Gophers continue historic winning streak as they break two team records

No. 3 Minnesota extended their historic winning streak as the swept Purdue in the final home match of the season Saturday.

Samantha Seliger-Swenson sets the ball during the game against Indiana on Friday, Nov. 9 at Maturi Pavilion.

Image by Jack Rodgers

Samantha Seliger-Swenson sets the ball during the game against Indiana on Friday, Nov. 9 at Maturi Pavilion.

by David Mullen

The Gophers (22-2, 16-0 Big Ten) came into Saturday as the only Big Ten team left with an undefeated record in conference play.

They came out defeating No. 12 Purdue (21-6, 10-6 Big Ten), extending their winning streak to 17 and conference streak to 16, both school records. 

 “I think, for this team, the best is yet to come,” said head coach Hugh McCutcheon. 

McCutcheon was inducted into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame Saturday evening but opted out of the ceremony because he said he was where he needed to be. 

“The fact he stayed with us showed us how much he believes in us this year,” said outside hitter Alexis Hart.

Just like the football team, No. 3 Minnesota took care of business against the Boilermakers as they swept them in three sets: 25-10, 25-23 and 25-19 at Maturi Pavilion, and were led by opposite hitter Stephanie Samedy who had 10 kills along with seven digs.

In the opening set it was all about Minnesota. 

After Purdue scored the opening point, the Gophers converted six points in a row and took a 6-1 lead. Libero C.C. McGraw had two service aces during the run. 

The Gophers dominated the entire set and held Purdue to a -.125 hitting percentage as Minnesota won the opening set 25-10. 

Six separate Gophers players registered a kill in the opening set, which has been a common trend throughout the season. Hart, however, led the Gophers with four kills in the set. 

Momentum from the first set carried over for the Gophers as they took a quick 4-0 lead to start the second set. 

However, the Boilermakers were resilient and fought their way back into the match and took their first lead 12-11. Although Purdue continued to fight, it was not enough as the Gophers took the set 25-23 behind four kills by Samedy. 

The final set was back and forth from the first set as the Gophers would slightly lead 6-5. 

The two teams continued exchanging points until it was tied 18-18. The Gophers went on to take the final seven of eight points capping off the night with a sweep and finishing the regular season at home undefeated for the first time since 2016. 

The well-balanced offensive machine was led by setter Samantha Seliger-Swenson, who had 27 assists while distributing the ball to five hitters.

Although this Minnesota team is on the best winning streak in the school’s history and finished the regular season undefeated at home, McCutcheon said that these feats were not in mind at the start of the season. 

“The goal was to become the best we could be and combine that with the hope to win the conference and try to have a crack at the national championship,” McCutcheon said. “But going undefeated at home that’s great, we’ll take it.”

Going forward the goal for the Gopher volleyball team is to continue improving day-by-day a theme echoed by all of McCutcheon’s teams. 

“We still have so much to go, but we still have so much potential and we can keep developing and growing as a team,” Samedy said. 

No. 3 Minnesota will be on the road the next two weeks and will return to action Friday as they travel to College Park, Maryland to take on the Terrapins.