Gopher volleyball's Melani Shaffmaster earns Big Ten weekly honor

Melani Shaffmaster was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week after the Gophers swept Michigan State in a pair of 3-0 wins to open the 2021 season. ((credit: University of Minnesota Athletics))

Gophers’ volleyball player Melani Shaffmaster has been named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week after helping lead No. 7-ranked Minnesota to a pair of 3-0 wins over Michigan State last weekend to open the Big Ten season.

Shaffmaster, a 6-3 setter who was part of Hugh McCutcheon’s No. 1 ranked recruiting class entering the season, had 50 set assists in her first two collegiate matches. She added 17 digs, and three aces.

In Saturday’s season-opener, Minnesota hit 38.4 percent on the way to beating the Spartans. She had 29 assists, two aces, four kills and six digs in that match. In Sunday’s win, she got her first career double-double with 21 assists, 11 digs and added one ace.

Shaffmaster is the first Gopher to win Big Ten Freshman of the Week since Adanna Rollins in 2018.

Minnesota is back in action this weekend, traveling to Maryland for matches Friday and Saturday night.