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at Creighton: 6:30 p.m. Saturday


Jeff Day's preview:

Opening bell: The Gophers and Creighton will be familiar with each other after the Bluejays handed Minnesota, then ranked No. 9 in the country, a five-set loss at Maturi Pavilion in September. Creighton rode that level of play all season to finish 27-4 overall, tying for the Big East regular season championship and winning the conference tournament. They defeated seven teams that made the NCAA tournament and haven't lost since Oct. 6.

Both teams swept their tournament opener on Friday, with Creighton defeating Colgate behind 12 kills from Norah Sis, who was out for that match in September. It's just one layer of freshness that will add to a contest where the winner is onto the Sweet 16.

Watch her: Taylor Landfair. The Gophers' do-it-all outside hitter was held in check a bit by Utah State on Friday, posting seven kills with five attack errors. Creighton also had her number earlier this season when they held her to nine kills and forced seven attack errors. For the last few months, Landfair's game has hit another level. If the Gophers are to advance she'll have to do it again Saturday.

Injuries: None.

Pregame reading: Gophers volleyball sweeps Utah State to reach second round of NCAA tournament.

Forecast: For nearly a month, the Gophers have looked like a different volleyball team than the one that started the season 6-8, including that loss to Creighton. They believe they are playing their best volleyball when it matters most: December. On Saturday they will face not only an excellent Creighton team, led by the Big East Player of the Year in setter Kendra Wait, but on the road where the Blujays have a passionate, dedicated fanbase ready to fill a sold-out arena. The only thing they don't have? Landfair, Kylie Murr and Melani Shaffmaster. Gophers in five.

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