The Golden Gophers are fresh off a sweep of Penn State. The victory allowed them to jump past the Nittany Lions in the AVCA Coaches Poll this week. They are now ranked third, trailing just Southern California and Washington University. The Gophers also received seven votes to be number one in the country this week.
Maryland lost in straight sets when these teams met in College Park early in October. Minnesota won the match 25-23, 25-16 and 25-19.
Similar to last time the two teams met, Maryland will focus on trying to stop Daly Santana. Santana, a two-time Big Ten Player of the Week this season, had 14 kills in the match against the Terps. The outside hitter had a lot of help in the victory over Penn State last weekend. Sarah Wilhite and Hannah Tapp had 12 and 10 kills respectively, while Santana added 11. Tapp was also named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week last week. The last Gopher to win that honor was her sister Paige, who did it earlier this season.
Minnesota ranks second in the conference in blocks and assists per set. Santana averages the most kills per set in the conference and the team is third in the conference in opponents service aces.
It will be interesting to see how Maryland's conference leading serving will impact the match. The Terps had five aces but 11 service errors last time the teams played, so it will be important they cut back on how many free points they give the Gophers.
WHO: Maryland @ No. 3 Minnesota
WHEN: Wednesday, November 18th. 7PM
WHERE: Minneapolis, Minnesota (University of Minnesota)
HOW TO FOLLOW: Live on BTN, live stats via gophersports.com, @TerpsVolleyball on Twitter
Penn State heads into play this week following their first straight set loss this season. The loss at Minnesota snapped what was a nine match winning streak that dated all the way back to October 16th.
Before squaring off with the Terps Saturday night they will face Michigan on Wednesday.
These two teams met on November 5th and the Nittany Lions took the match 3-1. Maryland won the opening set, but the then No. 1 team in the country went on to win the next three.
Aiyana Whitney had an outstanding night in the victory over the Terps. The Preseason All-Big Ten selection had 18 kills and hit .600 percent. She also had help from Haleigh Washington who added 12 kills.
Maryland had a very balanced attack in the match. Adreene' Elliott led the way with 16 kills, and Angel Gaskin and Liz Twilley had 11 and 10 respectively.
Penn State will be looking to reassure everyone that they're still the most dominant team in the country when they begin play this week. They will likely look to win by as large of a margin as possible, which means they will be a very difficult train to derail.
WHO: Maryland @ No. 4 Penn State
WHEN: Saturday, November 21st. 7PM
WHERE: State College, Pennsylvania (Penn State University)
HOW TO FOLLOW: Live stream on BTN+, live stats via gopsusports.com, @TerpsVolleyball on Twitter