Gophers Upset No. 4 Texas in Four Sets
The No. 14 University of Minnesota volleyball program upset No. 4 University of Texas in four sets, 25-22, 25-13, 27-29, 29-27 in Austin, Texas. With the win, the Golden Gophers (6-0) handed the Longhorns (5-2) their first loss on their home court in 33-straight matches, dating back to Sept. 4, 2010 and just its third home loss since 2007. The loss to the Gophers ended the nation's longest home win streak.
Minnesota had three players earn double doubles. Katherine Harms paved the way for the Gophers as she had 24 kills with 13 digs. Ashley Wittman had 13 kills and 16 digs, while Daly Santana had 11 kills and 16 digs. Wittman also held the team’s best hitting percentage at .400 when she had 13 kills on three errors in 25 swings. Tori Dixon also had 14 kills and two service aces. Alexandra Palmer led the match with 33 assists. As a team, Minnesota outhit the Longhorns, .327 to .170 and were narrowly outblocked, 11.5 to 12.0.
Minnesota and Texas had six lead changes early and two ties before the Gophers went on a 5-1 run en route to a 25-22 first-set win. Minnesota opened the gap and maintained the lead throughout the set, including a five-point lead midway after a Lindsey Lawmaster ace and a block by Dixon. Minnesota again held a four-point lead at 22-18 on a kill by Harms. The Gophers were up 24-18 for set point, before Texas stormed back and rallied with three kills and a block to put the set at 24-22 before Harms added a kill on the right side. Minnesota hit .500 in the first set as it accomplished 18 kills on 32 attempts for just two errors.
Minnesota dominated the Longhorns to a 25-13 win in the second set to go up, 2-0 heading into the break. The Gophers jumped out to a 5-2 lead on a kill by Santana, forcing Texas to take a timeout. After a kill by Dixon and two attack errors by Texas, the Longhorns called another timeout with the score at 12-5. Dixon, however, came out of the timeout and delivered an ace to go up, 13-5. Texas would close it to 13-9 after a Haley Eckerman ace, but Minnesota would put a 10-point lead (20-10) on the Longhorns with back-to-back kills by Harms and Santana. The Gophers ended the set with a kill from Santana, Harms and again by Harms to win, 25-13.
Texas would take the third set as the two teams would undergo 17 tie scores and three lead changes for a 29-27 set win. Minnesota jumped out to a 12-8 lead with a kill by Dana Knudsen. Texas, however, rallied back and tied the third set on a Gopher service error. In a back and forth battle throughout the remainder of the third set, Texas would bring it to set point at 24-23. On their fifth set point, Minnesota would commit back-to-back attack errors as the Longhorns cut the Gopher match lead to one.
In the fourth, it was Minnesota who won by two at 29-27. As Minnesota started with a 7-2 lead only to relinquish it at 15-15 on a kill by Eckerman. Minnesota would receive three-straight points on a kill by Dixon and back-to-back by Wittman, which forced a Texas timeout. UT, however, came back and tied the set again on an ace at its 18th point, a kill by Bailey Webster for the 19th and a bad set by Palmer tied the set at 20 all. After Texas took a slight 22-21 lead, Minnesota called a timeout, but an attack error by Santana put the Longhorns up by two late. The Gophers, however, escaped a Texas set point when Dixon added a kill and Santana and Dixon combined for a block, knotting it at 24-24. In a back and forth battle to the end, Minnesota tied it again at 25 and 26 with kills by Dixon. After a kill by Harms, UT’s Khat Bell had a kill to tie it at 27. Minnesota put away the Longhorns as Webster had an attack error and Harms posted her 24th kill of the night for the set and match point.
The win over the Longhorns marks the third-straight for the Gophers as they defeated Texas at the Sports Pavilion last season in back-to-back matches. Minnesota will look for another win over the Longhorns tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m.