Gophers Open 2012 Season with a 3-1 Win Over James Madison
Aug. 25, 2012
The No. 16 University of Minnesota volleyball program opened the 2012 season with a 3-1 win over James Madison, today in Harrisonburg, Va. By scores of 25-19, 22-25, 25-16 and 25-14, Minnesota is 1-0 on the season.
The Maroon and Gold were led by senior Katherine Harms, who had a match-high 18 kills. Tori Dixon added 14 and the best hit percentage (.875-14-0-16), while Gopher newcomers Daly Santana and Dana Knudsen each had eight. Mia Tabberson had 32 assists as Alexandra Palmer had 15. Ashley Wittman led the team in digs (17).
Wittman also established her 1,000th career kill in the JMU match. Entering her junior season, the All-American had 998 career kills. She established her 1,000th mark in the first set and now stands at 1,005 career kills.
Minnesota would dominate the team stat categories as well. The Gophers outhit the Dukes, .385 to .190 and outblocked, 10.0 to 4.0 Minnesota's middles Dixon had two solo blocks and two block assists, while Knudsen had a solo block and four block assists.
James Madison opened the first set with a 6-0 run, but Minnesota would come back, and hold a 6-1 run of their own, which would pace the remainder of the set. Minnesota trailed 8-2 at the beginning, only to come back and tie the set at 13-13. The 6-1 run jumpstarted the Gophers as they would hit .452 in the first set and a 25-19 win.
Minnesota would fall in the second set as JMU outhit the Gophers in the only set at .321 to .243. Although Minnesota held a 12-9 lead, the Dukes added a 9-0 run in the middle of the set that propelled the win. The Gophers would attempt a comeback to 20-17 on a Santana ace and later at 22-20 on a kill by Harms. However, the Dukes would close out the set on a kill by Katie Daorai and Meghan Niski for the set win.
The Gophers, however, came out of the break and dominated the final two sets. Minnesota would hit a match-best .571 in the third en route to a 25-16 win. The Gophers jumped out to a 12-5 lead and never looked back. The Gophers would take as much as a 10-point lead when Harms had a kill for a score of 19-9. After a kill by Dixon to put it at set point, the Dukes had an attack error by Meghan Niski to win the set. Minnesota would then hit .357 to JMU's .029 in the fourth to win the match. Similar to the third set, Minnesota jumped out to a 16-9 lead. The Gophers closed out the set with a kill by Knudsen, an ace by Karyn Israel and won the match on a JMU service error.
Minnesota plays App State again today at 4 p.m. (CT).