No. 4 Gophers host No. 13 Florida for home opener

MINNEAPOLIS– The No. 4-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) host the No. 13 Florida Gators on Sunday in their home opener at Maturi Pavilion. The first service is set for 12:30 p.m. CT on the Big Ten Network. The Gophers are coming off a four-set loss to No. 1 Texas while Florida lost a game Tuesday to No. 12 Stanford.

No. 4 Minnesota vs. No. 13 Florida | 12:30 p.m. CT | Big Ten Network
Sunday September 4
Maturi Pavilion
Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Reading by game: Connor Onion
Color Analyst: Emily Ehman
Radio: Gopher Radio Network

257 — Minnesota Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon holds a 257-66 (.800) collegiate practice record and has led Minnesota to two Big Ten championships, three Final Fours, nine trips to the Sweet 16 and five to the Elite Eight. He joins Mike Hebert (1996-2011; 381-136 (.737)) and Stephanie Schleuder (1982-1994; 263-173 (.603)) as the third coach in Minnesota history to win 250 games. Hebert also led the ‘U’ to three Final Fours.
26 – The 2021 season marked the 26th year the Golden Gophers have qualified for the NCAA Tournament. Minnesota has also qualified for the tournament in seven consecutive seasons and nine of 10 seasons under the head coach. Hugh McCutcheon.
19 – Of Minnesota’s 31 scheduled games are against teams in the 2021 NCAA Tournament. 12 of those games are against teams that have qualified for the Sweet 16 or higher.
16 – 16 of the Gophers’ 31 games are against teams that have finished in the AVCA Top-25. Seven of those games are against teams that finished in the top 10.
10 – Minnesota is 10-0 all-time in Big Ten home openers under the head coach Hugh McCutcheon. That mark will be put to the test when the “U” welcomes defending national champion Wisconsin to open its conference home roster.
7 — Of Minnesota’s eight non-conference games are against teams that participated in the 2021 NCAA Tournament. TCU is the only team that failed to qualify for the playoffs.
5 — Fifth Year Senior Libero CC McGraw ranks No. 5 all-time at Minnesota with 1,581 career digs. She is just 419 away from becoming the second Gopher and the 10th Big Ten player of all time to reach that mark.
3 — Gophers earned All-Big Ten honors last season. Five-time All-Big Ten first-team winner Stephanie Samedy leave, but CC McGraw (first team) and Jenna Wenaas (second team) return.
2 – Minnesota conference opponents play twice: Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin.
1 – Minnesota conference opponents play once: Indiana, Maryland, Nebraska Northwestern, Penn State, Rutgers.

• Minnesota started their 2022 season with a four-set victory over 16th-placed Baylor. After dropping the first set, 23-25, the then-ranked No. 5 Golden Gophers stormed back, winning the next three sets, 25-16, 25-23, 25-17, to win the match. Minnesota was led by juniors on the road Jenna Wenaaswho had 17 decisive wins in his first collegiate game in his home state of Texas. Taylor Landfair added 15 kills and six digs in first year Carter Booth added six kills and a team-high 11 blocks in his Minnesota debut.
• The Gophers followed that up with a convincing sweep of host TCU, 25-17, 25-20, 25-18, to claim the Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge crown. Wisconsin and Baylor both went 1-1 while TCU went 0-2. Outside Taylor Landfair posted 15 kills and eight digs while Jenna Wenaas added on seven kills, four digs and two blocks while Carter Booth also had seven kills and a pair of blocks.
• The Gophers lost to No.1 Texas in Austin on Wednesday night in four sets. The Gophers dropped sets one and two before Minnesota won set three and UT won set four. 19 service errors ended up making the Gophers. Taylor Landfair led the Gophers with 16 wins while Julia Hanson counted 14.

• The Gators are led by 32nd-year head coach Mary Wise. During her tenure, the Gators won 24 SEC championships, appeared in eight Final Fours, and she won SEC Coach of the Year 13 times. She has won the AVCA Coach of the Year award three times, most recently in 2017.
• After kicking off the 2022 season with a 3-0 record, the Gators moved up two places to 13th in this week’s AVCA Top-25 poll. The Gators lost a five-set thriller to No. 12 Stanford on Tuesday night.
• The Gators have lost five seniors at the end of the 2021 season: four-time All-American Thayer Hall, two-time All-American Lauren Forte and one-time All-Americans T’ara Ceasar and Marlie Monserez. Rising sophomore Merritt Beason returns as a UF standout, she has been named as an All-SEC preseason selection.

• Minnesota is 5-2 all-time against Florida.
• Last meeting: 2021; First meeting: 1984
• Minnesota lost in four sets to Florida last year in Gainesville. Stephanie Samedy led the ‘U’ with 31 wins.
• They last played in the NCAA Tournament in 2019 at the Sweet 16 in Austin, Texas. The Gophers won in five sets despite leading 2-1 after three.
• Minnesota also beat UF in the 2006 NCAA Tournament. The Gators’ only victory over the Gophers was in 2003, a home game in which Florida won in three sets.

• The #1 rookie overall for the Class of 2020, Taylor Landfair had a great freshman season in the spring of 2021. She ranked second on the Gophers in kills per set and made honorable mention first-team All-Big Ten and AVCA All-America.
• Last fall was not so fun for Landfair as she was out for most of the year (she only played nine games) with an abdominal injury.
• She’s back and better than ever in 2022, leading the ‘U’ in kills with 4.18 per set so far this year. She also averages 1.91 fetches and 0.73 blocks per set, playing all six rotations. Landfair was named the Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge MVP after leading all players in points and eliminations.

CC McGraw ranks #5 in Gophers history with 1,581 digs. Heading into her final season, CC is 419 less away from becoming the 10th player in B1G volleyball history to reach 2,000 in her career.
• In three of her four seasons, McGraw has ranked in Minnesota’s top 20 for most digs all season. In 2018 she had 428 (18th), 450 (16th) in 2019 and a career high 510 in 2021 (12th). She is the second Gopher to have three or more seasons with 400 or more digs.

• The Gophers ranked No. 7 in the Big Ten and No. 40 nationally in blocks with 289.5 as a team and 2.47 per set.
Ellie Husemann ranked seventh in the conference with 1.27 blocks per set in inbound transfers Naya Big (1.31) and Arica Davis (1.28) ranked fifth and sixth respectively. These three and freshman Carter Booth will look to form one of the deadliest blocks in the Big Ten this fall.
• So far in 2022, Minnesota ranks 7th in the Big Ten and 45th nationally with xx blocks per set. Carter Booth ranks No. 24 in the nation individually with 1.64 per set.

• The No. 14 rookie overall for the Class of 2022, middle blocker Carter Booth had an immediate impact in the Gophers range. In her first college game, she posted a Minnesota freshman record 11 blocks against Baylor.
• She has had several blocks in all three matches and leads the ‘U’ with 18 (1.64 ps) so far. She ranks No. 24 in the nation and No. 5 in the Big Ten in blocks per set.

• First-year student Julia Hanson (Prior Lake, Minn.) stepped up when Minnesota needed her the most at No. 1 Texas. In a hostile environment, Hanson had a career-high 14 kills as the Gophers pushed the Longhorns to the brink.
• They have suffered multiple kills in all three games so far, but Wednesday was their first double-digit game.

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