Aug. 27, 2011
Minnesota 3, Oregon, 2
The No. 12 University of Minnesota volleyball program earned its first win of the season and went 1-1 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Showcase, this weekend in State College, Pa. After dropping a five-set match to No. 2 Southern California last night, the Gophers rebounded to win, 3-2, over Oregon (24-26, 25-15, 22-25, 25-18, 15-10).
Oregon won the first set by two points to take the early lead. Oregon burned both of its timeouts in the first 12 points of the first set. Minnesota trailed 1-4, but rallied back to tie the game and later take a 7-5 lead before the Ducks called their second timeout. The Gophers fell behind as Oregon tied it up, 15-15 and then took the lead for the remainder of the match. Trailing 19-21, Minnesota had two kills by Wittman and a block from Dixon and Tabberson to tie the set, 22-22. Oregon took the lead, 22-24, but Minnesota attempted the late comeback and tied it 24-24. However, back-to-back kills gave the Ducks the first set, 24-26. Nine tie scores and three lead changes occurred in the first set.
Minnesota controlled the tempo for the majority of the second set and went on a six-point run to later win the set. After tying the set, 3-3, Minnesota held the lead throughout. Minnesota widened the gap when Hailey Cowles had a kill to put the Gophers up, 9-5. Leading 17-14, Dixon had two kills and two block assists, while Wittman had a kill and a block assist. After nine ties in the first set, only two tie scores in the entire set for the second set.
Oregon took a four-point lead at 12-8 and held onto the lead for the remainder of the set. Minnesota closed the gap at the end of the set when it was down 19-24. Wittman had a kill, while the Gophers had a solo block by Cowles, while Harms and Filho combined for a block, but a kill by Alaina Bergsma finished the set.
Minnesota rallied back to win the fourth set, highlighting another six-point run by the Gophers. The two teams went back and forth at the beginning of the set. With the score at 14-13 Minnesota the Gophers would go on the six-point run to solidify the set win. Minnesota started the swing when Dixon had back-to-back kills and another by Cowles the score was 17-13. Oregon helped out the Gophers committing two hitting errors to put Minnesota up, 19-13 before it could receive a point. When Minnesota was up, 20-16 the Gophers had two kills to Oregon's one as well as missing on three kills for the 25-18 set final.
Minnesota took that momentum into the fifth set. After falling behind in last night's five-set, 3-8, against No. 2 USC, Minnesota jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, which forced Oregon to take a timeout. Ashley Wittman really showed her skills in the fifth set when she had a kill to put the Gophers up, 4-0, which Oregon used their second timeout of the set. After a kill by Dixon and Minnesota failed kill attempt, the Gophers would suffer back-to-back service aces by the Ducks to pull it to 5-4. Minnesota called a timeout to regroup and it worked as the Gophers tacked on three points with two misses from Oregon and a kill by Cowles. After a kill by Wittman and Harms, Wittman then served up back-to-back aces, putting Minnesota up, 11-6. With kills from Filho and Cowles Minnesota pushed the scored to set and match point at 14-7. The Ducks battled back and had back-to-back kills. After a Minnesota timeout, Oregon forced the Gophers to their fourth match point, but a service error closed out the Gopher victory. In that fifth set, Wittman had four kill attempts and capitalized on two, while providing the much needed service aces. Cowles had three kills in five attempts, while Harms and Filho had one.
Wittman had 27 kills in 48 attempts with seven errors for a .417 hitting percentage. Her 27 kills set a career high, which her previous was 21 against Michigan State (11/13/10). Her five jump-serve aces, was also a career-best. Tabberson had 58 assists on the evening, while Dixon held a hitting percentage of .364 when she had 10 kills in 22 attempts. Minnesota had 28 block assists (15 total blocks), while Cowles had a solo block. Tabberson had nine block assists, while both Filho and Dixon had seven block assists.
Minnesota opens the home season next weekend as the Golden Gophers host No. 4 Texas in the Diet Coke Classic, Sept. 2-3. Both matches are set for 7 p.m. at the Sports Pavilion.