Gophers head to Indiana

Minnesota will play four matches on the road starting on Wednesday.

Rachel Timmerman

The Gophers will leave the friendly confines of the Sports Pavilion, playing four consecutive road matches beginning Wednesday.

Minnesota has struggled on the road this season, amassing a 2-3 record.

But it will have an opportunity to turn that around, as it has seven of its remaining 10 games on the road.

“On the road, we’ve got into some trouble a couple of times,” head coach Hugh McCutcheon said.

In the Big Ten, McCutcheon said, teams need to be resilient on the road.

The Gophers won’t play another match at home until Nov. 12.

“I think these next couple weeks will be crucial,” sophomore outside hitter Sarah Wilhite said. “It’d be really nice to get a couple wins on the road.”

Despite losing home court advantage for the next four matches, Wilhite said the team is preparing as usual.

“I don’t think we’re really treating it differently than a home game,” she said. “We’ll scout, we’ll watch video — just kind of go through the same routine.”

As they travel for volleyball, the Gophers will have to plan ahead for school.

Wilhite said the coaches told the team to get a grasp on schoolwork because traveling for four consecutive matches will be demanding.

But sophomore middle blocker Hannah Tapp said road matches are also exciting.

Tapp said the road matches will help the Gophers learn how to generate the energy, regardless of whether it’s for or against them.

“It’s good to see when we’re on the road what energy we can create from ourselves,” Tapp said.

The midweek match against Indiana is just past the halfway point in conference play for Minnesota.

The Gophers dropped out of the AVCA coaches poll this week but received votes.

With a 4-6 record in the Big Ten, McCutcheon said there’s a sense of urgency on the team, but it is not panic.

“I think everyone just understands the magnitude of every competitive opportunity, and we’re trying to make the most of those [opportunities],” he said.

The team has learned from the first half of the season and will apply those lessons to the second half of conference play, McCutcheon said.

“Now that it’s halfway, we know that we have to get a couple more wins,” Wilhite said. “Getting some wins on the road will help a lot with the rest of the season.”

Tapp said the team is ready to see how it can measure up in the second half of the conference season.

“We’re just ready to see what the next half of Big Ten [play] brings, see what we can bring and how we can compete through the next half,” Tapp said.