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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.

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The Minnesota Gophers rallied twice in their Saturday game with Michigan, but could not find overtime magic for the second night in a row, settling for a split of their weekend Big Ten series.

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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