Gopher Volleyball 2021 - Spring Season

MRJ

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Wasn't sure if McCutcheon was looking to add another setter. Guess this answers that question.

Wouldn't be at all surprised if Atherton and Shaffmaster split time at setter. I know Hugh prefers a 5-1 rotation offensively, but maybe he'll also run a few 6-2's during the season.

Anyway, it's never a bad thing to get more good players into the fold and Atherton is certainly one of those. Also helps address the one spot on the team that was something in question heading into 2020.

Now just gotta figure out COVID-19...
 

MplsGopher

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Why did we need another setter, with Shaff coming in to replace Kylie as the starter? Was McMenimen leaving? She probably will now. She deserves the opportunity to start somewhere, she is a fine setter.

We did all kinds of crazy things last year. In the end, the proven most effective was to stick with the 5-1. If Shaff is going to be the starter, I hope McC sticks with her early on, through the lumps of the learning curve, so that we're firing on all cylinders for Big Ten season.
 

MRJ

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Why did we need another setter, with Shaff coming in to replace Kylie as the starter? Was McMenimen leaving? She probably will now. She deserves the opportunity to start somewhere, she is a fine setter.

We did all kinds of crazy things last year. In the end, the proven most effective was to stick with the 5-1. If Shaff is going to be the starter, I hope McC sticks with her early on, through the lumps of the learning curve, so that we're firing on all cylinders for Big Ten season.
Not sure it was a case of needing another setter as much as it never hurts to have as many quality setters around as possible.

When Miller went down last year, the team had some really poor performances while trying to figure out the setter spot. Before Miller returned, it pretty much became a setter-by-committee approach to running the offense due to the struggles.

If nothing else, her experience will help Shaffmaster adapt to the college game. And if there is another injury (like last year), the team will have added depth at the setter spot and likely won't have the same instability at the setter spot that was apparent at times last year.

I see nothing wrong with this move.
 

MplsGopher

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Not sure it was a case of needing another setter as much as it never hurts to have as many quality setters around as possible.

When Miller went down last year, the team had some really poor performances while trying to figure out the setter spot. Before Miller returned, it pretty much became a setter-by-committee approach to running the offense due to the struggles.

If nothing else, her experience will help Shaffmaster adapt to the college game. And if there is another injury (like last year), the team will have added depth at the setter spot and likely won't have the same instability at the setter spot that was apparent at times last year.

I see nothing wrong with this move.
Ok, that works for me. I didn't say it was a wrong move, I genuinely asked the question why. To which you gave an ample answer.
 
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MplsGopher

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I guess the continued "new normal" for the Gophers, being a solid top 5 national program going forward, is that every year we're going to have very talented grad transfers who "want in" for their last season, from lower programs.
 

MRJ

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I guess the continued "new normal" for the Gophers, being a solid top 5 national program going forward, is that every year we're going to have very talented grad transfers who "want in" for their last season, from lower programs.
To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure how I feel about the transfer situation.

The last thing I want to start happening is for unscrupulous coaches and representatives of college programs starting to "recruiting" players on other teams. As it stands, the NCAA has anti-tampering legislation which specifically addresses this very issue.

Nevertheless, I could definitely see it start happening if it isn't already.
 

MplsGopher

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To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure how I feel about the transfer situation.

The last thing I want to start happening is for unscrupulous coaches and representatives of college programs starting to "recruiting" players on other teams. As it stands, the NCAA has anti-tampering legislation which specifically addresses this very issue.

Nevertheless, I could definitely see it start happening if it isn't already.
Won’t ever be able to tie it directly back to the program, unless it’s done stupidly, but it’s quite easy to use intermediary people to get messages out and in, or at the least in from prospective grad transfers who want to know if they’d be taken in.
 

rowdaboat

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How's the rotation going to play out? Seems like with #1 recruiting class and 2 new transfers there won't be enough points to go around unless there's a few redshirts or more people leaving, didn't think that many key pieces graduated
 

MplsGopher

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How's the rotation going to play out? Seems like with #1 recruiting class and 2 new transfers there won't be enough points to go around unless there's a few redshirts or more people leaving, didn't think that many key pieces graduated
I would expect Pittman, Samedy, and CC to be starters, but for there to be an open competition at the rest of the spots. Rollins is not an automatic starter, in my opinion.
 

Hrothgar

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How's the rotation going to play out? Seems like with #1 recruiting class and 2 new transfers there won't be enough points to go around unless there's a few redshirts or more people leaving, didn't think that many key pieces graduated
Interesting point. It seems a 3-pronged deal. 1. An embarrassment of riches. Or 2) no riches at all. Or 3) just the right number of riches. The Gophers clearly don't have 2). Here's hoping the coaches can weld 1) & 3) into a well-oiled machine.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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...If nothing else, her experience will help Shaffmaster adapt to the college game. And if there is another injury (like last year), the team will have added depth at the setter spot and likely won't have the same instability at the setter spot that was apparent at times last year.

I see nothing wrong with this move.
This is just one opinion but I believe Shaffmaster has the highest upside of any 2020 Freshman in the nation. A skilled, 6-3 setter could be just a nightmare for our opponents for four years. She could just provide so many options for the defensive side of our team’s capabilities.

It is not like she is a raw talent but rather she has been at the highest end of teenage volleyball, playing in the most competitive games with her highly recruited peers, for years.

All that said, I sure hope Shaffmaster is given quite a bit of rope considering her upside. I fully understand also that with this extreme upside, she also has a downside possibility if she just cannot keep pace with the college game, especially the McCutchen gameplan for team speed. But I hope she gets every shot at holding that regular setter role on the team.
 

MplsGopher

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I have no idea what he spiking skill is like, but maybe she could RS if she can’t keep up with the speed?
 

MRJ

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This is just one opinion but I believe Shaffmaster has the highest upside of any 2020 Freshman in the nation. A skilled, 6-3 setter could be just a nightmare for our opponents for four years. She could just provide so many options for the defensive side of our team’s capabilities.

It is not like she is a raw talent but rather she has been at the highest end of teenage volleyball, playing in the most competitive games with her highly recruited peers, for years.

All that said, I sure hope Shaffmaster is given quite a bit of rope considering her upside. I fully understand also that with this extreme upside, she also has a downside possibility if she just cannot keep pace with the college game, especially the McCutchen gameplan for team speed. But I hope she gets every shot at holding that regular setter role on the team.
It should also be noted that Shaffmaster played some outside hitter in high school and there are those that believe she's an even better outside than setter.

Take that for what it's worth (admittedly, not much), but she's considered extremely versatile and at 6-3, she's certainly the tallest setter the U has had since I can't remember.

One thing is for sure, when you have a 6-3 Shaffmaster, a 6-5 Taylor Landfair, a 6-5 Regan Pittman,and a 6-2 Katie Myers to go along with a 6-2 Stephanie Samedy, you've got a pretty darn tall front line which will help with blocking.

Adding Atherton also opens up the possibility of moving Shaffmaster to the outside if necessary, although I doubt that'll happen with Rollins, Landfair, Jenna Wenaas and possibly Airi Miyabe in that spot.

Still, it's another possibility, as is the chance at running a 6-2 if that's what Hugh elects to do.

At this point, it's all conjecture. The bottom line is that with Atherton now in the fold, there is quality talent everywhere as as well depth throughout the roster.

Could and probably should shape up to be a fun 2020.
 

MplsGopher

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It should also be noted that Shaffmaster played some outside hitter in high school and there are those that believe she's an even better outside than setter.

Take that for what it's worth (admittedly, not much), but she's considered extremely versatile and at 6-3, she's certainly the tallest setter the U has had since I can't remember.

One thing is for sure, when you have a 6-3 Shaffmaster, a 6-5 Taylor Landfair, a 6-5 Regan Pittman,and a 6-2 Katie Myers to go along with a 6-2 Stephanie Samedy, you've got a pretty darn tall front line which will help with blocking.

Adding Atherton also opens up the possibility of moving Shaffmaster to the outside if necessary, although I doubt that'll happen with Rollins, Landfair, Jenna Wenaas and possibly Airi Miyabe in that spot.

Still, it's another possibility, as is the chance at running a 6-2 if that's what Hugh elects to do.


At this point, it's all conjecture. The bottom line is that with Atherton now in the fold, there is quality talent everywhere as as well depth throughout the roster.

Could and probably should shape up to be a fun 2020.
I'm interested if Wenaas can win the other starting OH spot, and if so would either or both need DS? Rollins to me has always been inconsistent, especially in the backrow last year. She scores points, but have also never really been impressed by her hitting. Maybe she is a great technical hitter, but she doesn't seem to be a prototypical "terminal" hitter.

6-2 - only with a double-sub, which I assume is what you meant. Obviously we wouldn't have Samedy on the bench. Miyabe got some nice game reps at RS on the net last year, when Miller was out. Or could look at a 5-2, Shaff staying in all around and Samedy subbing out Atherton front row.

But then if our (young) OH need DS'ing, the subs will run out fast. I remember Kilkelly getting stuck in the front last year.
 

MRJ

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I'm interested if Wenaas can win the other starting OH spot, and if so would either or both need DS? Rollins to me has always been inconsistent, especially in the backrow last year. She scores points, but have also never really been impressed by her hitting. Maybe she is a great technical hitter, but she doesn't seem to be a prototypical "terminal" hitter.

6-2 - only with a double-sub, which I assume is what you meant. Obviously we wouldn't have Samedy on the bench. Miyabe got some nice game reps at RS on the net last year, when Miller was out. Or could look at a 5-2, Shaff staying in all around and Samedy subbing out Atherton front row.

But then if our (young) OH need DS'ing, the subs will run out fast. I remember Kilkelly getting stuck in the front last year.
Rollins has certainly had her ups and downs. When she's good, she's really good and if she can iron out her game a bit, she'll likely get plenty of reps (especially at the beginning of the year)

Based on what I've seen, both Landfair and Wenaas are more powerful with their swings than Rollins, but Rollins reads the opposing block pretty well when she's on. Not sure about Landfair and Wenaas' ability to read blocks as I've never seen them play live. But Landfair is freakishly athletic, so I'm sure they'll work extensively on that aspect of her game. Wenaas looks pretty polished on film, so I really can't comment beyond that.

I'm really interested in seeing where Miyabe plays. She's very versatile and can play multiple positions (as she showed last year), so I have to think she'll get plenty of court-time somewhere.

In terms of offense, Hugh really prefers a 5-1, so the 6-2 is merely a guess on my part. Samedy is going to start and play just about every point at oppo. The backcourt is also solid imo if Appiani can come in and spell Kilkelly (I'm assuming C.C. will be the libero unless there's an injury).

The real question is what to do with the setters. A 6-2 would be a little more complicated to run and would use up subs a bit more, which with our depth isn't necessarily a positive. It all depends on how the setter competition plays out. Also, playing a 6-2 might complicate the adjustment for the hitters due to having to learn two new setters for game situations instead of one.

I actually like the 5-1 better because of that. Thankfully, if they do run a 5-1, it'll be nice to have depth to throw at the opposition if one of them is struggling.
 

MplsGopher

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I think if Hugh had his choice, he would run a traditional olympic style 7-player lineup the entire season. No DS'ing for the OH.
 
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MRJ

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I think if Hugh had his choice, he would run a traditional olympic style 7-player lineup the entire season. No DS'ing for the OH.
I could see that. But it would depend on how well the group passes and plays defense, which of course hasn't been determined yet.
 

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I don’t see much chatter about sophomores Rubright or Husemann’s role for 2020. Or is the assumption that they will be waiting their turn to compete against one another to take Pittman’s role? Meaning they mostly will not be in the lineup until 2021?

Was/will be the below the starting 6:

2019 - Samady, Hart, Rollings, CC, Miller, Pittman/Morgan

2020 ?- Samady, Landfair or Wenaas, Rollins, CC, Shaffmaster, Pittman
 

MRJ

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I don’t see much chatter about sophomores Rubright or Husemann’s role for 2020. Or is the assumption that they will be waiting their turn to compete against one another to take Pittman’s role? Meaning they mostly will not be in the lineup until 2021?

Was/will be the below the starting 6:

2019 - Samady, Hart, Rollings, CC, Miller, Pittman/Morgan

2020 ?- Samady, Landfair or Wenaas, Rollins, CC, Shaffmaster, Pittman
Depends upon how much they've improved since last year. Adding Katie Myers was a huge pick-up. She's was an All-Conference player at Maryland last year and has two years of eligibility remaining, so the assumption is that she'll pair with Pittman in the middle this year and be a starter next year as well, meaning Shea and Ellie may either redshirt or see some spot duty, at least for this year.

Again, there's always a danger in assuming too much, but that's what I think will happen.
 

MplsGopher

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Rubright was a UA All-American and top 15 recruit. I see her as taking over Pittman's role starting in 2021.
 

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Atherton could have also been brought in if Dolanga, the Croatian setter, decided not to return. That could be a possibility for to COVID-19. Nothing confirmed just pure speculation on my part.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Nebraska's John Cook discusses Big Ten only volleyball schedule:

Husker coach John Cook, on a podcast released Thursday evening by the athletic department, said he thinks his program might be in for a conference-only slate.

"Based on all the meetings we've had and everything, it's probably leaning toward a Big Ten-only schedule," Cook said. "No nonconference and maybe we'll be allowed to play Creighton and UNO, which are close here. They don't want anybody traveling and they don't want what they call cross-pollination, meaning, if we go to California, to Texas, to Florida, we're going to different schools with different protocols and everything. Whereas in the Big Ten, everybody's going to be on the same page.


"Then also the cost-containment part of it, but that doesn't apply to us because if we can have fans, we make money having matches at home. So that will hurt us not being able to have those nonconference matches."
All in all, it's been a wild few weeks of planning and searching for a way forward.

"It's almost changing by the hour," Cook said. "It's been pretty mind-boggling everything that's been thrown around and how it's changing."

Cook also said Nebraska has been working with a clinic in Omaha to test student-athletes and that they had a plan in place to get back in their training facility recently, but it was scuttled by the NCAA for now.

"We have no idea. Everything is changing, literally it changes day to day," Cook said. "Nebraska people will love this. We had everything set up, everybody tested and everybody was ready to go here, starting Monday. They were all going to be back for that and we were going to be able to use our facilities, then the NCAA last week all of a sudden said, 'Sorry, you can't use your facilities.' For everybody. I call it the anti-Nebraska rule.
 

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MplsGopher

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Based on that, would not surprise me to see B1G/ACC challenge, B1G/PAC challenge, and Diet Coke classic cancelled. As well as return trips of Texas and Florida.

This is wild speculation, I have no insider knowledge. Just basing it off Cook's comments above.


Maybe schedule non-conf games against the Dakotas and Iowa State? Those are the closest DI schools outside Big Ten. Maybe UW Milwaukee and GB as well.
 

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Based on that, would not surprise me to see B1G/ACC challenge, B1G/PAC challenge, and Diet Coke classic cancelled. As well as return trips of Texas and Florida.

This is wild speculation, I have no insider knowledge. Just basing it off Cook's comments above.


Maybe schedule non-conf games against the Dakotas and Iowa State? Those are the closest DI schools outside Big Ten. Maybe UW Milwaukee and GB as well.
Creighton, Marquette, Drake, UNI
 

MplsGopher

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Saw that the NCAA DI council voted on Friday to allow all sports to return to campus for voluntary workouts starting June 1st. Stupid that they didn’t do it at the same time as football and basketball on Wed.

Whatever. Now it’s up to the Big Ten and then the U to let them back on.
 

MRJ

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Over on VT, someone noticed that Rollins has removed UMN volleyball from her Instagram profile:
https://volleytalk.proboards.com/post/2341927/thread
Quick update: Turns out Adanna was in the process of deleting her social media accounts and isn't leaving the program.

Admittedly, there were a few nervous moments for Gopher fans since Rollins is one of the veterans on what is otherwise a pretty young group.

Anyway, Adanna is returning, which is a relief.

The roster is stacked with talent across the board and it would have been a major bummer if Rollins had decided to move on. There is some feeling that the team won't be at it's best for another year or two until the new recruits become fully acclimated to the college game.

Nevertheless, from a pure talent standpoint, this is as deep a roster as I can remember Hugh having in his time at the U. And Certainly excited that Rollins will be a part of it this year. :clap: :D
 

dlw4gophers

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People spend way to much time trying to analyze stuff on social media.
 
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