The No. 10 University of Minnesota volleyball team had four individuals with double-digit kills as the Golden Gophers defeated Michigan, 3-1 (25-13, 25-20, 23-25 and 25-22), tonight at the Sports Pavilion. With the win, the Gophers are now 13-3 overall and improve to 4-1 in Big Ten Conference play.
Minnesota capitalized on a 9-2 run to push the first set to 25-13 win. The Gophers jumped out to a 6-2 lead on a Santana ace, only to have the Wolverines battle back and tie the set at 8-8. After Michigan tied, however, the Gophers went on their run and pushed the score to 12-8 and later 17-10. On back-to-back attack errors by Michigan at 12-8, the Gophers would later go up 17-10 on back-to-back aces by Harms and forced a Wolverine timeout. After a kill by Michigan's Lexi Miller for 20-13 score, the Gophers cruised for five-straight points to end the set. After two kills from Wittman and another by Harms, Palmer delivered back-to-back aces to win the set. Minnesota hit .519 in the set to Michigan's .276 and had 15 kills to 11. Minnesota had five aces in that set, two from Harms and Palmer and one from Santana.
Minnesota trailed by two midway through the second, but defeated Michigan 25-20 to take a 2-0 lead. Michigan held a 13-10 lead when Jennifer Cross had a kill. Minnesota battled and tied the set at 17-17 on a Wolverine hitting error. Minnesota took the lead for good when Wittman had a solo block at 18-17. After Michigan attack error, a kill by Wittman and block by Dana Knudsen, the Gophers jumped out to a 21-17 lead. Minnesota closed out the set with a kill by Harms and another by Dixon for the 2-0 lead.
The Gophers fell in the third set, 25-23 after a comeback fell just short. Trailing 16-10 and later 18-13, Minnesota went on a 6-0 run to erase the lead and go up 20-19 with back-to-back kills by Harms and Wittman. The two teams would tie the score three times late until Michigan had kills by Cross and Davis to go up, 24-22. The Wolverines had its best hitting set when it hit .318 to the Gopher clip of .255.
Harms had six kills, while Santana and Wittman each had four to pace the Gophers to a fourth-set and team win. After seven tie scores and three lead changes in the fourth set, the Gophers took the lead for good at 12-11 on a Michigan service error. Minnesota widened the gap to four on a kill by Wittman at 18-14. The Wolverines, however, came within one when they had a kill from Erwin. Minnesota went up four late on a block by Dixon and Santana to put it at 24-20 and match point. Michigan pulled within two on a kill and an ace, but Harms closed the match with her 20th kill of the match.
Minnesota hosts No. 25 Michigan State Saturday night at the Sports Pavilion. The Gophers and Spartans begin the battle at 6:30 p.m. It's Facebook Night at the Pav. Join the Gopher Volleyball facebook page (facebook.com/GopherVolleyball) and receive a promotional for up to four free tickets.