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Breaking down the Minneapolis volleyball regional

December 7, 2018

Nebraska

Record: 26-6 (15-5, Tied 3rd place).

AVCA ranking/tournament seed/RPI: 6/7/11.

Coach: John Cook (19th season, 718-148 overall).

Location: Lincoln.

Last 10 matches: 10-0.

Notable wins: No. 7 Penn State, 3-2; at No. 3 Illinois, 3-1; at No. 12 Purdue, 3-1.

Road to regional: beat Hofstra, 3-0; beat No. 24 Missouri, 3-0.

Who to watch: Senior Mikaela Foecke is again showing why she’ll go down as one of the greatest postseason players in school history. She had 25 kills on 46 swings and zero hitting errors in two matches last weekend. ... Freshman setter Nicklin Hames shook off some nerves and had a solid first weekend in the postseason. Now she gets a chance to set the Huskers on a bigger stage. She had 54 assists the last time she played at Minnesota’s gym.

More on the Huskers: Seniors Foecke and Kenzie Maloney are a combined 49-2 all-time in the months of November and December. That includes an 18-1 mark in NCAA Tournament matches.

Hitting pct.: .264.

Opp. hitting pct.: .132

Kentucky

Record: 26-4 (18-0 SEC, 1st place).

AVCA ranking/tournament seed/RPI: 10/10/8.

Coach: Craig Skinner (16th season, 327-117 overall).

Location: Lexington, Ky.

Last 10 matches: 10-0.

Notable wins: No. 16 Florida, 3-0; No. 24 Missouri, 3-1; No. 19 Tennessee, 3-1; at No. 24 Missouri, 3-0.

Road to regional: beat Murray State, 3-0; beat No. 12 Purdue, 3-0.

Who to watch: Junior outside hitter Leah Edmond was named the SEC Player of the Year after averaging 4.63 kills per set, which ranked 13th nationally. She became the school’s all-time kills leader. ... Sophomore setter Madison Lilley has played a big part in the Wildcats’ balanced attack. She averages 11.33 assists per set, which ranks 14th nationally.

More on the Wildcats: Kentucky has some offensive punch, but defense has been a big part of the Wildcats’ success. They have held 11 of their past 14 opponents to a hitting clip of .183 or less.

Hitting pct.: .305.

Opp. hitting pct.: .186.

Minnesota

Record: 27-3 (19-1 Big Ten, 1st place).

AVCA ranking/tournament seed/RPI: 2/2/4.

Coach: Hugh McCutcheon (7th season, 189-46 overall).

Location: Minneapolis.

Last 10 matches: 9-1.

Notable wins: No. 7 Penn State, 3-0; No. 6 Nebraska, 3-1; at No. 6 Nebraska, 3-1; No. 3 Illinois, 3-0.

Road to regional: beat Bryant, 3-0; beat South Carolina, 3-0.

Who to watch: Samantha Seliger-Swenson has proved to be among the top setters in the nation. She has distributed the ball to five hitters who each have 240 kills or more. Seliger-Swenson has 1,203 assists, 253 digs, 37 ace serves and 41 blocks. ... Adanna Rollins was named All-North Region freshman of the year after averaging 2.55 kills per set. She’s a six-rotation outside hitter.

More on the Gophers: Minnesota went 19-1 in the rugged Big Ten, and that included an 18-0 start in league play. The Gophers have won two Big Ten titles since 2015.

Hitting pct.: .300.

Opp. hitting pct.: .183.

Oregon

Record: 22-10 (13-7 Pac-12, Tied 2nd place).

AVCA ranking/tournament seed/RPI: 14/15/19.

Coach: Matt Ulmer (second season, 40-22 overall).

Location: Eugene, Oregon.

Last 10 matches: 7-3.

Notable wins: No. 2 Minnesota, 3-1; at No. 17 USC, 3-0; at No. 22 Washington, 3-2; No. 19 Washington State, 3-2.

Road to regional: beat New Mexico State, 3-1; beat No. 25 Baylor, 3-2.

Who to watch: Oregon’s switch to a 5-1 offense has played a big part in Ronika Stone’s big season. The junior middle blocker is averaging a career-best 3.81 points per set on .336 hitting. ... Senior outside hitter Lindsey Vander Weide, an all-Pac-12 performer, is fourth all-time at Oregon in points (1,660), fifth in total attacks (3,907), sixth in kills (1,423) and seventh in digs (1,216).

More on the Ducks: Don’t expect Oregon to be intimidated in taking on the Gophers. On Sept. 7, the Ducks knocked off then-No. 1 Minnesota in four sets. August Raskie had 66 set assists in the win.

Hitting pct.: .264.

Opp. hitting pct.: .207.

[ WATCH: John Cook, other coaches talk before the NCAA Minneapolis Regional ]

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