volleyball-women-d1 flag

Rachel Blount | The Star Tribune | November 30, 2015

Gophers grab No. 2 overall seed for NCAA volleyball tournament

  Hugh McCutcheon guided Minnesota to its highest seed in tournament history.

Throughout the regular season, Gophers coach Hugh McCutcheon never paused to reflect on the significance of what his team was accomplishing. Sunday evening -- when it added another milestone to a remarkable season -- he gave himself a moment to celebrate before looking ahead.

The Gophers received the No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA tournament, the highest in their history, and will open the tournament Friday against Jackson State (15-21) in a first-round match at the Sports Pavilion on Minnesota's campus. They are the top seed in the Des Moines region, which also includes No. 7 seed Penn State, No. 10 Texas A&M and No. 15 Louisville.

The announcement of their place in the 64-team field set off cheers at a viewing party at Williams Arena, where the players sported their new Big Ten championship caps. The Gophers (26-4) locked up their first Big Ten title since 2002 on Saturday, and their second in program history, with a victory at Indiana to close the regular season.

"The word I used yesterday was 'surreal,' " said McCutcheon, whose team finished 18-2 in the Big Ten to earn the best league mark in its history. "There were so many great matches, so many unbelievable performances.

"When the dust settles, when we're all done with 2015, I think we can all step away from this year with a great deal of pride and satisfaction. That being said, we're not done yet."

Bracket: Interactive | Printable

USC earned the No. 1 seed in the tournament, with Texas No. 3 and Nebraska No. 4. Nine Big Ten teams made the field. Wisconsin (No. 6) and Ohio State (No. 12) also are seeded in the top 16, and Illinois, Purdue, Michigan State and Michigan earned berths in the tournament as well. The Gophers' 3-1 victory at Indiana gave them the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament as well as the conference title. They have lost only once in their past 18 matches, a run that included a school-record 15-match win streak in Big Ten play.

They are 13-0 at the Sports Pavilion this season.

Jackson State earned its berth in the tournament by winning the SWAC tournament championship Sunday. The Tigers began the season 0-18, winning only six sets in those matches, but are 15-3 since then.

"It's been amazing," Gophers senior outside hitter Daly Santana said. "We didn't just put in hard work this season.

"It took a lot of hard work during a long period of time. This is a nice reward, but we're also focused on what we want to do from now on.

"I think our best is yet to come. We keep getting better every day."

This article was written by Rachel Blount from Star Tribune and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Andy Katz shares his top 11 candidates for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar award

The Kareem Abdul-Jabbar award is given annually to the top center in men's college basketball. Andy Katz breaks down his picks for the top 25 candidates.

NCAA softball: Key moments from Washington's win over Minnesota in the Women's College World Series

Gabbie Plain fanned 10 batters in 6.2 innings of work and the Huskies outlasted the No. 7 Minnesota Gophers, winning 5-3.

The 5 lessons learned from Day 1 of the Women's College World Series

The first taste of victory in Oklahoma City is sweet, and for four teams — Arizona, UCLA, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma — the accomplishment of winning their opening game in the 2019 Women’s College World Series earned them the opportunity to stay alive in the championship bracket. Here are the five biggest lessons we learned from watching the opening games in this year’s Women’s College World Series. 

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners