Volleyball: Gophers’ 2013 schedule is easier than previous years’

by Charlie Armitz

The Gophers volleyball team will play an easier nonconference schedule in 2013 — coach Hugh McCutcheon's second with the team — than they've played in recent years.

Minnesota's schedule features four tournaments against weaker competition. Only two of its opponents finished in the top 25 of last season's final American Volleyball Coaches Association poll — No. 17 Louisville and No. 20 Kentucky. The Gophers ranked No. 8 in the poll.

Three of the four tournaments will be on the road. The Gophers will host Duke, Western Illinois and Ball State at the Diet Coke Classic on Sept. 6-7.

Minnesota had regularly played top-15 nonconference opponents during its last 15 years, most of which were coached by Mike Hebert.

Unlike previous years, the Gophers will not host a match at Williams Arena. Matches at the Barn typically drew close to 10,000 fans.