Sept. 10, 2011
Minnesota 3, UNI 2
The No. 6 University of Minnesota volleyball team defeated No. 15 Northern Iowa in five sets to win the Clarion Inn-vitational, tonight in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The Golden Gophers improved to 5-2 on the season after dropping the first match of the day against Kansas (also in five sets) and defeating UNI (25-22, 25-12, 25-14, 16-25 and 15-10). Ashley Wittman was named the tournament MVP. In three matches, Wittman had 60 kills averaging 4.62 per set. Also earning all-tournament team honors was Tori Dixon and Jessica Granquist. Dixon had 1.15 blocks per set and 38 kills for .419 hitting percentage. Granquist had 67 digs, including 34 in the UNI match to average 5.15 per set.
In the UNI match alone, Wittman had 24 kills, while Hailey Cowles had 15 and eight digs. Mia Tabberson had 49 assists and 10 digs, while Steffi Sooter had 14 digs. The Gophers fell in the first set to UNI by a score of 22-25. Minnesota battled back late in the set and tied it 19-19 after Hailey Cowleshad back-to-back kills. However, a kill by UNI and an attack error by Minnesota had the Panthers up, 23-21 before Minnesota took a timeout. UNI then had kills by Shelby Kintzel to win the first set by three.
Minnesota dominated the second set, winning 25-12. The Gophers jumped out to an early lead with the help of Tori Dixonproviding back-to-back aces at 7-2. UNI attempted to stop the Gophers, but Minnesota would continue its run and go up 13-3. Minnesota continued its 10-point lead through 17-7 and even 20-9 before UNI went into double-digit points. In the second set alone, Wittman had 10 kills and just one error in 13 attempts for .692 hitting percentage. Tabberson also had 15 assists in the set.
Like the second, Minnesota held a double-digit lead over UNI in the third set to win, 25-14. The only tie that existed in the set was at 1-1 and the Gophers cruised in the set to go up by 10 at 17-7. Cowles dominated the set when she had six kills on 12 attempts, while Wittman had four kills and Tabberson had two. Dixon also paved the way when she had three block assists, while freshman Kellie McNeilhad two. UNI stormed back and won the fourth set to force a game five and won, 25-16. UNI held the team from the first point of the set and continued to gain its lead.
Minnesota held a .000 hitting percentage to UNI's .281. However, Minnesota jumped out to an early lead, but UNI responded and tied the match, 7-7. However, the Gophers controlled the pace for the remainder of the set when Wittman had a kill and Cowles delivered a service ace for the win. UNI had back-to-back attack errors as Minnesota closed out the match.
Minnesota will head to the Marquette Tournament and will play on Saturday and Sunday next week. The Gophers will face Middle Tennessee State at 5 p.m. Saturday and follow with a 2 p.m. match against host Marquette on Sunday.