Sep 6, 2013
The University of Minnesota volleyball team opened the 2013 home season with a three-set win over Ball State, tonight at the Sports Pavilion in front of 3,262 fans. With the win, the Golden Gophers improve to 5-0 and have won all five in three-set fashion.
As a team, Minnesota hit .333 and outblocked the Cardinals, 11.0-7.0, had a 45-33 dig advantage and produced 45 kills to Ball State's 26. Minnesota was led by seniors Tori Dixon and Ashley Wittman. Dixon had 15 kills and hit a match-best .667, while Wittman had a double double with 13 kills and 10 digs. Alexandra Palmer had 35 assists and 10 digs, while Karlie Hauer had a career-high six kills.
Minnesota plays Western Illinois at 1 p.m. and Duke at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow.
Turning Points in the Match
Set 1: With a two-point lead at 10-8, Minnesota went on a 6-0 run, including five on Daly Santana's serve rotation to push its lead to 16-8. The Gophers add to their lead and had back-to-back kills from Wittman and Santana to go up, 21-12. Minnesota would then finish off the set with two kills from Dixon as the Gophers reached their 24th and set point.
Set 2: Paced by Dixon, Minnesota bettered its hitting percentage from .286 to .346 in the second set. Minnesota jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the second, forcing Ball State to take a timeout. A Lindsey Lawmaster ace pushed the Gopher lead to 12-6 and 15-9 on back-to-back kills from Dixon. Minnesota added to its lead at the 22-13 mark with blocks from Sydney Howard and Hannah Tapp. In the set, Dixon capitalized six kills on eight swings and one error to hit .625 in that set.
Set 3: Like the second set, Minnesota bettered its set hitting mark when it had 12 kills in 25 attempts and just two errors. Wittman led the offensive attack in the third set when she had five kills in 10 attempts, while Dixon added four in four attempts. Minnesota also had five blocks in the set to finish off the Cardinals. As the Gophers held a two-point lead at 8-6, they went on a 5-0 run. In that span, Minnesota each had two kills by Dixon and Wittman, while Lawmaster added her second ace. Minnesota would later add to its lead to 10 when it received back-to-back blocks by Dixon and Adrianna Nora. The Gophers would close out the set and match with two blocks, one from Hauer and Hannah Tapp and the other from Hannah Tapp and Howard.
-Minnesota has now hit over .300 in four of its five matches this season.
-The 11.0 blocks was a season high, breaking Minnesota's 9.0 against UAB
-Minnesota had 12 players see action
-It was the first home match for newcomers Hannah Tapp, Paige Tapp, Sarah Wilhite, Nora and Howard.
Gophers Meet with the Media
Minnesota held its first media availability on Thursday afternoon at Maturi Pavilion.
Seven Gopher Games Televised in 2017
The University of Minnesota volleyball program will have seven Big Ten matches televised this season, including one on ESPN, announced today by Big Ten Network and the conference office.
Freshman Feature: Sara Nielsen
Gophersports.com caught up with freshman setter Sara Nielsen after her first week on practice.