praise for it. Perhaps Miyabe is capable as well if needed.

Overshadowed a bit by Samedy's big night, Rollins had 27 digs(!) to go with her 17 kills. A very encouraging start to the season so far for her.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Gopher Sports:

-Stephanie Samedy not only produced career bests in kills and digs, she also produced the first 20-kill, 20-dig performance in over a decade. The last time a Gopher had that performance dates back to Katherine Harms in 2011 against Washington during the NCAA tournament (Dec. 3, 2011).

Quotable
"It was an important night for us on a number of levels," Hugh McCutcheon said. "Purdue is a tough team, they are well coached and well prepared. It was also the first time we'd seen this lineup with Grace Cleveland, and she's a big part of what they do. On our side of the net, it also wasn't going so smoothly, especially in serve receive, which has been a pretty steady part of our game. Coming back and winning a tough fourth set and being in control in the fifth are really important lessons, especially on the road. I'm really proud of the way we were able to regroup, refocus and play some good volleyball down the stretch. It was a big win."
 

MRJ

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I'm wondering if the rest of you are noticing a couple things.

First, Pittman doesn't seem to be getting the slide hits the way she did the past couple years. I don't think it's a huge problem since we can get kills from several other places and Pittman has become so well rounded she contributes in plenty of other ways, particularly serving.

Second, Shaffmaster is already really good at dump shots. For those who really know the game, is that something of a function of her being a bigger setter? That is, does being a bigger player help disguise it and/or get the ball over quicker compared to shorter players?
I'll take a stab at it. :)

The slide really requires a fair amount of tempo control and timing and it's possible that Shaffmaster and Pittman haven't been able to get it down yet. As it is, the slide has been hit-and-miss for the Gophers in recent seasons, which I attribute to having three starting setters in three years. Add in the fact that a fourth starting setter (McNeniman) had to also start when Kylie Miller got injured and I'm not sure there has been enough continuity or reps to really establish a rhythm with the slide (unlike UW with Rettke and Sydney Hilley). They tried it a few times against Michigan State with mixed results and haven't really seen much of it since.

Thankfully, Pittman is versatile enough to be a fantastic middle without relying on swings on the slide.

As for Shaffmaster, she's already proving to be a weapon with both dumps and blocking. It's been awhile since the Gophers have had a potentially dominant blocker as a setter and she has the size to do so. Also, her ball skills and ability to read the defense seem to be really good. SSS was definitely excellent on dumps as well, but she was 5-11, which meant the biggest contribution she made at the net was often dump sets or assist blocks.

At 6-3, Shaffmaster is fully aware of her size and aggressively tries to use it, which I love. Her height makes her more of a weapon at the net because she can not only dump the ball, but also kill plays without the dump. And I would expect the fact that her ability to finish plays with straight-up kills will make her dumps all the more effective as she continues to mature.

Just my two cents...
 
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junc1929

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I agree. The roster is talented, but it's thin with only 14 on the roster. I haven't seen anything of Atherton at all. Is she still with the team?
she has been on the bench. she’s usually wearing a zip-up over her uniform and has a pretty bulky knee brace. but hasn’t even sniffed any match time.
 


GopherJack

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The Gophers showed great grit last night in their win. I have a couple of questions/observations. Did the shot on the Purdue spike that CC took hit her shoulder or head? (possible concussion). Sameday is a STUD and every time they went to her to stop the bleeding, she produced! If we lose her to injury, Covid, etc., we are in big trouble. As mentioned earlier, Pittman wasn't involved much - hopefully that changes as we need a more diverse offense. (she seems slow and lumbering). There were times she seemed to not get over, or seal her block and that let to Purdue points. It seemed as if we intentionally did NOT set her - am I just imagining that? I know Landfair is just a freshman, but I feel we need more from her as a 6'5" hitter and top recruit. If we could instill the Samedy killer instinct in her, lookout! As she matures, I'm hoping that will come. Looking forward to tonight's match. Go Gophers!
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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I'm wondering if the rest of you are noticing a couple things.

First, Pittman doesn't seem to be getting the slide hits the way she did the past couple years. I don't think it's a huge problem since we can get kills from several other places and Pittman has become so well rounded she contributes in plenty of other ways, particularly serving.

Second, Shaffmaster is already really good at dump shots. For those who really know the game, is that something of a function of her being a bigger setter? That is, does being a bigger player help disguise it and/or get the ball over quicker compared to shorter players?

I am not an expert, however I think because of her size she did play quite a bit in her pre-college volleyball leagues where she contributed offensively with swings. That may give her more of a killer’s mentality for those spots in the game where she can make points directly.

I noticed her taking all of those opportunities last night as well. But what came to my mind was how many of those Shaffmaster attempts Purdue was able to get to last night. Now that Otec woman played a fantastic Libero game last night but it also must have been quite the reminder to Shaffmaster that she is not in high school anymore. Her attempts probably would have all been points for her team a year ago.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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The Gophers showed great grit last night in their win. I have a couple of questions/observations. Did the shot on the Purdue spike that CC took hit her shoulder or head? (possible concussion). Sameday is a STUD and every time they went to her to stop the bleeding, she produced! If we lose her to injury, Covid, etc., we are in big trouble. As mentioned earlier, Pittman wasn't involved much - hopefully that changes as we need a more diverse offense. (she seems slow and lumbering). There were times she seemed to not get over, or seal her block and that let to Purdue points. It seemed as if we intentionally did NOT set her - am I just imagining that? I know Landfair is just a freshman, but I feel we need more from her as a 6'5" hitter and top recruit. If we could instill the Samedy killer instinct in her, lookout! As she matures, I'm hoping that will come. Looking forward to tonight's match. Go Gophers!

I assume, that McCutchen’s intention is for Wenaas to be Samedy’s heir in that critical position starting next year. Or, maybe Rollins takes it instead?
 

MplsGopher

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Shaffmaster also played in a 6-2 offense before the Gophers. That means instead of having two mostly specialized players on the "right side", one that mostly sets and one that mostly hits, both players do both those skills, depending if they're front row (hitting) or back row (setting).

So she not only dumps or bats the ball over with her left hand, she actually takes full swings at the ball on occasion. She did last night and it went down too, but she hit the net with her hand so it was an error.
 



MplsGopher

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As mentioned earlier, Pittman wasn't involved much - hopefully that changes as we need a more diverse offense. (she seems slow and lumbering). There were times she seemed to not get over, or seal her block and that let to Purdue points. It seemed as if we intentionally did NOT set her - am I just imagining that?
We have a new, freshman setting and one of the few critiques so far is a lack of setting the middles. Pittman is a beast on the slide too, so that is a bummer for her. I think they have plenty of time to get there, though.

Pittman can move. There was a great play she had where she went all the way over to the right to help block, then ran all the way back to the left to get in front of the setter, then did her approach and smacked the ball down.


The middle not getting over in time to block is a very difficult task. If the other team is setting their middle hitter well, then our middle blocker has to stay to cover that threat first, and then still try to get over to help block the outside hit if the set goes over there.
 


Ignatius L Hoops

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Another five set win with the Gopher making a comeback in the 4th and winning easily in the 5th. 20 kills (.240) for Samedy who picked things up as the match went on. 9 kills (.571) for Rubright. 17 kills (.268) for Landfair and 10 kills (.212) for Rollins.
 

MRJ

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Never count out McCutcheon's team. Ever.

That's pretty much the summation of this weekend. Bottom line is this team (and the program more broadly) knows how to win. They pick it up and get it done more often than not when the chips are down (a definite difference from the vast majority of Minnesota teams).

14 kills in a 15 point set? Against a top-15 team on the road? That's flat out getting it done.

Well done ladies!
 



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Great series sweep ladies. Keep jelling and peak at the right time. Hope CC recovers quickly too
 
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Ski U Mah Gopher

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Never count out McCutcheon's team. Ever.

That's pretty much the summation of this weekend. Bottom line is this team (and the program more broadly) knows how to win. They pick it up and get it done more often than not when the chips are down (a definite difference from the vast majority of Minnesota teams).

14 kills in a 15 point set? Against a top-15 team on the road? That's flat out getting it done.

Well done ladies!

They are now 11-2 in their last 5 setters.
 

MRJ

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They are now 11-2 in their last 5 setters.
They seem to have that extra gear they can go to when they need it. Comes from not only talent, but maturity and confidence. The ladies know they're good and usually respond to challenges.

It's a stark contrast to other Minnesota teams (mostly the men), who like to tell everyone how great they are yet consistently pee down their legs when the going gets tough.

Not Gopher volleyball. They pull themselves up by the boot-straps and dig in. Very refreshing to see. Elite coach, elite talent and elite approach.

I hardly agree with Patrick Reusse on anything, but he has long maintained that Gopher volleyball is by far the best program on campus and I completely agree.

McCutcheon's teams almost always perform at an extremely high level in the nation's best conference. Wish they got more attention for it.

Women's hockey has a bit of it (although they've taken a step back in that regard in recent years) and so does softball. But no program is more reliable than McCutcheon's imo.
 

MplsGopher

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They seem to have that extra gear they can go to when they need it. Comes from not only talent, but maturity and confidence. The ladies know they're good and usually respond to challenges.

It's a stark contrast to other Minnesota teams (mostly the men), who like to tell everyone how great they are yet consistently pee down their legs when the going gets tough.

Not Gopher volleyball. They pull themselves up by the boot-straps and dig in. Very refreshing to see. Elite coach, elite talent and elite approach.

I hardly agree with Patrick Reusse on anything, but he has long maintained that Gopher volleyball is by far the best program on campus and I completely agree.

McCutcheon's teams almost always perform at an extremely high level in the nation's best conference. Wish they got more attention for it.

Women's hockey has a bit of it (although they've taken a step back in that regard in recent years) and so does softball. But no program is more reliable than McCutcheon's imo.
And they're getting players from all over. Two of our best are from Florida and Texas.

It's a top national program.
 
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MRJ

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And they're getting players from all over. Two of our best are from Florida and Texas.

It's a top national program.
The program is absolutely stacked with talent.

If you look at their respective bios, it reads like a who's-who of top level recruits. Almost all of them would be considered four or five-star level recruits if you use the basketball and football model for evaluation. And like you said, he recruits them from all over.

They truly are a top level program.

Not sure how many people are actually aware of the level of athlete Hugh recruits, but it's extremely impressive.
 

let'sbeclear

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What I know about volleyball could be put in a thumbnail, but this team is a joy to watch. Rollins seems to have improved dramatically from last year, both in the front and in the back. Samedy is more dominant than ever. She's making more back-row kills than I ever remember her making in previous years.

Players coming in off the bench are playing with great confidence, e.g., Rubright and Wenaas against Purdue. Wenaas could be a special player. An OH, she came in to serve and play the back row when McGraw was injured. Her serve receive and passing has been a big boost.

Someone mentioned that they think the Gophers are thin. (Maybe they were only referring to DS.) I like their overall depth, though. Their versatility has been impressive so far, and McCutcheon certainly knows how to improvise and seems to always get the best out of his players.

And the way they stepped up their play in those 5th sets against Purdue? Fantastic!
 
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Frink

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Apologies if this was mentioned before but I thought I saw Atherton on the bench with a brace on and not in uniform. Anyone else catch that?
 

Hrothgar

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Apologies if this was mentioned before but I thought I saw Atherton on the bench with a brace on and not in uniform. Anyone else catch that?
I thought I caught a glimpse of her, too. It seems to me that men's programs give injury reports, but women's programs seldom, if ever. Am I imagining that?
 

Ski U Mah Gopher

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I thought I caught a glimpse of her, too. It seems to me that men's programs give injury reports, but women's programs seldom, if ever. Am I imagining that?

The men are just as bad. Have you ever heard PJ Fleck's press conferences when it comes to injuries, and the depth chart is a running gag.
 

Hrothgar

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The men are just as bad. Have you ever heard PJ Fleck's press conferences when it comes to injuries, and the depth chart is a running gag.
Very possible. Just an impression I have; maybe the pro teams are covered more closely?
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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Very possible. Just an impression I have; maybe the pro teams are covered more closely?

I assume the pro teams are required to give injury reports for... you know...sports-betting purposes. But I could be wrong around that assumption.
 

junc1929

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Apologies if this was mentioned before but I thought I saw Atherton on the bench with a brace on and not in uniform. Anyone else catch that?
i believe that she is in uniform, just wearing a zip-up over it. i've seen her in warm-ups. those not in uniform, like CC on sat, sit on the bench or in the stands. just based on what i've noticed.
 

junc1929

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What I know about volleyball could be put in a thumbnail, but this team is a joy to watch. Rollins seems to have improved dramatically from last year, both in the front and in the back. Samedy is more dominant than ever. She's making more back-row kills than I ever remember her making in previous years.

Players coming in off the bench are playing with great confidence, e.g., Rubright and Wenaas against Purdue. Wenaas could be a special player. An OH, she came in to serve and play the back row when McGraw was injured. Her serve receive and passing has been a big boost.

Someone mentioned that they think the Gophers are thin. (Maybe they were only referring to DS.) I like their overall depth, though. Their versatility has been impressive so far, and McCutcheon certainly knows how to improvise and seems to always get the best out of his players.

And the way they stepped up their play in those 5th sets against Purdue? Fantastic!
i made the thin comment and i stand by it. a shaffmaster injury/illness would be absolutely disastrous. especially seeing that mcmenimen hasn't been in uniform the last 3 matches. a long term cc injury would be same. yes, wenaas played well saturday and her versatility was impressive, but our DS depth is also lacking. especially considering covid. i've been very impressed with everyone who's played. the veterans have showed up huge and the freshman have played well. my comment wasn't a shot at anyone that's played. it would just be nice to be deeper than 1 or 2 at some key spots. injuries and struggles always happen at some point.
 
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Hrothgar

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i made the thin comment and i stand by it. a shaffmaster injury/illness would be absolutely disastrous. especially seeing that mcmenimen hasn't been in uniform the last 3 matches. a long term cc injury would be same. yes, wenaas played well saturday and her versatility was impressive, but our DS depth is also lacking. especially considering covid. i've been very impressed with everyone who's played. the veterans have showed up huge and the freshman have played well. my comment wasn't a shot at anyone that's played. it would just be nice to be deeper than 1 or 2 at some key spots. injuries and struggles always happen at some point.
I did a quick spot check of 6 BIG programs' rosters: Purdue 17 players; MSU 21; PSU 18; OSU 16; Michigan 16; MN 14.
 


GameDay

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Apologies if this was mentioned before but I thought I saw Atherton on the bench with a brace on and not in uniform. Anyone else catch that?

Yes, Atherton isn't in game shape between her knee and her conditioning... I wouldn't plan on seeing her this season. Bailey appears to be a covid-related matter so she should be back soon to provide insurance and give Hugh an option for the double-sub with Miyabe.
 




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