Gophers Come Back to Defeat No. 25 Michigan State In Five Sets
Oct. 6, 2012
The No. 10 University of Minnesota volleyball program came from behind to defeat No. 25 Michigan State in five sets, tonight at the Sports Pavilion in front of 3,658 fans. The Golden Gophers (14-3 overall) trailed 2-1 and came back to win the fourth and fifth sets to improve to 5-1 in the Big Ten Conference.
Minnesota had three players with double-digit kills. Katherine Harms paced the Gophers with 23 kills, while Ashley Wittman had her second-straight double double game with 14 kills and a match-best 16 digs. Dana Knudsen tied her best at Minnesota with 11 kills and hit a team-best .625. As a team, Minnesota out hit the Spartans, .293 to .201, including a .467 mark in the fifth and deciding set.
After eight tie scores and three lead changes, Michigan State took the first set, 25-22. The Spartans used a 5-0 run to push the score at 15-10. Minnesota would tie the set at 20 on a kill by Harms and a MSU attack error. MSU would have kills by Amy Dentlinger for its 23rd and 24th point and a Gopher attack error to close out the set and go up, 1-0.
Minnesota used a .458 hitting clip to tie the match at 1-1 and a 25-15 second set win. After having one block in the first set, the Gophers accomplished four in the second. The Gophers went up 9-5 on a kill from Knudsen. Tori Dixon and Alexandra Palmer combined for a block at 16-9, while the Gophers jumped out to an 18-10 lead on a Dixon ace. Minnesota closed out the set with a block from Knudsen and Harms, a kill by Harms and a block by Dixon to head into the break, 1-1.
MSU took the third set when it used a late rally for a 25-23 set win. Tied at 18 all, MSU went on a 5-0 run for a 23-19 lead, including back-to-back aces by Jazmine White. Minnesota, however, attempted a comeback as it had an ace from Wittman and three-straight kills by Harms to tie the set. The Spartans ended the set with two kills from Mathews and Dentlinger to go up, 25-23 and take a 2-1 match lead.
Trailing 20-15 in the fourth, Minnesota came back and took the set, 25-23 to force a fifth set. Trailing by five (20-15), the Gophers started the comeback with two kills from Wittman and an attack error by MSU to pull within 20-18 as the Spartans took a timeout. Minnesota, however, continued the pressure when it came out of the break with kills from Harms and Knudsen. Tied at 20, the two teams tied the remainder of the set three times (21-21, 22-22, 23-23). Minnesota finished the set with a kill from Harms and a block from Santana and Dixon forcing just the second five-set match for the Gophers this season.
Minnesota continued the momentum from the fourth as it jumped out to a 6-3 lead in the fifth set. Tied at 3-3, the Gophers had a kill from Knudsen and followed with a pair of aces from Wittman, which forced MSU to take a timeout. Minnesota, added the pressure when it had a block from Dixon and Palmer, followed by a Santana kill to push the score to 10-5. Minnesota would then receive a kill from Harms for an 11-5 score. As MSU threatened with back-to-back points at 11-7, Minnesota would finish the set with a MSU service error, a kill by Wittman and back-to-back attack errors by MSU for the win.
Minnesota holds a 1-1 record in fifth-set matches and are 5-3 against ranked teams this year.
Minnesota hits the road for the first time in two weeks when it travels to Iowa and No. 5 Nebraska next weekend. Friday's match against the Hawkeyes is at 7 p.m., while the Sunday's tilt is at 2 p.m. and televised live on ESPN2.