Age just a number for young team

The Gophers have five freshmen on the team and three upperclassmen.

Rachel Timmerman

Though the Gophers are an underclassmen-heavy team this season, they’re taking it in stride.

Of the 14 players on the roster, five of them are freshmen, and each of the young players saw action on the court last weekend.

Freshman middle blocker Molly Lohman made the lineup, leading the team with six block assists Friday.

Freshmen Dalianliz Rosado and Alyssa Goehner have played since the beginning of the season, and Goehner continues to start at libero.

Lohman said she’s seen the improvements in the freshman class since arriving at Minnesota.

“I played club with Alyssa, and she’s a completely different player than she was in club,” Lohman said.

Sophomore middle blocker Paige Tapp said the freshmen have done well in their short time playing in college.

“It’s great to see them come in and work hard with us,” she said.

Head coach Hugh McCutcheon said the younger players have grown physically and mentally.

“Trying to learn how to play the game is also about how to control yourself, your emotions and actions,” he said. “That’s not something you learn in a few weeks. It’s a process that happens as you mature as a person.”

Lohman and Goehner said they think they’ve matured mentally and with their volleyball play.

But Lohman said maintaining mental toughness, like the game requires, was a challenge for her coming into college volleyball.

Although the team is young, Lohman said age or class doesn’t define the team, and Tapp said the team has a strong relationship with the whole freshman class.

The Gophers head into a border battle match Wednesday against No. 5 Wisconsin, which boasts an experienced team that lost in the national championship game last season.

Goehner said despite the Gophers’ age — 11 of the team members are underclassmen — the team is experienced, and it is learning match by match.

“We are very young, but we’ve been winning,” Goehner said.