Gophers Improve to 2-0 With Four-Set Win Over Northwestern
Sept. 23, 2012
The No. 12 University of Minnesota volleyball team defeated the Northwestern Wildcats, 3-1 by scores of 17-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-15, today in Evanston, Ill. With the win, the Golden Gophers (11-2 overall) improve to 2-0 in Big Ten play.
Minnesota had three players with double-digit kills as Katherine Harms had 19, Ashley Wittman had 15 and Tori Dixon had 13. Dana Knudsen held the best Gopher hitting percentage when she capitalized for seven kills in 12 swings (.583). Alexandra Palmer had a match-high 54 assists, while Daly Santana had 13 digs, followed by Lindsey Lawmaster had 10.
Minnesota led the match in kills (54), assists (57) and blocks. (11.5). After Northwestern had five blocks to zero in the first set, Minnesota rebounded and had 11.5 in the remaining three sets and allowed just three for the Wilcats. The 11.5 blocks tied a season best as the Gophers had 11.5 in the Texas win (9/6).
Northwestern came out of the gate with a 9-3 lead that the Golden Gophers couldn’t overcome and fell, 25-17 in the first set. The Wildcats used five blocks in the first set and outhit the Gophers .333 to .111 for an early 1-0 lead. Minnesota, however, responded well and took the second set, 25-18. Like Northwestern did in the first set, Minnesota jumped out to a 9-3 lead. Dixon would out the set at 12-6 on back-to-back kills. The Wildcats would cut the Gopher lead to one at 16-15 on a kill from Madalyn Shalter. However, Minnesota went on a five-point run to put the lead back at 21-15. After a Harms kill for the 17th point, Kalysta White came in. Northwestern had three attack errors, including a Gopher block by Dixon and Palmer, while White gave the Gophers an ace. Minnesota finished the second set with a kill by Dixon for the 24th point and a kill by Knudsen for the 25th and set point.
After eight tie scores and five lead changes, Minnesota took the third set 25-21. Tied at 12-12, Minnesota had a block (Wittman, Knudsen) and two kills (Wittman and Knudsen) to go up, 15-12, forcing Northwestern to call a timeout. The Gophers, however, would open the gap to 20-15 on a kill from Santana. The Gophers, would close out the set on kills from Harms to take a 2-1 lead.
Minnesota would hit a match-best .394 en route to a 25-15 set and match win. With the score at 14-11, the Gophers had three-straight blocks on the Wildcats to push the lead to 17-11 as Knudsen and Harms combined for all three. The Gophers would continue to add the pressure when Harms put the score at 20-13 on a kill. Minnesota closed it out with a kill by Dixon, an ace by Santana and a kill by Wittman to earn the second Big Ten win.