Minnesota volleyball vs. TCU pregame notes

Bear with us as we continue to work out the bugs with the blog. But here we are once again, with guest analyst and former Gophers’ defensive specialist, Krista Chin, ready to report during the pregame, intermission, and at the end of the match. Before getting to Krista, we do have a few things to quickly mention. Freshman defensive specialist Jessica Granquist is wearing a brace on her right knee tonight, adding to the increasing number of sleeves, wraps and tape jobs we have been seeing so far this season. With the Big Ten season just a week away, it will be interesting to see if anyone gets a little bit of a break this weekend. One of the things Minnesota coach Mike Hebert said the team would need to improve on is blocking on the right side. At intermission we take a look at how they are doing in that area. But let’s get to Krista. Daily: Krista, I noticed you didnâÄôt dress up as a pirate tonight, on âÄúPirate Night.âÄù WhereâÄôs your costume? Krista Chin: Well Mark, when I volunteered to write this blog, I recall you mentioning I had to âÄúdress up,âÄù look professional, and not wear Minnesota clothing. I also remember you asking me, âÄúDid you ever see me wearing Minnesota apparel?âÄù So to answer your question, I think it was more appropriate of me to not wear pirate clothing. I have to admit, though, that the womenâÄôs swimming and diving team looks pretty intimidating in their pirate gear! Daily: Fair enough! Getting back to volleyball, this weekend is so much different than last weekend, with no nationally ranked teams on the schedule. After last weekend, how does Minnesota get excited for these matches? Chin: Minnesota is fully capable of getting excited for these matches. The team knows they cannot look past any opponent, after a rude awakening against Sacramento State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament during the 2007 season. Even though none of the teams in this tournament are ranked, it gives each and every one of the Gopher players a chance to hone their skills and work on things they may have struggled with thus far in the season. It will also give the Gopher fans an opportunity to see some players they have yet see play a good amount during this preseason run. Minnesota can use this tournament to really show the country it deserves its No. 8 ranking, despite the fact the Gophers are not competing against any ranked teams. Most importantly, this is a chance for the Gophers to work together, show off their chemistry, and make a statement that they can play well whether or not a team is ranked. Daily: During this last weekend before the Big Ten season, is Minnesota really concerned about these matches, or are they focused more on making final adjustments for the conference season? Or is it a little bit of both? Chin: As mentioned previously, Minnesota can’t overlook any team it runs into. Each of the teams this weekend has their own weapon that is fully capable of taking a match in her own hands and turning it in her favor. However, the Gophers will definitely use this tournament to make some adjustments before the conference season. Once preseason is complete, many teams have most of their kinks figured out and typically only need to make small adjustments for each team they will encounter for the remainder of the season. Every match played is an opportunity to improve, and that is exactly what Minnesota will look to do this weekend. STARTING LINEUP: DS Jessica Granquist MB Lauren Gibbemeyer MB Kelly Schmidt S Rachel Hartmann OH Pamela Luiz OH Kyla Roehrig