#8 MINNESOTA DEF. #7 PENN STATE 3-0
- #8 Minnesota def. #7 Penn State 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-19)
- #8 Minnesota improves to 7-2 (1-0, Big Ten); #7 Penn State falls to 9-2 (0-1, Big Ten)
- Minneapolis, Minnesota | Maturi Pavillion
- Attendance: 5,450
- Box Score
- Minnesota Release | Penn State Release
In a Big Ten opener between top 10 teams, the more experienced Minnesota Golden Gophers swept the young and talented Penn State Nittany Lions. Beyond getting off on the right foot in conference play, it’s also the first ranked win for Minnesota, while Penn State did continue to show flashes with plenty of potential moving forward.
While it’s Penn State with the top recruiting class on their 2018 team, the underclassmen for Minnesota stepped up as well. Making things easier on the youth though was senior setter Samantha Seliger-Swenson, who totaled 40 assists and 16 digs for the match – good enough for first and second overall in the match respectively.
Those underclassmen she dished it to for a total of 27 kills though were sophomore opposite Stephanie Samedy (14 kills, .275, 10 digs, 5 blocks) and freshman outside hitter Adanna Rollins (13 kills, .303, 11 digs), who has made a steady climb since the season began. Freshman C.C. McGraw (12 digs) and true sophomore Lauren Barnes (13 digs) also played well in the back row.
Still, while all of those are underclassmen for Minnesota, it’s a whole different animal with Penn State. Of their six hitters to take a swing – and really just five because Tori Gorrell had just one attempt – four were freshmen.
Leading the way in kills of the group was Allyson Cathey (8 kills, .192, 3 blocks), who continues to start for Nia Reed. Reed didn’t dress on the last day of non-conference for Penn State and is the team’s leader in kills per set while hitting .270. Jonni Parker (7 kills), Kaitlyn Hord (7 kills, .286), Serena Gray (4 kills, .300, 4 blocks) and Jenna Hampton (13 digs) all pitched in as freshmen as well, though it wasn’t enough to out-do the home team.
Also adding to the Minnesota performance were some of their older players in redshirt junior Taylor Morgan (6 kills, .364, 4 blocks), junior Alexis Hart (8 kills, .130, 5 digs) and redshirt sophomore Regan Pittman (7 kills, .267, 4 blocks). Overall the team didn’t get a ton from their middles though in Morgan and Pittman, but it was enough when combined with the others.
Penn State has some experience as well – just mostly from players getting their shot this season or via transfer, but not to the extent as the Golden Gophers. Some of those players stepped up such as Taylor Leath (8 kills, .059, 5 digs) and Bryanna Weiskircher (29 assists, 10 digs), although both had some struggles as well. Junior libero Kendall White led the match with 18 digs.
Overall for the match, Minnesota hit more efficiently (.262-.168) and had more kills (50-38), assists (46-36), digs (71-58), blocks (9-5) and aces (2-1).
After getting the Big Ten party started for each team with this one, Minnesota’s week continues at home against Maryland. Penn State meanwhile stays on the road as their second of a four-game trip with Ohio State on the ledger next.