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NCAA volleyball: Gophers prep for third meeting with Buckeyes

This is Minnesota’s 27th trip to the NCAA tournament and eighth year in a row to advance to the round of 16.

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The University of Minnesota volleyball team seems to be peaking at just the right time with the 2022 season on the line at the NCAA tournament this week in Austin, Texas.

Minnesota, ranked No. 8 nationally and seeded No. 2 in regional, takes on a familiar foe, Ohio State, in its round of 16 match at 11 a.m. Thursday. The match will be televised on ESPN2.

Led by Big Ten Player of the Year Taylor Landfair, the Gophers opened the NCAA tournament with a pair of 3-0 sweeps over Southeastern Louisiana and Northern Iowa last weekend at the Maturi Pavilion.

The Gophers (22-8) split two regular-season matches against the Buckeyes (21-9), who are No. 10 nationally and No. 3 in the regional tournament. Ohio State swept Minnesota in three sets in Minneapolis on Oct. 12 before the Gophers returned the favor, beating the Buckeyes in four sets in Columbus on Nov. 25.

After a fairly slow start this season, going 6-5, Minnesota has steadily improved its play and is riding a five-match winning streak entering Thursday’s match.

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No. 1 seed Texas plays No. 4 Marquette at 5 p.m. in the other round of 16 match at Gregory Gym.

The winner of Thursday’s matches meet at 5 p.m. Saturday with a trip to the Final Four on the line. That match will be televised on ESPNU.

MORE MINNESOTA GOPHERS COVERAGE:
The loss was the 2nd straight by a 35-point margin
Minnesota has lost 6 straight games, one behind the 7 consecutive defeats Richard Pitino’s last team at Minnesota suffered in February-March 2021.
The Gophers have lost two in a row and six of seven overall.
Center Trey Thompson broke his nose at Northwestern but plans to play Wednesday vs. Rutgers
And why shouldn’t she? Indiana brings a 20-1 record and No. 4 national ranking into Wednesday’s game at the Barn
The Gophers (9-12 overall, 2-8 Big Ten) led only once, 2-0, on a layup by Rose Micheaux in the game’s first 16 seconds.
After an 81-61 loss at Northwestern on Saturday, Minnesota is 1-9 in Big Ten play with 10 games remaining
Junior wing who led Minnesota in scoring last season has struggled offensively at times this season
With two more players unavailable Wednesday, the Gophers had roughly half that roster max against Indiana at Williams Arena.
Minnesota is the worst free-throw shooting team in the nation, making a woeful 59.3% this year to rank 352 out of 352 Division I programs.

The Gophers have dominated the Buckeyes in coach Hugh McCutcheon’s 11 years as head coach, winning 16 of 18 matches. Minnesota won 11 in a row until Ohio State ended that streak with its Oct. 12 victory.

This is the second time these teams have met in the NCAA tournament. In 2004, the Gophers won a five-set thriller in the regional final to advance to the Final Four.

This is Minnesota’s 27th trip to the NCAA tournament and eighth year in a row to advance to the round of 16.

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Related Topics: COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL
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