Minnesota wins Diet Coke Classic in first home matches

Freshman Stephanie Samedy won the tournament’s most valuable player award.

by Max Biegert

The Gophers did not concede a set in their first three matches of the season at the Maturi Pavilion. 

No. 2 Minnesota (5-0) took care of West Virginia, University of Texas, San Antonio and Tennessee in a clean sweep of three sets over the weekend in the Diet Coke Classic at the newly named facility.

“The team was very consistent in terms of their energy and the way they managed the game,” said head coach Hugh McCutcheon.

Minnesota swept its final opponent, Tennessee, to win the Diet Coke Classic on Saturday.

In her first home matches of her collegiate career, freshman Stephanie Samedy won the tournament’s most valuable player award. Samedy had 43 kills in the tournament, averaging 4.78 kills per set.

In the team’s final match, Samedy had 17 kills. Redshirt freshman Regan Pittman was close behind with 15 kills.

Junior Samantha Seliger-Swenson had a season-high 49 assists against the Volunteers.

“We had really good passing, and if we didn’t, we were able to figure it out and I was able to distribute to all our hitters really well,” Seliger-Swenson said.

Gophers earn second sweep

Minnesota’s second match came against UTSA Saturday afternoon. The Gophers shut out their opponent once again, earning the 3-0 victory.

Samedy had a double-double, earning 11 kills and 11 digs in the winning performance. Minnesota had 41 kills to UTSA’s 31. 

Seliger-Swenson couldn’t top her first-game assist totals, but she still managed to tally a game-high 36 for her team.

Libero Dalianliz Rosado had 10 digs, and added two aces.

Freshman Jasmyn Martin closed out the opening set for the Gophers with two straight kills.

Minnesota continued its runs late in sets, going on an 8-0 run against UTSA in the second set.

Freshman Sydney Kleinman earned her first collegiate kills in the 23rd point and match point to close out the third set and help earn the win.

Gophers win opener

The Gophers used a very well-balanced attack to beat West Virginia Friday night. Five players had seven or more kills, and Samedy led the team with 15 kills. 

“My teammates have my back, they let me know it’s okay to swing,” Samedy said after the first match. 

Taylor Morgan, Regan Pittman, Alexis Hart, Molly Lohman, and Samedy combined for 45 of 46 kills as they shared the wealth. Hart had seven of those kills. 

Seliger-Swenson, who was a first team All-American last season, assisted on 41 of those 46 kills. 

“Our offense is pretty balanced,” Hart said.  “It is really cool that we can run so many different types of sets with [Seliger-Swenson] being a really good setter.” 

Last year, the Gophers went 17-0 at home and look to build on that record again this year. 

“The crowd is awesome, they support us when we are down and keep going when we are up and always give us great energy,” Samedy said after the first match. 

Minnesota will play the University of Denver in its next match, coming in the Texas Tournament on Sept. 7.

“I like all of our pieces and look at different lineups and see how players evolve throughout the season,” McCutcheon said after the first match.