Junior Molly Lohman knows she’s not the loudest player on the court, but she knows how to do her job.
So far, the Mankato native has started in all 16 matches this season, helping her team to a 14-2 record and high rankings in the AVCA National Poll. Against Indiana, she held a perfect and career-high hitting percentage of 1.000.
Lohman earned her role on the team as starting middle blocker last year after leading the team in blocks, playing in 122 of 129 possible sets, and improving her kill record from 37 as a freshman to 172 as a sophomore.
“I’ve changed a lot since last year,” Lohman said. “I’ve made a lot of changes and I think that it’s paying off.”
Her progress can be attributed to time spent playing with USA Volleyball. For the past two summers, Lohman played on the U.S. Collegiate National team, first in China and then in Europe this past summer.
“In both places, the volleyball is a lot different than it is here – it’s out of the norm,” Lohman said. “The balls are faster, they do different things that you have to learn to react to.”
Lohman said she’s thankful for her experiences and the way they’ve shaped her play.
“Anyone who gets the opportunity to play overseas gets a broader knowledge of volleyball,” Lohman said. “It makes you a better volleyball player all around.”
Her first experience playing abroad in China with teammates Hannah Tapp and Sarah Wilhite prepared her for the second time around.
“Because I played the first summer, the second summer was a lot easier for me,” Lohman said. “I was a lot more confident with my play second summer so I think it went a lot better. I also had Alyssa [Goehner] with me the second summer. It was good to have her there.”
Although she had a few Minnesota teammates with her each summer, Lohman learned how to play with new people, and said she stepped up to take on a leadership role.
“This summer, there was a lack of a leader on our team for USA,” Lohman said. “I learned to help be the leader. I think that’s going into this season.”
Because of her quiet personality, Lohman uses a different style of leading on the court.
“I’m more of a lead by example type person,” Lohman said. “This year especially, I’ve been working on doing my job so I can tell others to do their job. I think you have to do something before you can tell someone else to do something.”
As shown by the Gophers’ record this season, the team is prepared for what’s to come this season.
“Our team chemistry is as good as ever,” Lohman said. “I’m really excited for the season ahead of us.”
The No. 4 University of Minnesota volleyball team closes out the 2015 regular home season on Wednesday, 7 p.m., when the No. 16 Ohio State Buckeyes come to town. It marks the regular home season finale and senior day for Daly Santana and Toni Alugbue.
ON THE DOCKET
The Golden Gophers finish the 2015 regular season at Indiana, Saturday, Nov. 28 in Bloomington, Ind. The Gophers and Hoosiers battle at 6 p.m. CT.
FOLLOWING THE GOPHERS
Both Minnesota matches this week will be streamed on BTN Plus. A game day live page and live statistics will be available on gophersports.com.
ABOUT OHIO STATE
The Ohio State Buckeyes enter Wednesday’s match with a 22-8 overall record and a 11-7 mark within Big Ten play. OSU has gone 2-2 in its last four matches, with a win against Illinois (3-1), a loss against Michigan (3-0), a win at Iowa (3-1) and a loss at Wisconsin (3-0) Sunday. Elizabeth Campbell leads the team with 402 kills (3.62 per set), while Taylor Sandbothe has 326 and a team-best .372 hitting clip and also averages 1.23 blocks per set. Valeria Leon has 491 digs, while Taylor Hughes has 781 assists.
The Indiana Hoosiers hold a 15-15 overall record and are 5-13 in Big Ten play. Indiana defeated Rutgers (3-0) and Michigan State (3-1), before dropping two contests to Nebraska (3-0) and Illinois (3-0). Amelia Anderson has a team-best 379 kills (averages 3.54 per set), while Allison Hammond averages 2.69 kps. Awele Nwaeze holds a team-best 1.01 blocks per set. Megan Tallman averages 10.14 assists per set, while Courtney Harnish has a team-best 367 digs. Indiana averages 1.31 aces per set, led by Taylor Lebo with 27.
ALL TIME SERIES & LAST TIME
Minnesota is 39-34 all-time against the Ohio State Buckeyes, dating back to 1975. The Gophers opened the Big Ten season with a five-set win over Ohio State on Sept 23. Daly Santana led the team with 19 kills, followed by Paige Tapp with 15 and Hannah Tapp with 12. Minnesota hit .198 as a team and had 12 blocks. OSU hit .162 and had 13 blocks. The Gophers held a 78-71 dig advantage and a 62-57 lead in kills. Dalianliz Rosado had a match-high 20 digs. Samantha Seliger-Swenson contributed 53 assists and six kills.
Minnesota is 52-16 all time against Indiana, dating back to 1975. The two teams split action last year, both winning on its home court. Earlier this season, Minnesota won, 3-0, over the Hoosiers at the Sports Pavilion. In the last meeting, the Gophers hit .308 to Indiana’s .107 and out blocked the Hoosiers, 8-3. Daly Santana had 17 kills in 39 attempts, while Sarah Wilhite had eight kills and four blocks. Hannah Tapp and Paige Tapp each had six kills on the match, with Tapp hitting .417. Samantha Seliger-Swenson had a match-high 37 assists, and Dalianliz Rosado had 17 digs.
LAST MATCH RECAP
Minnesota fell, 3-2 Saturday to Purdue in a five-set decision. With the loss, the Golden Gophers dropped just their second Big Ten match of the season. Minnesota trailed, 22-25, 19-25, won the next two, 34-32, 25-19, but fell in the fifth and deciding set, 15-9. Hannah Tapp led the Gophers with 22 kills and hit .513, while Daly Santana followed with 21 kills and 16 digs and Paige Tapp had 16 kills. Samantha Seliger-Swenson added a career-best 66 assists in the loss, while she also added 11 digs. As a team, the Gophers hit .244 to Purdue’s .242, and held an 82-70 dig advantage.
15 MATCH WIN STREAK COMES TO AN END
Minnesota went on an incredible 15-match win streak against Big Ten opponents, a new school record, previously at 12. The run ended last Saturday (Nov. 21) in a five-set loss to No. 15 Purdue. During that span, Minnesota earned seven wins against ranked opponents. The Gophers also tied an overall school record with 15-straight wins as Minnesota also held that run in 1999.
NCAA SELECTION SHOW
The NCAA will announce its field of 64 tournament teams on Sunday, November 29 at 8 p.m. CT on ESPNU. First and Second Round competition will be held December 4-6 on 16 campus sites with all 64 teams. The advancing 16 teams will compete in the NCAA Regionals, held in Austin, Texas, Des Moines, Iowa, Lexington, Ky. and San Diego. The 2015 NCAA Final Four will be held at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb., Dec. 17 & 19.
GOPHERS RANK third IN RPI
With the loss last weekend, the Golden Gophers are ranked No. 3 in the final NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI). Minnesota enters the week with a 24-4 overall record and a 16-2 mark within Big Ten play. The RPI is one of the tools used by the NCAA Selection Committee to evaluate teams for the post season. Texas holds the top spot, followed by Southern California (2), Minnesota and Wisconsin (4). In the top 10 alone, five hail from the Big Ten Conference in the Gophers, Badgers, Nebraska (7) and Penn State (10). Along with Big Ten teams ranked high in the RPI, Minnesota also competed against Texas A&M (10), Stanford (12), Louisville (14), and North Carolina (20) in the non-conference season.
GOPHERS RANKED NO. 4 IN AVCA
Minnesota is ranked fourth in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll. USC holds the top spot and 55 first-place votes, followed by Washington (9 votes), Texas and Minnesota. Nebraska rounds out the top five. Within the top 25, seven Big Ten teams are ranked. Along with the Gophers and Huskers, Penn State is seventh, Wisconsin is 10th, Purdue is ranked 14th, Ohio State (16) and Illinois 18th. Michigan is receiving votes.
WHERE THEY RANK
Minnesota ranks high within a few NCAA categories. The Gophers rank 16th in blocks per set (2.86). Individually, Daly Santana ranks 15th in kills per set (4.52) and 18th in points per set (5.06). Samantha Seliger-Swenson ranks 13th nationally in assists per set (11.52). Among league leaders, Santana leads the pack in kills per set, while Molly Lohman in sixth in blocks per set (1.26), followed by Paige Tapp in eighth (1.19). Seliger-Swenson ranks second in the Big Ten in assists per set.
Minneapolis – It was an exciting day for Gophers volleyball head coach Hugh McCutcheon as he added a talented player to the 2014 volleyball roster. That players is 6’3″ middle blocker Molly Lohman of Mankato West High School.
“Molly is a wonderful addition to our program,” McCutcheon said in a release. “We could not be happier that she’s chosen to study and compete here at the University of Minnesota. She is a talented and driven volleyball athlete and we look forward to working with her in 2014 and beyond.”
Lohman, an all-state selection, finished her high school career with 853 kills, 51 assists, 94 aces, 250 blocks and 307 digs. She was an AAU All-American with her Northern Lights club team. Lohman ranked No. 38 on Prep Volleyball’s Top 100.
Lohman’s 115 blocks this year ranked second in Minnesota while her 365 kills ranked ninth.