Game Day: Penn State @ Minnesota

Lion Cubs - TwoGoldy Gopher Mascot










What: Penn State @ Minnesota

Where: Minneapolis, MN (Sports Pavilion)

When: Saturday — 11-16-13 (8:30 p.m. ET)

Media: TV: Big Ten Network;’s GameTracker

Beatrice_the_Honey_Bee_(7836716730)The Buzz on Minnesota: The AVCA #11-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers tuned up for tonight’s match against Penn State by sweeping Ohio State (25-19, 25-19 and 25-15).  It was an impressive performance against a good Ohio State team (we know they’re 4-11 in the B1G, and they have their weaknesses, but the Buckeyes are not pushovers).  Minnesota hit .336 (and limited Ohio State to a .175 attack %), almost doubled-up the Buckeyes in blocks, 9.5 to 5.0, and sided-out at 70% compared to Ohio State’s 50%.

Minnesota was led by 6-0 Sr. OH Ashley Wittman (13 kills, 15 digs, 3 blocks), 6-3 Jr. Opp Adrianna Nora (12 kills, 3 blocks, 4 digs), 6-3 Sr. MB Tori Dixon  (.643 attack %), 6-2 Fr. MB Hannah Tapp (6 blocks, 7 kills, .417 attack%), and Daly Santana (3 service aces, 5 kills, 14 digs). .

Beatrice_the_Honey_Bee_(7836716730) The Buzz on Penn State: Head Coach Russ Rose on Big Ten conference matches (interview with Wynton Jake Somerville of The Daily Collegian): “They’re all hard. There’s not one you look forward to. You better be ready to play because you’re going to be challenged.”

Notwithstanding Coach Rose’s view (which we share), some folks think Penn State has already established itself as the best team in the B1G — one that can pretty much “make a meal” of its opponents.  After last night’s match against Wisconsin, in which the Badgers pressed the Nittany Lions to the max in set 1 (which Penn State won 25-23 after leading 19-12) and set 2 (which Penn State managed to grind out a 27-25 win), no one should be harboring that kind of culinary fantasy.

Still, Penn State (23-2, 14-1 in the B1G ), did win the match 3-0.  6-2 So. OH Megan Courtney (15 kills, .400 attack %, 11 digs) was a difference-maker throughout the match, as were 5-11 Jr. setter Micha Hancock (32 assists, 12 digs, 2 service aces), and 6-6 Sr. MH Katie Slay (8 total blocks).  6-1 Sr. OH Deja McClendon totaled 8 kills and 15 digs, 6-2 Jr. MH Nia Grant registered 7 kills (.312 attack %), 6-4 Sr. Opp/RS Ariel Scott had 7 kills, 4 digs and 4 blocks, and 5-6 Jr. libero Dom Gonzalez totaled 9 digs.  Penn State won the block battle with 12 team blocks to only 4 for the Badgers.

And one could point to statistics that illustrate, at least on paper, how dominant the Nittany Lions have been since the 3-2 loss to Michigan State . Penn State is ranked #2 in the latest AVCA poll , it sports a 23-2 overall record (14-1 in the B1G), a .323 team hitting % prior to the Wisconsin match (1st in the B1G) and has limited its opponents to a .128 hitting % (also prior to the Wisconsin match, 1st in the B1G).

But Minesota has racked-up some impressive statistics of its own, and from a statistical perspective, there’s virtually no space between the two teams in so many areas.  Penn State’s .323 attack % was tops in the conference as of 11/10/13, but Minnesota was right behind at .287. Penn State had limited its opponents to a .128 attack % (best in the B1G), but Minnesota had held its opponents to a .1569attack % (3rd in the B1G).  Blocking is much the same story: Penn State is first in the B1G with 3.10 blocks/set; Minesota is 2nd at 2.82. The Nittany Lions have a bit of an edge in serving, ranking 2nd in the B1G with 1.42 aces/set (thank you Micha Hancock – leading the league with .71 aces/set), with Minnesota at 1.13 aces/set (6th in the B1G), but Daly Santana (.38 aces/set — 2nd in the B1G) and Tori Dixon can both bring it from behind the line.

We’re going with Penn State in five sets — and we think it will be a hard-fought five sets. 

Stat Joust

Joust - Two Knights

B1G Team Stats (as of 11/10/13)

Big Team Stats 11-10-13

B1G Individual Stats (as of 11/10/13)

B1G Individual Stats 11-10-13

Minnesota Roster

No.   Name Pos.   Ht.   Yr. Hometown (Last School)
12   Bohl, MorganClick here to hear it Outside Hitter   6-0   JR Centennial, Colo. (Eaglecrest HS)
18   De Felice, CleliaClick here to hear it Middle Blocker   6-2   SO Milan, Italy (Oregon)
6   Dixon, Tori Middle Blocker   6-3   SR Burnsville, Minn. (Burnsville HS)
2   Hauer, KarlieClick here to hear it Outside Hitter   5-11   SO Andover, Minn. (Andover HS)
20   Howard, Sydney Setter   5-11   SO Cedar Falls, Iowa (Cedar Falls)
9   Israel, KarynClick here to hear it Setter   6-0   SO Huntington Beach. Calif. (Edison HS)
14   Jack, Brittany Defensive Specialist   5-5   FR Sydney, Australia (Bridgeway Academy)
11   Lawmaster, Lindsey DS/Libero   5-5   SO Los Alamitos, Calif. (Los Alamitos HS)
10   Mau, KaleiClick here to hear it Outside Hitter   6-1   FR Kahaluu, Hawaii (Henry Kaiser)
16   Nora, AdriannaClick here to hear it Middle Blocker/Opposite   6-3   JR Stillwater, Minn. (Baylor)
21   Palmer, Alexandra Setter   5-7   SR Laguna Beach, Calif. (Santa Clara)
1   Santana, DalyClick here to hear it Outside Hitter   6-1   SO Corozal, Puerto Rico (Bayamon Military Academy)
3   Schau, Katie Setter   5-8   FR Richland, Mich. (Gull Lake HS)
7   Tapp, Hannah Middle Blocker   6-2   FR Stewartville, Minn. (Stewartville HS)
4   Tapp, Paige Middle Blocker   6-1   FR Stewartville, Minn. (Stewartville HS)
5   White, KalystaClick here to hear it DS/Libero   5-5   SO Laguna Beach, Calif. (Laguna Beach)
8   Wilhite, Sarah Outside Hitter   6-1   FR Eden Prairie, Minn. (Eden Prairie HS)
13   Wittman, Ashley Outside Hitter   6-0   SR Shakopee, Minn. (Shakopee HS)

Penn State 2013 Team Roster

NumberName PositionYear/ClassHeightHometownState/Nation
1Scott, Ariel

RS4/Sr.6-4RidgewoodNew Jersey
2Caraway, LaraDS2/So.5-4Evans CityPennsylvania
3Pierce, KendallDS2/So.5-6EdenNew York
4Gonzalez, DominiqueDS3/Jr.5-6San AntonioTexas
6Martin, MaddieOH4/Sr.6-2TampaFlorida
7Grant, NiaOH3/Jr.6-2WarrenOhio
8Denny, Erica
MH3/Jr. (RS)6-5CentennialColorado
9Prieto Cerame, PaulinaOH1/Fr. (RS)6-2MiamiFlorida
10Muller, CarleyDS1/Fr.5-7Manhattan BeachCalifornia
12Hancock, MichaS3/Jr.5-11EdmondOklahoma
13Krause, TaylorDS/S1/Fr.5-6AllentownPennsylvania
14Whitney, AiyanaOH2/So. (RS)6-5RidgewoodNew Jersey
15Harding, MaggieDS4/Sr.5-6State CollegePennsylvania
16Slay, Katie
MH4/Sr.6-6RaleighNorth Carolina
17Courtney, Megan
18McClendon, Deja

23Robertson, KellyMB1/Fr.6-0AllentownPennsylvania
24Broerman, LauraDS1/Fr.5-4Colorado Springs Colorado
33Fuller, LaceyDS3/Jr.5-6San DiegoCalifornia

Stat Joust