The No. 11 University of Minnesota volleyball team upset No. 4 Texas in the Golden Gophers' home opener, tonight at the Sports Pavilion in front of 4,506 fans. Winning in just three sets (25-20, 25-20 and 25-17) the Gophers improve their record to 2-1, while handing the Longhorns their first loss of the season.
The win over Texas tied the record for a win against a top-four ranked team. The last time Minnesota defeated a No. 4 team was in 2008, winning over the fourth-ranked Cal Golden Bears, also in the Diet Coke Classic.
In the first set, the two teams had six ties scores and three lead changes, but Minnesota held onto a five-point lead to win it, 25-20. After Minnesota was down early to the Longhorns, Minnesota tied the game at 8-8 and held the lead for the remainder of the set. Minnesota had some key momentum swings in the first as it held a four-point swing and went up, 15-10 before Texas responded. The Longhorns closed the gap to 15-13, but Minnesota connected for another three points to give the Gophers an 18-13 lead. The Gophers would finish the set on a kill by Harms, her sixth of the set. Dixon had two aces and four kills in seven attempts for a .429 kill percentage in the first set.
Similar to the first set, Minnesota trailed early, only to tie it up, 6-6 and hold onto the lead for the remainder of the set. The Gophers added four-straight points to give them a 15-10 advantage. The Longhorns responded by bringing it to 20-19, but Minnesota added back-to-back kills by Wittman and finished the set with another kill from Wittman and Harms to win it, 25-20. The Gophers had another seven kills from Harms in just nine attempts of the set. Wittman had eight kills in the set, while Tabberson had 15 assists.
The Gophers closed the door on the Longhorns in the third set when they went on a seven-point swing and never looked back. With the game at 8-7, Minnesota went on to have three kills by Hailey Cowles, one by Dixon, a kill, an ace from Harms and a kill error on Texas to take a 15-7 lead to which Texas couldn't recover. After a kill by Harms, an attack error by Texas' Bailey Webster and a kill by Dixon, the Longhorns called a timeout. However, Minnesota continued to roll with back-to-back kills from Cowles, followed by an ace by Harms and another kill by Cowles to create the seven-point lead. Minnesota then finished the match with back-to-back kills by Dixon and an attack error on Texas setter Hannah Allison to win the set and the match.
Texas had a .120 hitting percentage, as the Gophers kept all hitters to single-digit kill nights. They were led by Amber Roberson with six in 24 attempts, while All-American Rachael Adams had five.
Minnesota and Texas will play again tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at the Sports Pavilion.