Minnesota vs. Iowa State NCAA volleyball second round pregame

Mark Heise

 I’m not sure what was more interesting about warmups tonight; watching sophomore Victoria Henson warm up as she prepared to attempt carrying her team for another NCAA tournament win, or the Minnesota pep band reacting negatively behind me when Iowa State’s band started playing one of the songs that frequents the Sports Pavilion when Minnesota is in town.


Either way, the night has already had some surprises. Maybe the most notable is sophomore outside hitter Brook Dieter dressed and warming up for the first time since her ankle sprain against Michigan.


Dieter even participated in hitting drills, taking a weak first swing before sending the next two down with authority. Dieter isn’t getting her usual height with the jumps, nor is she going full steam, but it appears that, if needed, she will be ready to take the floor tonight.


It’s the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and win or loss, the last match to be played at the Sports Pavilion this season. The Gophers made it look easy last night against North Dakota State, sweeping the Bison, while Iowa State struggled early before finishing off Northern Iowa in a four-set match.


Victoria Henson led the way for the Cyclones in the opening round, collecting 25 kills and decimating the Panthers’ right side blocking. Tonight however, she will likely face Kyla Roehrig and Lauren Gibbemeyer  on the right side, a bigger tandem.


For the Gophers last night, Roehrig and Gibbemeyer provided steady offense with the help of senior outside hitter Kate Vatterrodt. Roehrig has collected at least ten kills in each of the five matches since Dieter left with an injury, and Vatterrodt has been one of the big parts filling Dieter’s shoes on the left side.