Nov. 13, 2011
For the first time since 2009, the No. 16 University of Minnesota volleyball team was swept at home by an opponent, falling to No. 24 Michigan, today at the Sports Pavilion (25-21, 25-21, 25-22). With the loss, the Golden Gophers fall to 15-10 overall and 8-8 in the Big Ten Conference.
The Gophers were led by a junior Katherine Harms and sophomore Tori Dixon. Both had double digit kills on Sundays. Harms recorded a double double with 13 kills and 12 digs. Dixon finished the match with 11 kills, nine digs, two blocks and a service ace. Dixon also had a team-high hitting percentage (.417).
Both teams hit over .400 in the first set as Michigan went up, 1-0 when it won, 25-21. Although Minnesota capitalized on 16 kills in 36 chances (.417), Michigan had 20 kills in 45 attempts (.400) to win the set. Leading 20-16, the Gophers attempted the comeback and closed the gap to 23-21 when Dixon and Wittman had back-to-back kills, but the Wolverines responded with kills from Lexi Erwin and Courtney Fletcher for the win.
The Gophers fell by the same score in the second set as the Wolverines went up 2-0. Like the first set, Minnesota added back-to-back points to pull within two points as Cowles had a kill and Michigan had an attack error to put it at 23-21, Michigan. However, the Wolverines took a timeout and earned the last two points, including a kill by Erwin to win the set. After having just one error in the first set, the Gophers had nine in the second and hit .132 to Michigan's .163.
Michigan went on a seven-point swing to go up, 14-8 early in the third set, which paced the Wolverines to the win. The Gophers replaced starting setter Kellie McNeil with Mia Tabberson and she delivered back-to-back aces to put the score at 19-15 Michigan. With the Gophers trailing 23-19, Dixon had three-straight kills as the Gophers closed the deficit to one at 23-22, forcing Michigan to call a timeout. The Wolverines responded with kills from Claire McElheny and Molly Toon to close out the set and match at 25-22.
It was the first time Minnesota fell to Michigan at home since Sept. 26, 1997 in a 3-2 loss to the Wolverines. Minnesota defeated Michigan on its home court on Oct. 7, when it earned its first road win against the Wolverines since 2005. Minnesota's last three-set home loss dated back to Oct. 11, 2009 during Penn State's consecutive win streak.
Minnesota will look to regroup next weekend when it faces Nebraska on Wednesday and Iowa on Saturday. The Gophers and Cornhuskers will compete at 7 p.m. Wednesday night, live on the Big Ten Network and then face Iowa, also at 7 p.m. Saturday in Iowa City, Iowa.
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