Sept. 17, 2011
Minnesota 3, Middle Tenn., 0
The No. 9 University of Minnesota volleyball program earned a 3-0 win over Middle Tennessee, today in Milwaukee. As part of the Marquette Challenge, Minnesota won, 25-12, 25-17 and 26-24 to improve to 6-2 overall.
Ashley Wittman led the Gophers with 20 kills (20-1-33) and a .576 hitting percentage. She also had two solo blocks and three block assists. Tori Dixon and Katherine Harms also had double-digit kills when they each recorded 10. Mia Tabberson had 43 assists, while libero Jessica Granquist had 16 digs and had one assist. As a team, the Gophers held a hitting percentage of .433, while having two aces and just three service errors. The Gophers held the Blue Raiders to a .156 hitting percentage and 35 kills to Minnesota's 49.
Minnesota cruised in the first set as it started with a 9-0 run and led by as much as 12. On the set, Minnesota held a .571 team hitting percentage when the Gophers had 18 kills and just two errors in 28 attempts. Ashley Adams had the Blue Raiders' first kill and point of the set, but the Gophers already held a 9-1 lead. By the end of the first set, Wittman had accomplished nine kills in 13 attempts, while Tabberson had 16 assists.
Minnesota trailed briefly during the second set, but with back-to-back kills by Dixon, the Gophers tied the set at 7-7 and then took the lead for the remainder of the second. Steffi Sooter provided a two-point lead when she served up her first ace of the season and put the score at 9-7. Minnesota finished the set with a kill from Wittman to win it, 25-17. The Gophers had 14 kills and four errors as the team hit .385 for the second set. Wittman had five kills, while Dixon had four and Harms had three.
The Blue Raiders battled back as the two teams endured 16 tie scores and seven lead changes in the third, but the Gophers rallied back and won the set, 26-24. Like the second set, Minnesota trailed early, only to tie it up, 7-7. As the two teams exchanged points throughout the match, Harms and Brianna Haugen delivered back-to-back kills to put Minnesota up, 16-15. However, Middle Tennessee later had three-straight kills to go up, 19-17, forcing Minnesota to take the match's only timeout. Coming out of the timeout, Wittman had back-to-back kills to tie the set, 19-19. The two teams continued back and forth play, but kills by Middle Tennessee's Maria Szivos and Brandi Waller forced it to set point at 24-23. However, the Gophers had a kill by Dixon to tie it up for the 16th time in the set. After an attack error by Szivos, Dixon finished the set and the match with her 10th kill.
Minnesota will play host Marquette, tomorrow at 2 p.m. The match will close out the tournament and the non-conference portion of the Gopher schedule. Marquette defeated Middle Tennessee, 3-1 Friday night.