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The previous two times the Gophers met Stanford in the NCAA volleyball tournament, it was in the Final Four at neutral sites. Both times, the Gophers lost. On Saturday they will get a chance at revenge inside the raucous confines of Maturi Pavilion.

Minnesota, the No. 12 overall seed and host for the first two rounds, opened its tournament Friday night with a 25-19, 25-22, 25-17 sweep of South Dakota, as matches returned to campus sites after last season's tournament was sequestered in Omaha.

The victory set up a second-round matchup with the Cardinal that is more typically reserved for the final weekend of the tournament.

The Gophers (21-8) have reached three Final Fours since 2015 under Hugh McCutcheon. Nine-time national champion Stanford has reached four Final Fours in that span — winning it all in 2016, '18 (at Target Center) and '19. They defeated the Gophers in four sets at the national semifinals in 2016 under former coach John Dunning and three sets under current coach Kevin Hambly in 2019.

"It gets hot and heavy pretty quick, that's for sure," McCutcheon said. "They're a good team and now that they're healthy. ... We know they're good. I mean, they're the real deal. It should be some good volleyball."

The teams met in Eugene, Ore., in September at the Big Ten/Pac 12 Challenge and the Gophers won easily in four sets. It marked only the second win over the Cardinal in 12 matches all time.

The familiarity for Hambly and McCutcheon extends beyond the court. The two met as players at Brigham Young, coached for USA Volleyball, faced off several times when Hambly was coach at Illinois and have a friendship that runs so deep Hambly was the best man at McCutcheon's wedding.

"What's really cool about Hugh and my relationship is it has nothing to do with volleyball," Hambly said. "We were teammates and that's how we met, but we're friends off the court. When we get on the court it's about the athletes."

That's one area where the Gophers might find themselves at a disadvantage.

All-Big Ten first-team libero CC McGraw missed Friday's victory due to medical reasons. The senior is a two-time all-conference standout and No. 5 all time at Minnesota in digs.

There was no update on her availability for Saturday.

The Gophers were able to use their balance and depth to defeat a Coyotes team that was up for the challenge.

Big Ten Player of the Year Stephanie Samedy was all over the court — with 13 kills and eight digs — and the Gophers also received key offensive contributions from sophomore Jenna Wenaas (10 kills, six digs) and senior Airi Miyabe (eight kills, four digs). Melani Shaffmaster added a game-high 28 assists. They also controlled the net, tallying 10 blocks to four for the Coyotes (20-10).

"I think we went about our business how we normally would," Shaffmaster said. "I think a lot of people on our team can play every spot if we need them, too. And we kept connecting as we normally do. It's just another night of good volleyball for us."

While Stanford brought its championship pedigree to Minneapolis, this wasn't the usual opening weekend of the tournament for the Cardinal.

Stanford (19-10) hadn't traveled for the first round since 2004 and battled for a 25-19, 23-25, 25-18, 25-17 victory over Iowa State (16-12), a team that featured three players who were all-conference in the Big 12 this season.

Kami Miner, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, hovered in the middle of everything, totaling a game-high 52 assists while hitters Kendall Kipp and Caitie Baird showed why they were named all-conference.

Baird finished with 22 kills on 48 attempts (.396%) while Kipp added 20 on 36 (.417%).

Now the Gophers and Cardinal ready for a second-round matchup with a Final Four feel. The recent matchups pepper the highest level of competition the sport has to offer.

It's doubtful anyone will object to an unusually early reunion.