Big Ten Snapshots: A SSS-Less Minnesota

In the world of NCAA women’s volleyball, there’s no conference quite like the Big Ten. Heading into the 2019 season, seven of the 14 teams appeared in the AVCA preseason top-25 poll. Five of those seven ranked in the top 10. 

FloVolleyball will be your go-to spot to stream Big Ten matches this season. Click here for the schedule of matches.

*Schedule is subject to change. Every Big Ten's women's volleyball match available on BTN Plus also will be available live and on-demand on FloVolleyball. 

This week, we're bringing you a quick rundown of all 14 teams in the Big Ten, so you can know what to expect as teams get the season rolling this weekend.

Minnesota Gophers

2018 Record: 27-4 (19-1 Big Ten)

2018 Postseason: NCAA Tournament Round of 16

AVCA National Preseason Ranking: 3

Big Ten Preseason Ranking: 3

Depending on whom you ask, Minnesota is predicted to be either the second- or third-best team in the Big Ten this fall. The AVCA preseason poll ranked the Gophers No. 3 overall, trailing only Big Ten rival Nebraska and No. 1 Stanford. The Big Ten coaches, however, also put Minnesota third, behind Wisconsin and the Huskers.

The uncertainty might stem from the graduation of four-year starting setter Samantha Seliger-Swenson. It’s the first time since 2015 that the Gophers are kicking off a season with a new setter in the lineup, and in the absence of an obvious successor among the players on the 2018 roster, head coach Hugh McCutcheon brought in UCLA transfer Kylie Miller to fill the gap this season before blue-chip setting recruit Melani Shaffmaster arrives in Minneapolis next year. Miller served as one of two setters in a 6-2 her freshman year at UCLA, played sparingly as a sophomore, and then ran a 5-1 for most of last season.

Minnesota narrowly missed playing in the Final Four at home in Minneapolis last year, and that disappointment should motivate 2019’s group of returners, which includes explosive pin hitters Alexis Hart, Adana Rollins, and Stephanie Samedy, starting middles Regan Pittman and Taylor Morgan, and libero CC McGraw. 

In addition to SSS, the Gophers will be without defensive specialist and server extraordinaire Lauren Barnes, who transferred to Wisconsin. Jasmyn Martin (Florida State), Sara Nielsen (Kansas), Alice Zeimann (Florida State beach), and Rebecca Rendahl (Fresno State) also made the decision to transfer during the offseason after not seeing much of the court for Minnesota in 2018.

McCutcheon’s 2019 recruiting class received honorable mention honors in the Volleyball Magazine recruiting class rankings, but with all starters except Seliger-Swenson returning, it seems unlikely any of the freshmen will crack the lineup. We might even see a couple of the newcomers redshirt the 2019 season.

Watch Minnesota in action this season on FloVolleyball. Upcoming matches below.

*Schedule subject to change. 

Sept. 7 Minnesota vs. Florida 8 PM ET

Sept. 13 Minnesota vs. Oregon 6 PM ET

Sept. 14 Minnesota vs. Stanford 5:30 PM ET

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