Minnesota Volleyball Sweeps Illinois at the Barn
Oct. 28, 2012
The No. 10 University of Minnesota volleyball program defeated Illinois in straight sets (25-19, 26-24, 25-22), today, at Williams Arena. With the win, the Golden Gophers improve to 19-4 on the season and 10-2 in Big Ten Conference play.
Minnesota outhit the Illini .303 to .208, outdug the Illini, 47-42, and scored 58.0 points to their 45.0 to win in straight sets. The Gophers were led by Katherine Harms who had a double double with a match-high 17 kills and 12 digs, while Tori Dixon had 14 kills, a team-best .435 hitting percentage and two aces. Ashley Wittman had a match-best 13 digs and eight kills, while Lindsey Lawmaster had seven digs.
Harms paved the way for the Gophers in the first set when she had six kills in nine swings and a .556 clip for a 25-19 set win. Minnesota built up a 17-12 lead when the Gophers with three-straight points. After a kill from Wittman, she and Dana Knudsen paired for a block, while Mia Tabberson provided a kill from Wittman. Illinois would close the gap to 22-18 on a kill by Jocelynn Birks and a Gopher hitting error, but Minnesota would finish off the Illini with a kill and ace by Harms and ended with a Illini service error to win the set. Minnesota outhit Illinois .207 to .069 in the first.
Trailing as late at 21-23, Minnesota would rally to take the second set, 26-24 and go up, 2-0. Minnesota trailed as far down as four points at 14-18 until the Gophers came back and erased the deficit. Harms would put the set at 18-19 with an ace, but a Gopher attack error and a block by the Illini put them back up by three at 18-21. As Illinois held a two-point lead at 21-23 on a kill by Liz McHahon, the Illini had a service error and a Gopher block from Knudsen and Harms to tie up the set and force Illinois to take a timeout. Minnesota would go up 24-23 on an Illini attack error, but Illinois would tie it up at 24 all on a kill by Erin Johnson. The Gophers, however would take the set on a kill by Harms and a service ace by Wittman to lead the match 2-0. The two teams went through 12 tie scores and five lead changes before the Gopher won the set.
The Gophers improved their hitting percentage in each set as they hit a .421 clip to take the set and the match, 25-22. After the Gophers went up, 12-8, Illinois came back and tied the set at 17 on an ace by Jackie Wolfe and took a one-point lead on a kill from Annie Luhrsen at 17-18. The two teams would exchange points as Knudsen would have a kill for the Gophers' 19th point and Harms on a kill for a 20-20 tie score. The two teams were tied at 22 as the Gophers had a service error. Minnesota, however, would capitalize on three-straight points on a kill by Dixon and a kill by Knudsen to put it at set point. Wittman would finish off the set and the match with her eighth kill as Tabberson set her up.
Along with the match, Tabberson reached her goal of raising $10,000 for pediatric cancer research. Since she reached her goal, she will shave her head on Monday, Oct. 29. Although the Gophers are still collecting funds, Tabberson has raised $10,831 towards the St. Baldrick's Foundation.
Minnesota will hit the road next weekend and face No. 1 Penn State and No. 20 Ohio State. Friday's match will be televised live on the Big Ten Network at 7 p.m. CT. Due to Ohio State football, the Gophers and Buckeyes have moved their Saturday match to play on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. CT.