Sep 7, 2013
Senior middle blocker Tori Dixon was named the Diet Coke Classic's Most Valuable Player as the University of Minnesota volleyball team defeated Duke, 25-19, 25-16, 25-17, tonight at the Sports Pavilion. Along with Dixon, seniors Alexandra Palmer and Ashley Wittman were also named all-tournament. With three wins in the two days, the Golden Gophers were the tournament winners, while Duke was second with a 2-1 record. Minnesota improves to 7-0 this season.
Dixon finished the night with 15 kills in 26 attempts and two errors for a .500 night. Wittman added 13 kills and hit .400, while Palmer had a match-high 34 assists. In the tournament, Dixon hit .574 in the tournament when she had 4.89 kills per set, 44 kills, two assists, four aces, nine digs and 15 total blocks. Wittman finished the tourney with 38 kills for a .405 hitting mark and 4.22 kills per set. Palmer dished out 89 assists in nine sets played. She also had an ace and 18 digs.
With the win over Duke, Minnesota won its tournament with three wins, followed by the Blue Devils in second with a 2-1 tournament mark. In the tournament, Minnesota hit .357 as a team, averaged 14.11 kills per set and established 32 team blocks. Minnesota also played 15 of its 18 student-athletes this weekend. The Gophers, who have now produced a 7-0 record, have won all matches in three sets.
Turning Points in the Match:
Set 1: Propelled by Dixon, Santana and Wittman, the trio had five kills, four and four in the set. Santana held the best hitting percentage at .571 when she had four kills in seven attempts and no errors. With the set tied at 14, Minnesota went on a 6-1 run to open a lead at 20-15. Minnesota had three-straight with a kill from Dixon, an ace by Wittman and a Duke attack error. Santana put the set at 23-17 with a kill as the Gophers finished off the set with a Duke service error and a kill by Wittman.
Set 2: Dixon hit. 667 in the set, but it was Ashley Wittman who had six kills in 10 attempts for a .500 clip. Tied at 6-6, Lindsey Lawmaster provided a seven-point swing to put the Gophers up, 13-6. Dixon and Howard combined for two blocks. Hannah Tapp had a kill to put the Gopher lead at 22-14, while she added a second at the 24-point mark, followed by a Dixon kill to win the second set.
Set 3: Dixon hit an impressive .857 in the third set as the team hit .571. After the Gophers were tied 7-7, Minnesota increased its lead to 13-7 with a block from Dixon and Wittman. The Gophers would then take a nine-point lead when Syndey Howard added her fourth block assist along with Hannah Tapp to make it 19-10. The Gophers would eventually close out the set, with a kill from Dixon before Santana added her ninth kill of the match for the 25-17 set final.
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.
Gophers Third in RPI, Fourth in AVCA Poll
The Golden Gophers are ranked No. 3 in the final NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI).