I'm quite happy without a tournament. I'd rather not lose the conference games. If there was a tournament, the conference winner would likely host. Neutral sites tend to be boring.Also wish the conference would do a conference tournament to determine the champion. One weekend, say in Chicago. Top 6 teams, Friday late afternoon and evening would be #3vs#6 and #4vs#5 which play-in to the top two seeds. Semi-finals Saturday. Final Sunday early afternoon.
No conference games would be lost. As with basketball, a conference tournament would be additional.I'm quite happy without a tournament. I'd rather not lose the conference games. If there was a tournament, the conference winner would likely host. Neutral sites tend to be boring.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Pedro Mendes will begin his first season with Minnesota volleyball in 2022. He comes to Minnesota after serving as the head coach at Hylte/Halmstad Volley (Sweden) where he led the team to its first national and cup championship ever in 2021. The team repeated as champions in 2022.
"I am really excited to join the Gophers," Mendes said. "The University of Minnesota has a very knowledgeable coaching staff led by one of the most respected coaches in the world, Hugh McCutcheon. I can't wait to get started on the court, exchange ideas with the coaching staff and help the program reach its goals."
Over his two seasons as the head coach in Sweden, Mendes played a key role in recruiting young players and helping them reach their goals on and off the court. These included being called to the Swedish National Team and finding more lucrative professional contracts abroad. He also helped two players win league MVP honors while seven others were picked to the dream (all-league) team.
During the 2021-22 season, Mendes led his team to the national record for best set average with 93 sets won and just six sets lost over 31 straight match wins. In two seasons, their official match record was 70-2, the best-ever stretch in club history.
"We're excited to have Pedro join our program," said coach McCutcheon. "He brings a ton of coaching and playing experience as well as a genuine passion for the game. We feel fortunate to have him with us."
Prior to Hylte/Halmstad Volley, Mendes worked as an assistant coach with Eczasibasi Vitra Istanbul (Turkey), one of the top women's volleyball clubs in the world. He assisted in practices under the direction of the head coach, Marco Motta. He ran one-on-one player practices, participated in game plan discussions and delved into team statistics and analytics.
Mendes started his volleyball playing career when he was 10 years old and played until his last professional season at the age of 30.
Born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Mendes went to college at UniFunvic in Sao Paulo.
"Although my volleyball background is Brazilian and European, I have always admired the discipline of the players and coaches and the organization of U.S. collegiate programs. With that being said, I am hoping to better understand how the system is put together and how coaches develop athletes into better players and human beings," Mendes said
I doubt we'll see that in the near future with schools hosting early tournaments and the long B1G schedule. It would make the final reg season games more interesting, a lower seed wins its way into the B1G tournament and goes on to win that automatic bid. Who wouldn't want to see that?Also wish the conference would do a conference tournament to determine the champion. One weekend, say in Chicago. Top 6 teams, Friday late afternoon and evening would be #3vs#6 and #4vs#5 which play-in to the top two seeds. Semi-finals Saturday. Final Sunday early afternoon.
Hugh saw what Sheffield did with Orzol and he's looking for that European pipeline. It doesn't hurt that coach Mendes is also Brazilian.
Gophers add volunteer assistant, Pedro Mendes.
I doubt we'll see that in the near future with schools hosting early tournaments and the long B1G schedule. It would make the final reg season games more interesting, a lower seed wins its way into the B1G tournament and goes on to win that automatic bid. Who wouldn't want to see that?
Again, exact same arguments could be said for conference tournaments in basketball.A six team Big Ten tournament would likely feature teams that are going to qualify for the NCAA tournament. Last season, eight B1G teams made the NCAA. So, the extra two get a welcome week off. The other six get to work a weekend for minimal seeding gain.
If she does commit to the Gophers that would mean by the time she gets on campus we'll have 3-4 setters on the roster. Shaffmaster (5th yr), Ng (2nd yr), McGhie and maybe another transfer.Stella Swenson (Sam's setter sister) just announced her 2024 commitment to the Gophers. Some probably had little doubt that this would happen but you never know.
ALEXANDRIA - The Alexandria Volleyball Club hosted some special guests from the University of Minnesota volleyball team from July 5-7 for its summer camp.
Minnesota junior outside hitter Jenna Wenaas, junior setter Melani Shaffmaster, grad student libero CC McGraw and junior setter Elise McGhie all hosted the camp at Alexandria High School.
Shaffmaster said they heard about the camp from a member of the Minnesota coaching staff in a group chat.
“We actually got a text in one of our group chats from one of our coaches saying that the Alexandria group reached out and was wondering if people would want to work with the camp,” Shaffmaster said. “I’d say it took a couple of months to work out the details. I’ve been talking with Philip [Zimpel], and I got these guys to come along with me.”
Zimpel is the treasurer for the Alexandria Volleyball Club.
McGraw is the lone Minnesota native out of four as she is from Prior Lake, while Shaffmaster is from New Castle, Indiana, Wenaas is from Frisco, Texas, and McGhie is from Kansas City, Missouri.
Shaffmaster is a two-time American Volleyball Coaches Association North Region selection and she led the team in assists per set last season with 10.68 (30th nationally, fifth in the Big Ten).
Wenaas also made the AVCA North Region team in 2021 and was an All-Big Ten second team selection. Wenaas was second on the team in points scored with 435.5 and in kills per set with 3.28.
McGraw was an AVCA All-American Honorable Mention for the second time after 2021, made the AVCA North Region team for the third time and was an All-Big Ten first team selection for the second time. McGraw had a team-best 510 digs last season and ranks fifth on Minnesota’s all-time digs list with 1,554.
McGhie is a transfer from Kansas who joined the Minnesota program back in January. In two years at Kansas, McGhie racked up 107.5 points, 1,149 assists and 266 digs and was on the 2021 Kansas team that made it to the Sweet 16.
This camp served as an opportunity for Alexandria area volleyball players to learn from some of the best volleyball players from one of the best programs at the Division I college level.
Baylor vs. Minnesota — Baylor and Minnesota will face off on Friday, Aug. 26. at the Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge in Fort Worth. Minnesota lost Stephanie Samedy, their leader, but gained a few players out of the transfer portal and a strong freshman class led by Mckenna Wucherer, the Wisconsin Player of the Year. Baylor will be their very first opponent of the season. The Bears lost Yossiana Pressley, large shoes to fill, so it will be interesting to see how they fill in the holes this season.
Texas vs. Minnesota — The Longhorns continue with a mid-week matchup against the Gophers. Minnesota finished last season ranked just two spots below Texas after a pretty good tournament run.
Minnesota vs. Florida — The Gators have two big-name transfers in AC Fitzpatrick from Penn State, and Elli McKissock from Georgia Tech. I am excited to see them compete ahead of SEC competition against the likes of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Stanford.
Minnesota vs. Stanford — Another tough matchup on Stanford's calendar to watch out for.
BIG TEN LEADS THE WAY: Things get real Monday in Chicago with the first Olympic sport event of its kind, Big Ten volleyball media days.
Media days are a staple of Power 5 football and basketball, and many other conferences have football media days, but this is huge for our sport. The head coaches and two players from each program are headed to the Big Ten Network studios.
On Monday, in order of appearance:
Northwestern — Shane Davis, Temi Thomas-Ailara, Megan Miller
Michigan State — Leah Johnson, Rebecka Poljan, Nalani Iosia
Michigan — Mark Rosen, Jess Mruzik, Jess Robinson
Indiana — Steve Aird, Camryn Haworth, Paula Cerame
Nebraska — John Cook, Madi Kubik, Kenzie Knuckles
Ohio State — Jen Flynn Oldenburg, Kylie Murr, Mac Podraza
Purdue — Dave Shondell, Raven Colvin, Emma Ellis
And on Tuesday:
Rutgers — Caitlin Schweifhofer, Madyson Chitty, Rachel Tam
Maryland — Adam Hughes, Rainelle Jones, Sydney Dowler
Iowa — Jim Barnes, Amiya Jones, Toyosi Onabanjo
Illinois — Chris Tamas, Diana Brown, Kennedy Collins
Wisconsin — Kelly Sheffield, Anna Smrek, Sarah Franklin
Minnesota — Hugh McCutcheon, CC McGraw, Taylor Landfair
Penn State — Katie Schumacher-Cawley, Taylor Trammell, Anjelina Starck
That’s a lot of volleyball people to interview and a lot of stories to stockpile. We will be there and will have stories on Monday and Tuesday.
The full 2022 Big Ten Conference preseason poll and all-conference team is as follows:
2022 BIG TEN VOLLEYBALL PRESEASON POLL
4. Ohio State
5. Penn State
6. (tie) Illinois
11. Michigan State
2022 BIG TEN VOLLEYBALL PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
Unanimous selection listed in ALL CAPS // * - attending 2022 Big Ten Volleyball Media Days
Name School Yr. Position Hometown Raina Terry Illinois Jr. Outside Hitter Marengo, Ohio *Rainelle Jones Maryland Grad. Middle Blocker Oxon Hill, Md. *Jess Mruzik Michigan Jr. Outside Hitter Livonia, Mich. *CC McGraw Minnesota Grad. Libero/Defensive Specialist Prior Lake, Minn. Jenna Wenaas Minnesota Jr. Outside Hitter Frisco, Texas Kaitlyn Hord Nebraska Sr. Middle Blocker Louisville, Ky. *MADI KUBIK Nebraska Sr. Outside Hitter West Des Moines, Iowa Lexi Rodriguez Nebraska So. Libero/Defensive Specialist Sterling, Ill. *Temi Thomas-Ailara Northwestern Sr. Outside Hitter Glenwood, Ill. Emily Londot Ohio State Jr. Opposite Utica, Ohio *Mac Podraza Ohio State Sr. Setter Sunbury, Ohio Rylee Rader Ohio State Jr. Middle Blocker Louisville, Ky. *Sarah Franklin Wisconsin RS-So. Outside Hitter Lake Worth, Fla. Devyn Robinson Wisconsin Jr. Middle Blocker/Right Side Ankeny, Iowa *Anna Smrek Wisconsin So. Middle Blocker/Right Side Welland, Ontario
Additional student-athlete due to tie in voting
Gophers on Big Ten Network (all times Central):
Sunday, Sept. 4 vs. Florida, 12:30 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 9 vs. Oregon, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 23 at Purdue, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 25 vs. Wisconsin, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 28 vs. Northwestern, 8 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 7 at Michigan, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 12 vs. Ohio State, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 15 vs. Illinois, 3 or 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 29 at Wisconsin, TBD
Friday, Nov. 18 at Penn State, 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 26 at Nebraska, 8 p.m.
Gophers on BTN+ (all times Central):
Saturday, Sept. 10 vs. Stanford, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 15 vs. Pepperdine, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 17 vs. Washington State, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 2 vs. Iowa, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 9 at Michigan State, TBD
Saturday, Oct. 22 vs. Purdue, TBD
Wednesday, Oct. 26 vs. Michigan State, TBD
Friday, Nov. 4 vs. Michigan, TBD
Sunday, Nov. 6 at Illinois, TBD
Friday, Nov. 11 vs. Maryland, TBD
Sunday, Nov. 13 vs. Indiana, TBD
Saturday, Nov. 19 at Rutgers, TBD
Friday, Nov. 25 at Ohio State, TBD
Gophers on ESPNU (all times Central):
Wednesday, Oct. 19 at Iowa, 6 p.m.
Interesting. The Ncaa.com site also came out with its preseaon Power 10 rankings. They have Nebraska at #1, Wisconsin #4, Ohio State #5, and the Gophers #7.