Minnesota volleyball vs. North Carolina, pregame notes

We’re nearing the start of the final match of non-conference play for Minnesota, and as we do, we once again have former Minnesota defensive specialist Krista Chin to weigh in on the match. Before we get into volleyball, Minnesota fans will be glad to know 1987 World Series MVP Frank Viola has returned to Minnesota, at least for the weekend. Viola attended the weekend tournament, and signed autographs for fans prior to tonight’s match. A big thanks goes out to Ben Flattum in the Athletic Communications department for allowing me to get my own autograph from the Twins’ great On to volleyball, we’re expecting to see a return of all the starters in the lineup tonight, as North Carolina is a team that is close to the same caliber as TCU. Senior setter Rachel Hartmann will be starting the match, and senior captain Kelly Schmidt, who sat for the entire match this afternoon, will return to her position at middle blocker. One last note, the Sports Pavilion is extremely warm tonight, one of the drawbacks of playing in an older building. Here’s Krista with the analysis. Daily: It’s hot here at the Sports Pavilion tonight, but with the humidity, the phrase “hot enough to fry an egg” really wouldn’t work. So complete the phrase; it’s hot enough to… Chin: ItâÄôs hot enough toâĦwell, I donâÄôt really know! It is quite hot in the Pavilion this evening, and sometimes that can make it a long evening for both the players and the spectators. MarkâĦlets try to stay focused here! Daily: I guess we should! Moving on, you missed the first match today, so you didnâÄôt get a chance to see Alex Blatt set. But looking at her statistics, she ended up collecting 13 digs in two-plus sets. What does this number generally mean? As a team, do you want your setter, who is supposed to get the second touch, digging the ball? Chin: Fortunately, I have seen Alex set at summer camps and in warm-ups. She is a very athletic setter with a lot of talent. Her hands are soft and her set location is fairly consistent for a freshman setter playing at this high a level. I was very pleased to see Alex finish with double-figure digs. I think that really adds to her athleticism and her ability to play with this competition. It seems she was not afraid to go after some balls and make a great play. Having her reach this number of digs only shows the Gopher fans what they have to look forward to in the future, after the graduation of Rachel Hartmann. In an ideal situation, you donâÄôt want your setter taking the first dig; however, there are times when you absolutely cannot help it. Last season, the Iowa Hawkeyes had an opposite hitter who was able to step in and set the quick attack to the middles. If a team has this extra option, than it is not such a bad situation to have your setter take that first ball. Because Minnesota does not have this ability at the moment, at least from what we have seen thus far, it becomes a better scenario to have your setter running the offense. Daily: Last match of the tournament, is there a fatigue factor at all here, especially considering this is the second match of the day? Chin: There will be a fatigue factor present. However I donâÄôt think weâÄôll see it from the women tonight. This is the last match of the preseason, and IâÄôm sure the coaching staff has had a talk with the team explaining that they need to go out on a good note in order to make a statement and start the Big Ten season well. It is always tough playing two matches in one day. But it was nice to see the starters resting a bit and get mentally and physically fresh for tonight. STARTING LINEUP DS Jessica Granquist MB Lauren Gibbemeyer MB Kelly Schmidt S Rachel Hartmann OH Pamela Luiz OH Kyla Roehrig L Christine Tan