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The No. 10 University of Minnesota volleyball team defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes in four sets, 26-24, 18-25, 25-15 and 25-17 in Iowa City, Iowa. With the win the Golden Gophers improve to 15-3 overall and 6-1 in Big Ten play.
Minnesota was led by three with double-digit kills in Ashley Wittman (16 kills), Katherine Harms (15) and Tori Dixon (14), while Daly Santana had nine. The Golden Gophers also had four individuals with double-digit digs as Wittman had a team-high 17, Santana had 16, Lindsey Lawmaster had 15 and Katherine Harms with 11. It was the third-straight game in which Wittman held a double double. Dana Knudsen hit a team-best .462 when she had seven kills on 13 swings and just one error. Alexandra Palmer had a match-high 51 assists. As a team, the Gophers outhit the Hawkeyes, .236 to .182, outdug them, 74-65 and had six aces.
The two teams went through 13 tie scores, but Minnesota took the first set, 26-24. Minnesota held a 19-16 lead, but Iowa battled back and tied the set on a kill by Alessandra Dietz and took the lead on a kill by Rachael Bedell. The Gophers and Hawkeyes would trade points until the 24-24 mark. After the tie, Minnesota would finish the set with a kill by Knudsen and ended the set with a service ace from Lawmaster to go up, 1-0.
Iowa outhit the Gophers in the second set, .235 to .029 to take it, 25-18. Minnesota was up early, 10-6, but again the Hawkeyes battled back and tied the set at 14 and took the lead for good on a kill by Dietz at 16-15. The Hawkeyes would finish the set with a kill by Alex Lovell, a Minnesota attack error and an ace by Allison Straumann to tie up the match, 1-1.
However, Minnesota came out of the break and cruised to a 25-15 win in the third set to go up, 2-1. Minnesota had six third-set kills from Wittman as the Gophers jumped out to a commanding 17-10 lead. With back-to-back kills by Harms and Santana and a seven-point lead, it forced the Hawkeyes to take a timeout. With a kill by Dixon and back-to-back by Wittman, the Gophers increased the lead to 21-13. Minnesota would finish off the set with another kill by Wittman, a kill by Harms for the 24th point, while Iowa had a service error for the 25th point and the lead.
Minnesota would take the match with a 25-17 fourth-set win. After a tie score at 13-13, Minnesota would use a three-point run with back-to-back kills by Wittman and a kill by Dixon to jump up, 16-13 as Iowa took a timeout. Iowa would come back and cut the Gopher lead to 16-15, but Minnesota would go up five at 20-15 on an Iowa attack error. The Gophers would get their last five points on a kill by Santana, and ace by Wittman, an Iowa attack error and a kill by Santana to finish off the Hawkeyes for the team's 15th win of the season.
Minnesota has Saturday off before it plays No. 3 Nebraska, Sunday at 2 p.m. Sunday’s match against the Cornhuskers will be televised live on ESPN2.
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