Gophers volleyball releases 2021 fall schedule

Melanie Schaffmaster 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))

The University of Minnesota women’s volleyball team has released a fall schedule for the 2021 season.

After having last season delayed, and playing only Big Ten games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears the Gophers will get back to a more normal schedule for the 2021 season. Minnesota will have eight non-conference matches before starting a 20-match Big Ten schedule in September.

The Gophers will open the 2021 season with five opponents ranked in the final American Volleyball Coaches Association poll. They’ll face Baylor and TCU, Aug. 27-28, as part of the Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge in Wisconsin. The Gophers will open their home season Sept. 1 against national runner-up Texas.

Also on Minnesota’s schedule is the Diet Coke Classic, Sept. 16-18, which is their final tune-up before Big Ten play starts. The Gophers will open their conference season Sept. 24 and 26, hosting Michigan and Maryland. They then have four straight road matches at Wisconsin, Northwestern, Michigan and Michigan State.

The Gophers have not made a formal announcement on fan attendance at Maturi Pavilion for the 2021 season, but with COVID-19 restrictions being lifted this summer, there’s a good chance for at least some fans at home matches this season.

Minnesota finished 16-3 last season, including a 15-2 mark in Big Ten play. The season ended in a 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.