MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Golden Gophers, ranked 13th in the nation, are preparing to host their first Big Ten home games of the 2023 season this weekend. They will face off against Michigan and the 15th-ranked Penn State. The match against Michigan will be streamed on B1G+ on Friday, while Saturday’s game against Penn State will be televised on BTN.
The Michigan game will take place on Friday, September 29th at 6 p.m. CT at Maturi Pavilion in Minneapolis. The game can be watched on B1G+ and will feature Emma Carpenter as the play-by-play commentator and Meredith Nelson-Uram as the analyst. Live stats will also be available.
The game against Penn State will be held on Saturday, September 30th at 8 p.m. CT at Maturi Pavilion. It will be televised on BTN, with Sloane Martin as the play-by-play commentator and Emily Ehman as the analyst. Live stats will be provided as well.
Fans attending the games should be aware that the University of Minnesota Homecoming Parade will be taking place on Friday, September 29th at 6:30 p.m. As a result, University Avenue will be closed from 6:15-8 p.m. It is recommended that fans park in the Fourth Street Ramp, Lot 58, or other surrounding area lots.
Here are some important notes to know about the Minnesota Golden Gophers:
– Keegan Cook, the head coach, recently won his 200th career game as a head coach on August 26th against Baylor. His 203rd win came last Thursday at Iowa.
– The Gophers have faced seven top-15 ranked teams in their first 10 matches, including five top-10 teams.
– Minnesota is currently ranked 13th in the AVCA poll. They started the season at seventh and reached as high as fifth after the first week.
– Mckenna Wucherer, a sophomore outside, leads the team and ranks 11th in the Big Ten with 3.35 kills per set.
– Minnesota has won 10 of their last 11 games against Michigan.
– Melani Shaffmaster ranks 8th all-time in Minnesota history with 3,365 career assists.
– After playing seven ranked opponents in their first 10 matches, Minnesota will have a stretch of eight games where they will only face one ranked opponent.
– In conference games, Minnesota ranks fourth in the league in hitting percentage, assists per set, and opponent kills.
– Minnesota has the third hardest strength of schedule in the nation so far, with their opponents having a combined record of 83-27.
– Fifth-year libero Kylie Murr ranks third in the Big Ten in digs per set.
– Melani Shaffmaster ranks third in the Big Ten with 9.75 assists per set against Big Ten teams.
– The Gophers have a 2-5 record against ranked opponents this season.
– Middle Phoebe Awoleye ranked No. 1 in the nation in blocks per set after the first weekend and currently ranks No. 2 in the Big Ten.
In their last game, the Gophers lost to the second-ranked Nebraska in three sets. Mckenna Wucherer had 11 kills, Kylie Murr had 11 digs, and Phoebe Awoleye had seven blocks.
Heading into Big Ten play, the Gophers have four losses in the preseason, which is the first time since 2006. However, the 2006 team finished with a strong record and made it to the Elite Eight.
Michigan, led by first-year head coach Erin Virtue, has two wins so far this season. Senior opposite Kendall Murray leads the team in kills per set, while Lydia Johnson leads in aces per set.
Penn State, led by second-year head coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley, has a 1-3 record against ranked opponents. They are led by Michigan transfer Jess Mruzik and OSU transfer Mac Podraza.
Minnesota has a strong history against both Michigan and Penn State. They have a 61-16 all-time record against Michigan, winning 10 of the last 11 games. Against Penn State, they have a 15-46 all-time record, but have won seven of the past 12 matchups.
The Gophers have a strong track record in Big Ten competition. Since 2012, they have a 162-48 record in Big Ten play and have consistently finished with a winning record. They have won Big Ten titles in 2016 and 2018.
Lydia Grote, a transfer from California, has been a key player for the Gophers this season. She ranks second on the team in kills per set.
Overall, the Minnesota Golden Gophers are looking to continue their success as they enter Big Ten play and face tough opponents like Michigan and Penn State.