Aug 31, 2013
The University of Minnesota volleyball team capped off the 2013 UAB/Samford Challenge in grand fashion with a three-set win over Samford, tonight in Birmingham, Ala. Minnesota hit .488 as a team and committed only five errors in a total of 82 attempts.
Minnesota was led primarily by Ashley Wittman, who had 17 kills in 28 attempts and just one error. Daly Santana had 11 kills, did not commit and error and had 13 swings for a .846 hitting clip. Santana added another double double when she had 13 digs. Tori Dixon had nine kills, one assist and ace and three digs. Hannah Tapp led the Gopher blockers with a solo and three block assists. Alexandra Palmer added 36 assists, one ace and seven digs.
Minnesota did not hit below a .400 the entire match. The Gophers hit .448 in the first set (15-2-29), .400 in the second (12-2-25) and an impressive .607 in the third. (18-1-28). The Gophers provided six aces, 4.0 in blocks and 37 digs. The Golden Gophers held Samford to a .146 hitting percentage, including a .000 mark in the second set.
Minnesota opens the home season next weekend when it hosts its annual Diet Coke Classic. Minnesota welcomes Ball State, Duke and Western Illinois to the Sports Pavilion. The Gophers open the home season against Ball State, Friday, at 7:30 p.m.
-Although in an early season, Minnesota held its best hitting night at .488. The last time Minnesota hit over .400 in a match dates back to Nov. 17, 2012 when it faced Iowa in a four-set win. The .488 was the best since Minnesota hit. 533 against Miami in the 2012 Diet Coke Classic-The .846 mark against Samford was Santana's best hitting clip of her Gopher career
-The double double by Santana marked her third of the tournament and eighth of her career
-The last time Wittman had 17 kills was in the 2012 NCAA Tournament against Creighton
Turning Points in the Match
Set 1: Minnesota jumped out to a 7-3 lead and never looked back. Within the first set, Palmer, Santana and Wittman drove the offensive in attack. In Palmer's serve rotation at 11-9, Minnesota rattled off six-straight points. In that span, Wittman had four kills, while Sarah Wilhite had one. At the end of the set, Santana produced her sixth kill of the set.
Set 2: As the two teams were tied at 5-5, Santana served a five-point swing in her serve rotation. Tapp and Sydney Howard combined for two blocks, Santana had an ace and Samford committed an attack error. After a Samford kill at 10-6, Minnesota went on an 8-1 run, capped off by another Wittman kill. Wittman had another six kills.
Set 3: Minnesota was up 14-11 and opened the gap with a 5-1 run to put the score at 19-12. During Lindsey Lawmaster's serve rotation, she had an ace, while Dixon had a kill. The match ended with back-to-back kills from Dixon, her eighth and ninth of the match.
Gopher Spotlight: Seniors Alugbue and Santana
In our regular season home finale, the University of Minnesota honored its seniors, Toni Alugbue and Daly Santana in a post-match celebration.
Gophers Beat Ohio State in Five-Set Thriller
Minnesota ended its regular home season in a five-set win over Ohio State, 25-27, 29-31, 25-17, 25-15, 15-9. The Gophers are now 25-4 overall and 17-2 in the Big Ten.
Gophers Close Out Regular Season This Week
Minnesota hosts No. 16 Ohio State Wednesday and travels to Indiana Saturday to close out regular season.