Gophers lose in five sets to Nebraska

Go Gophers!
Ashley Wittman had a match-high 22 kills.

Go Gophers!
Ashley Wittman had a match-high 22 kills.
Go Gophers!

Oct. 15, 2011

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Although the No. 14 University of Minnesota volleyball team won the first two sets, No. 5 Nebraska stormed back and won the next three to defeat the Golden Gophers, 3-2, tonight at Williams Arena in front of 9,354 fans. The Gophers won the first two sets, 30-28, 25-19, but fell in the next three, 10-25, 12-25 and 11-15. With the loss the Gophers drop to 11-6 on the season and 4-4 in the Big Ten. The Cornhuskers improve to 8-0 in the Big Ten and 15-1 on the season.

The 9,354 attendance marks the fourth-largest crowd to witness a Gopher volleyball match. The largest crowd dates back to 2004 when Minnesota hosted Illinois and 10,927 fans in a 3-1 win.

Minnesota was led by Ashley Wittman, who had a match-high 22 kills and her second double double in as many nights with 12 digs. Katherine Harms had 14 kills, while Tori Dixon had 12 kills and hit a team-best .286. Jessica Granquist had a team-best 20 digs, while Hailey Cowleshad 18.

Minnesota and Nebraska's first set wasn't decided until the Gophers won it at 30-28 after going through 15 tie scores and seven lead changes. Minnesota jumped out to a 15-11 lead before Nebraska responded. The Huskers closed the gap at 19-19 and then took the lead at 22-20 before Minnesota then answered back. Wittman came to life and had four attempts, including three kills to put it at 23 all. Tied at 24 all, Minnesota went up by a point five times before Wittman ended the first set with her ninth kill and a 30-28 win.

Minnesota jumped out to a 2-0 lead when the Gophers earned a 25-19 second-set win. The Gophers held a 19-12 lead when the Huskers' Brooke Delano had back to back attack errors. The Gophers had back-to-back kills by Harms and Wittman to force a Nebraska timeout. The Gophers had kills from Wittman and Dixon to Nebraska's one from Gina Mancuso to win the set.

However, Nebraska came out with a vengeance in three and four, winning the sets, 25-10 and 25-12. The Huskers hit .345 in the third set and .393 in the fourth set to force a fifth-set decision. Nebraska went up, 6-2, but the Gophers battled back to put them within two at 7-5, forcing Nebraska to take a timeout. However, Nebraska closed out the set and the match with a kill by Hannah Werth to win it, 15-11.

Minnesota travels to Wisconsin on Wednesday night and then to Purdue on Saturday. Wednesday's match against the Badgers will be at 7 p.m. CT (free audio available) and 6 p.m. CT against Purdue (Purdue free audio).