Minnesota volleyball drops to lowest ranking in a year

by Charlie Armitz

The Gophers volleyball team dropped three spots to No. 19 in Monday’s American Volleyball Coaches Association Poll after sweeping unranked Michigan State and being swept by No. 24 Michigan at home this past week.

Minnesota has not been ranked this low since Nov. 15, 2010, when it was also ranked No. 19. The lowest the Gophers have been ranked this year is No. 16, their ranking for last week.

The Gophers (15-10, 8-8 Big Ten) have yet to win more than three consecutive matches in the Big Ten this season, and they have posted a 3-7 record against ranked conference opponents. They were favored to defeat Michigan on Sunday, but lost to the Wolverines at home for the first time since 1997.

Next up for Minnesota is a road match against No. 4 Nebraska, which dropped two spots in the poll after being swept by Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind. The Huskers, who lead the Big Ten with a 14-2 conference record, defeated the Gophers in five sets after trailing 2-0 at Williams Arena on Oct. 15.

Michigan, which lost to unranked Wisconsin on Friday, moved up one spot to No. 23.

Illinois (7th), Purdue (8th), Penn State (12th) and Ohio State (25th) round out the ranked Big Ten teams.

The Illini and Boilermakers were two of eight teams to receive at least one first-place vote.