Oct. 9, 2013
The No. 11 University of Minnesota volleyball team dropped a five-set decision to No. 4 Penn State in University Park, Pa. The Golden Gophers (15-3, 3-2 in the Big Ten) fell in the first set, 25-19, won the second 25-23, fell in the third, 25-21, won in the fourth, 25-22, and dropped a 15-11 decision in the final set.
Minnesota had three in double-digit kills. Ashley Wittman recorded a season-best 18 kills and 22 digs, which was one shy of her career high. Tori Dixon finished with 17 kills, while Daly Santana added 15 and Sarah Wilhite nine.
The Gophers established a season-best 18.0 blocks, led by Dixon with nine and Hannah Tapp with six. The Nittany Lions had 18.5 blocks and a 76-61 kill advantage. As a team, Minnesota hit .208 to Penn State's .245.
Alexandra Palmer had 46 assists and 10 digs for the Gophers.
Ariel Scott paced Penn State with 25 kills, while Katie Slay, Megan Courtney and Deja McClendon all had double-digit kills.
Minnesota returns to action at 6 p.m. on Saturday when it travels to No. 14 Ohio State.
-Ashley Wittman established a season-best in kills (18) and digs (22). Her 22 was just one shy of her career-best, which was 23 against Wisconsin (10/19/11).
-Tori Dixon added a season-best nine blocks in the match. Her season-best and career-best have both come against Penn State (last year, 11/2/12)
-Sydney Howard added a career-best five blocks against PSU
-Minnesota had three players earn double-doubles in Wittman (18K, 22D) Santana (15K, 11D) and Palmer (46A, 10D)
-Minnesota had a season-best 18.0 blocks, beating out the 14.5 it had against Iowa. The Gophers have had double-digit team blocks in eight games this season.
Set 1: As PSU held a 13-11 lead, the Nittany Lions used a 5-0 run to increase its lead at 18-11. The Gophers, however, closed the gap to 21-18 on a kill from Wittman and a PSU attack error. Minnesota earned its 19 point on a PSU attack error. The Nittany Lions added three points on kills by Katie Slay and Ariel Scott, and the Gophers committed an attack error to end the set. Minnesota hit .154 to PSU's .250 as Scott had 10 kills.
Set 2: Minnesota jumped out to a 5-2 lead, but PSU would battle back and tie the set at 7-7 and 9-9 before the Gophers went on a four-point run for a 13-9 advantage. Wittman had three kills in that span, while she and Tapp added a block. After Dixon and Santana combined for a block at the 16-12 mark, PSU would rally and go on a 4-1 run to give Minnesota a 17-16 advantage. The Gophers, however, responded after taking a timeout and went on a 4-0 run of its own with three kills from Wittman and another from Tapp. As Minnesota held a 21-17 lead, PSU pushed back at the end of the set and closed within one at 24-23. The Gophers would claim the set, 25-23, after a PSU attack error. Minnesota was led to the set win by Wittman (8 kills) and Tapp (3 blocks).
Set 3: The two teams held a close set as both teams traded points through the first 15 points. Minnesota took a two-point lead at 16-14 on a block by Sydney Howard. PSU, however, would come back on a kill by Deja McClendon and a Gopher attack error. The teams were tied at 17 and 18, before Scott had a kill and a PSU block. Minnesota, however, would tie the set at 21 on back-to-back kills from Santana. The Nittany Lions responded after a timeout and finish the set on a 4-0 run to take a 2-1 lead in the match. PSU hit .310 in the set to Minnesota's .195, as the Gophers out blocked the Nittany Lions, 5-2.
Set 4: Minnesota jumped out to an 8-3 lead on a kill by Santana as PSU took its first timeout. Wittman added a kill to put the set at 15-7, while Wilhite made it a 17-10 lead with a kill. PSU responded and went on a 4-1 run for to cut Minnesota's advantage to 18-14. PSU then got a block and a kill to close the deficit to 20-18. With Minnesota leading 23-21, Santana notched back-to-back kills to tie the match and send it to a fifth and deciding set. Minnesota limited PSU to .211 hitting mark as Minnesota hit .263. Santana led the offensive charge with six kills, while Wittman added five.
Set 5: Penn State jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the fifth set on kills by Slay. PSU was up 10-5 before Minnesota added back-to-back points to cut the gap to two on a Wittman kill and a PSU attack error. The Gophers forced a Nittany Lion timeout after a Tapp block pulled Minnesota to within one at 11-10. PSU came out of the break and got two kills from slay and Gopher ball-handling error to secure the five-set win.
Gopher Spotlight: Seniors Alugbue and Santana
In our regular season home finale, the University of Minnesota honored its seniors, Toni Alugbue and Daly Santana in a post-match celebration.
Gophers Beat Ohio State in Five-Set Thriller
Minnesota ended its regular home season in a five-set win over Ohio State, 25-27, 29-31, 25-17, 25-15, 15-9. The Gophers are now 25-4 overall and 17-2 in the Big Ten.
Gophers Close Out Regular Season This Week
Minnesota hosts No. 16 Ohio State Wednesday and travels to Indiana Saturday to close out regular season.