Gophers volleyball to host Southeastern Louisiana in NCAA tournament
Minnesota is the No. 2 seed in its region and will play Friday at Maturi Pavilion.
ST. PAUL -- The University of Minnesota volleyball team was hopeful, heading into the final two matches of the regular season, that it’d have one final weekend at Maturi Pavilion. Two impressive road wins against top-10 teams helped seal the Gophers’ fate.
No. 9 Minnesota ousted No. 8 Ohio State 3-1 and swept No. 5 Nebraska to cap its regular season. And now, the Gophers have been rewarded for their efforts.
The Gophers (20-8, 15-5 Big Ten) received a No. 2 seed and will host Southeastern Louisiana (25-7) on Friday in their first NCAA tournament match. Should the Gophers advance, they would play the winner of Florida State, the seventh seed in the region, and Northern Iowa on Saturday at Maturi Pavilion.
The Gophers are in the same region of the bracket as Texas, the No. 1 overall team, which they lost to earlier in the season. The Buckeyes, who the Gophers beat this weekend, are the No. 3 seed in the region.
“I think we know what we need to do. I think it’s kind of more being able to shift to a different thing because it’s one and done,” setter Melani Shaffmaster said last week. “We know what we have to do. Preseason’s like, ‘Oh, let’s figure everything out.’ Big Ten’s like ‘let’s just play our best volleyball for as long as we can,’ and then postseason is like one and done, so I think we may be a little nervous but nerves are good. I mean I think we’re super excited.”
It’s the Gophers’ 27th trip to the NCAA tournament, having reached in all but one year of coach Hugh McCutcheon’s tenure at the U. McCutcheon has announced his plans to transition into a new role following this season.
“We’re playing good and I think our best is yet to come,” McCutcheon said last week. “I feel pretty positive about where we are and more importantly, where we’re going to go.”
No. 7 Florida St. vs. Northern Iowa, 4:30 p.m.
No. 2 Minnesota vs. SE Louisiana, 7 p.m.
First-round winners, 7 p.m.
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