UNI and Minnesota Dance Into NCAA Round Two

  0 Julie Haake | December 02nd, 2017 | ACC, Big Ten, College - Women's Indoor, Division I Mid-Major, Missouri Valley Conference, News


  • UNI def. Louisville 3-0, (25-21, 25-15, 27-25)
  • UNI moves to 27-8; Louisville ends season at 24-7
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Attendance: 4526
  • Box Score


  • Minnesota def. North Dakota 3-0, (25-20, 25-15, 25-21)
  • Minnesota moves to 27-5; North Dakota ends season at 30-8
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Attendance: 4526
  • Box Score

MINNEAPOLIS– UNI defeated Louisville and Minnesota took down North Dakota on Friday night in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Maturi Pavilion at Minnesota. The UNI Panthers have now won 15 NCAA matches and Minnesota’s win gives them a total of 27 on the season. The two teams will face each other Saturday night at 8 p.m. as the Gophers host UNI.

UNI setter, Heather Hook, ran the offense for the Panthers with 38 assists and 8 digs. Piper Thomas led the team in kills, putting away 18 balls on a .500 clip. Karlie Taylor also had an impressive performance with 17 kills on a .387 clip along with 15 digs for a double-double. The team posted eight blocks.

Amanda Green fueled the JMU offense with nine kills. She was fed by setter, Wilma Rivera, who recorded 32 assists. The back row was controlled by libero, Molly Sauer, as she dug up 15.

In the Minnesota match, Samantha Seliger-Swenson, delivered 36 assists and Brittany McLean put away 13 kills hitting .355. Libero, Dalianliz Rosado controlled the back row with 15 digs. The Gophers came away from the match with 55 digs.

Jordan Vail led the offense for North Dakota with nine kills, hitting .238. Defensively, Tamara Merseli led the way with 10 digs. Sydney Griffin accounted for 26 of 30 assists for the Redhawks.


Courtesy of UNI Athletics

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota – The University of Northern Iowa volleyball squad recorded a 3-0 sweep of the co-Atlantic Coast Conference champion Louisville Cardinals in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament. UNI won by set scores of 25-21, 25-15, 27-25.

UNI (27-8 overall) recorded the program’s 15th NCAA Tournament victory and first triumph since the 2012 season. It marks the 12th time that the Panthers have reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Panthers rode the hitting of Piper Thomas and Karlie Taylor to the victory. Thomas recorded a match-high 18 kills and hit .500 with only two attack errors. Taylor posted her team-leading 25th double-double with 17 kills and 15 digs. Junior Bri Weber posted a team-best 18 digs.

UNI jumped out quickly to a 4-1 advantage. Louisville evened at 7-7 before pushing its advantage to as many as three points. Louisville led 18-15 when the Panthers made their decisive 6-0 run to take a 21-15 lead. UN would close out the first set, 25-21. UNI posted 16 kills and hit .263, while Louisville recorded 14 kills and hit .220.

The second set was tied at 11-11 before another crucial 6-0 run for the Panthers turned the momentum around. UNI would eventually finish the run at 8-1 and hold a 19-12 lead when the Cardinals called a timeout. Louisville pulled to within five points at 19-14, but the Panthers would not be denied. A block from Moriah Johnson and Jaydlin Seehase gave the Panthers a set point and Taylor fired a service ace to give UNI a 25-15 win.

Louisville looked to battle back in the third set and built a 20-16 lead. UNI would answer with a 4-0 run to tie the set at 20-20. However, Louisville would take a 24-22 lead and had two set points to force a fourth set. Louisville’s Amanda Green posted a service error to pull the Panthers to within one and then UNI tied it at 24-24 on a kill by Thomas. Louisville’s Jasmine Bennett gave the Cardinals a third set point at 25-24 on a kill. But UNI refused to give in and scored the final three points. Thomas got a kill to knot it at 25-25 and Taylor answered with another kill of her own to give UNI a match point. The Panthers won the match on a block by Heather Hook and Johnson.

UNI will take on Minnesota on Saturday at 8 p.m. The match will be televised live on the Big Ten Network.

NOTES: UNI will be looking for its fourth NCAA Sweet 16 appearance with a win in its next match … UNI moved to 26-2 when winning the first set … UNI also moved to 687-9 when leading a match, 2-0 … UNI set its single-season team attacks (5,192) and team digs (2,501) … Karlie Taylor set the single-season attack record for UNI with 1,320 (previous mark of 1,303 set by Bri Weber in 2015) … Weber now ranks second on the single-season attack chart with 1,311 this season … UNI head coach Bobbi Petersen improves to 10-12 in the NCAA Tournament

Courtesy of Louisville Athletics

Outside hitter Amanda Green had nine kills and two aces but it was not enough as the University of Louisville volleyball team fell 25-21, 25-15, 27-25 to the University of Northern Iowa Friday evening in NCAA first round action in Minneapolis.

“UNI was a tough draw and we knew that coming in here,” said UofL head coach Dani Busboom Kelly. “They are a group that competes really hard and they showed us what kind of competitors they were tonight.  Hats off to them as they played a great, great match. We had an awesome year and we are so proud of what we accomplished as a group. It always ends too early but that doesn’t take away from what we have done this season.”

ACC Champion Louisville, which finishes its season at 24-7, hit .159 as a team with eight blocks and two aces.  UofL, in its 26th NCAA appearance, got eight kills each from juniors Jasmine Bennett and Melanie McHenry. Senior Maggie DeJong had six blocks and six kills with setter Wilma Rivera adding 32 assists and nine digs.  UNI hit .267 with eight blocks and an ace and improves its record to 27-8.  The Panthers were led by Piper Thomas’ 17 kills and 15 digs.  UNI will advance and play the winner of the North Dakota/Minnesota match later this evening, on the campus of the University of Minnesota.

“Obviously, very exciting to be able to get a win against a very tough Louisville team, top of the ACC,” said Bobbi Petersen, UNI head coach.  “Just really proud of our kids and the effort that they put forth today. They do a lot of things that we don’t have the opportunity to see, they were really scrappy on the defensive side, and I thought our kids did a really good job taking the match one point at a time and being focused on the things we needed to do on our side. Give Louisville a lot of credit, what a great season for them. Dani is going to do amazing things there, she’s in her first year, and she’s incredible.”

In the first set, UofL fell behind 6-3 early before tying at 10 on a kill by Jasmine Bennett. Tess Clark had a kill to give the Cards their first lead at 11-10 which sparked a 5-1 Cardinal run.  After a UNI timeout, the Cards went up 17-12 on a kill by Amanda Green.  The Panthers went on an 11-1 run to go up 24-19 with UofL burning both timeouts trying to quell the momentum. The Cards staved off set point twice before falling 25-21.  UofL hit .220 with two blocks and an ace by Amanda Green.  UNI hit .263 with two blocks and no aces.

In the second set, UofL led 11-9 early on two straight kills from Tess Clark.  But a 9-1 run put the Cards deep in the hole at 19-12 and they had burned both timeouts.  Frigid Cardinal hitting of -.025 put any comeback hopes on ice. UofL scored on two Panther errors and a kill by Amanda Green but were outscored 6-1 down the stretch before falling 25-15.

In the third set, UofL fell behind 2-0 early before senior Maggie DeJong stepped up with a string of four kills and a block to put the Cards up 9-5. The Cardinals used another 4-0 run later to go up 19-15 on a kill by Amanda Green.  UNI exploded with a 4-0 run to tie at 20 on a Cardinal hitting error. UofL scored on a Panther miscue and on a kill by Melanie McHenry to go up 22-10. A block by McHenry and Jasmine Bennett put the Cards at 23-20 but a Cardinal service error and a kill by UNI’s Piper Thomas brought UNI to within one at 23-22.  Jasmine Bennett scored again to give the Cards set point at 24-22 but a service error by Amanda Green and a kill by Thomas knotted the score at 24.  Jasmine Bennett scored yet again to go up 25-24 but a kill by Karlie Taylor and an attack error by the Cardinals gave the set and match to UNI 27-25.

“UNI is a great team but we thought we had them in the third set but we came up a little short.  This is the best season I have ever been a part of because of this group of seniors,” said Melanie McHenry, UofL sophomore outside hitter. “Words can’t describe on how much we will miss them and how much they have meant to the team.  It will be so hard to lose them.  When they say we do it for the seniors, we really did because they are so precious to us.”

Courtesy of Minnesota Athletics

The seventh seeded University of Minnesota volleyball team defeated North Dakota in straight sets (25-20, 25-15, 25-21) to advance to the second round in the NCAA tournament. The Gophers improve to 27-5 overall.

The Gophers were led by Brittany McLean who set a career high 13 kills while hitting .355. Alexis Hart followed with 10 kills and hit .304 and Stephanie Samedy had nine. Molly Lohman tied her career high of three aces and Regan Pittmanled the team with four blocks. Samantha Seliger-Swenson posted a double-double with a team-high 20 digs and 30 assists while Dalianliz Rosado had 15 digs and a career high 11 assists. As a team, the Gophers hit .260 to North Dakota’s .140 and had 48 kills.

The Gophers are back in action tomorrow night as they take on Northern Iowa at 8 pm. The match will be televised on the Big Ten Network. Tickets are still available for purchase, please see link at the top of the article.

Set breakdown: Set 1: The Gophers earned a 25-20 win in the first set, paced by five kills from Samedy. Minnesota took a 14-11 lead off a kill from McLean. North Dakota cut Minnesota’s lead to 15-14 off an ace. The Gophers built a 19-16 off a North Dakota attack error as UND called its first timeout. The Fighting Hawks burned their second timeout of the set Samedy kill and a 21-17 lead. After back-to-back aces by Lohman and a Samedy kill, Minnesota was at set point. After UND added back-to-back points, Minnesota finished off the set with a kill and a 1-0 lead.

Set 2: The Gophers hit .344 in the second set and limited UND to hit just .033 to take the second set, 25-15. Minnesota jumped out to a 6-2 lead off a McLean kill. Hart later pushed the Gophers to an 11-7 lead off a kill as North Dakota called a timeout. Lohman added a kill off a quick set for a 15-10 lead, while a Samedy/Pittman added a block at 17-10 as North Dakota called its second timeout. Minnesota later took a 20-11 lead off a North Dakota attack error, while a McLean kill pushed the score to 22-13. The Gophers had back-to-back kills by Lohman to take a 2-0 lead.

Set 3: North Dakota took an early 8-4 lead as Minnesota called a timeout. The Gophers responded out of the timeout and later tied the set at 10-10 off a North Dakota ball handling error. The Fighting Hawks called a timeout after a Lauren Barnes ace and a 16-14 Gophers lead. As UND cut the Gopher lead to one, Lohman delivered a kill for a 19-17 lead. North Dakota called a timeout as the Gophers lead, 20-18. McLean held her 13th kill of the night for match point, while Pittman gave the Gophers the win after her seventh kill of the night.

Post Match Quotes
Hugh McCutcheon, Minnesota Head Coach

“Very happy to be advancing in the tournament. I thought there were some good things from us tonight. Certainly, we knew that North Dakota were good and were going to play hard. We get to see them a lot especially at this time of the year. I thought in particular we were serving at a nice level. We got some good side out rhythm but just defensively we made some good adjustments. Good to win and keep moving on.”

On Brittany McLean‘s additional playing time…
“She’s earned it (playing time). Every practice we keep track of performance and our gym is a meritocracy and girls who are playing at the level to get the job get to earn it. That doesn’t mean that people have short hooks or anything. It just means that, Brittany over time, over the last six weeks is playing really good volleyball. She came in last weekend and did a really nice job. We felt very comfortable setting her tonight, no question.”

On what McLean brings to the lineup…
“As you can see tonight, just from her line she’s very steady offensively. She hits it in a lot and works the ball with extreme range and is good on first contact. She also does a nice job blocking up there. It’s really nice, for me personally, after spending a couple years with her to see her grow and evolve and take on this job and have such a nice performance tonight.”

On start of match and possible nerves…
“I think we were just working through it. Both teams at the beginning of matches are trying to get a feel for what they’re trying to do to us and what we’re trying to do to them. We were just trying to figure out what our plan should be and make adjustments accordingly. From my end, at no point did we feel like we were out of control or something was going wrong. Just a couple of two good teams going at it.”

No. 19 Alexis Hart
On a young team keeping composure…
“We were really energetic. We had a lot of connection with each other. As the game progressed we took a breath and slowed the game down.”

On straight set victory…
“It’s always nice. Every team we play is going to battle against us. It’s nice to get that win.”

No. 13 Molly Lohman
On calming nerves of a young team…
“We frame it going point to point each match. The power in the breath and talking to the younger the girls. This game is no different than any other and each point is worth the same. We frame it in that way, giving them support, and remind them to take a breath.”

Courtesy of North Dakota Athletics

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.–   For the second straight season, host Minnesota had to survive an upset-minded North Dakota team in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. This season, the seventh-seeded Gophers advanced with a 25-20, 25-15, 25-20 win Friday evening at the Joel Maturi Sports Pavilion in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

North Dakota (30-8) was led by Jordan Vail with nine kills while Ashley Brueggeman added eight. Faith Dooley added four kills and seven blocks while Tamara Merseli chipped in four kills and led the defense with 10 digs.

“I’m really proud of the growth that we’ve experienced, especially this year,” UND head coach Mark Pryor said. “We were back again to play Minnesota. I think that the vibe was different this time around, as far as, not just happy to be here, but let’s compete. And, if you look at it, for us to out-block; to double Minnesota in blocks, and we have the same number of hitting errors, we’re trending in the right direction to be able to play against these teams. They were able to, in the first and third sets it was very close, and we’re really moving in a great direction, we’ve just got to be able to do a little more once we kind of get into that 19-20 range, they were able to hold on a little bit, and we honestly, at times, were thinking, we can actually do this, and that’s a great feeling, but sometimes that emotion got away from us a little bit in those sets.”

The first set was back-and-forth until the midway point of the frame. Minnesota sneaked ahead 15-12 at the media timeout and eventually had set point at 24-17, but UND did not go quietly. From that point, UND got a block, a service ace and forced an error before the Gophers were finally able to put it away, 25-20, to take the lead in the match.

The second set saw Minnesota lead from the get-go, turning a slim 7-6 edge into an 18-10 advantage as the Gophers close the frame with a 25-15 win.

In the third, though, it was North Dakota that charged out of the locker room with eight of the first 12 points. A Jordan Vail kill followed by back-to-back blocks by Faith Dooley and Julia Kaczorowska helped UND gain steam and forced Minnesota to burn an early stoppage at 8-4. Out of the timeout, Minnesota rallied with a quick 6-2 spurt to knot the score at 10-all. Later, a Brittany McLean kill gave the Gophers a 15-14 lead that they would not relinquish to take the set, 25-21, and the match.

Minnesota (27-5) will play Northern Iowa– who swept Louisville in the day’s earlier match– in the second round Saturday.

Notes: Five UND seniors played in their final matches of their careers (Faitih Dooley, Sydney GriffinJulia KaczorowskaTamara Merseli and Teodora Tepavac) … That group helped UND to its best four-year record in school history (103-40), three Big Sky North Division titles, two league tournament crowns and the school’s first two NCAA Division I Tournament berths … Minnesota– ranked No. 8 in the AVCA poll and the overall seven seed in the tournament– is aiming for its third straight Final Four appearance … UND’s 30 wins were the most in program history, breaking that mark by four wins.

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