No. 14 Minnesota Posts Comeback to Upset No. 9 Nebraska, 3-2
Nov. 16, 2012
Trailing 2-1, Minnesota came back to upset No. 9 Nebraska in five sets (25-12, 15-25, 22-25, 25-19, 21-19), tonight in front of 5,368 fans at the Sports Pavilion. The win over the Cornhuskers marked the first since Oct. 4, 1980. The win also marks a tie for second place in the Big Ten as both Minnesota and Nebraska are now 12-5 in conference play. Penn State clinched the Big Ten title with a 3-0 win over Indiana tonight.
The two teams were close in every statistical category. Minnesota outhit the Huskers, .287 to .263 and narrowly out-dug them, 56-54. As Nebraska held an 11.0-10.0 lead in blocks, the Gophers had 69 kills to its 63.
Individually, Minnesota had four with double-digit kills and three with double-double nights. Daly Santana led the Gophers with a career-high 17 kills and had 10 digs. Tori Dixon tied a season-high 16 kills, and had seven blocks and two crucial aces, while Katherine Harms had 13 kills and a team-high 12 digs. Ashley Wittman finished with 14 kills and nine digs, while Alexandra Palmer had 48 assists and 11 digs. Morgan Bohl saw time as the Gopher libero and had six digs in her first-ever collegiate match.
Minnesota jumped out of the gate with a 5-2 run to start the match and held the lead for the entire set to win, 25-12. The Golden Gophers hit a stifling .520 in the set to Nebraska's .080 percentage. Santana, Dixon and Harms all had four kills in the second, while Knudsen capitalized on both of her two attempts. After a Nebraska service error for a 15-8 score, Harms went back to the line and in that rotation, the Gophers solidified their lead with seven points. Harms started the run by sandwiching two aces around a kill from Dixon. After Nebraska took a timeout, Minnesota rattled off another four points, including a block from Dixon and Mia Tabberson. Minnesota closed out the set on a kill Knudsen.
Nebraska responded back with a 25-15 second-set win to tie the match at 1-1. Nebraska hit .400 to Minnesota's .138 and, like the Gophers in the first set, jumped out to an early lead (4-0) and didn't look back. After a Gopher timeout at 4-0, Dixon got the Gophers on the board with a kill. As Nebraska took a 10-3 lead, the Gophers used their second timeout after which Knudsen had a kill. Minnesota trailed 19-9 and gained four points after Nebraska had three errors, followed by a Wittman kill. Nebraska, however, would finish the set on a 5-1 run to win the set.
Nebraska took the lead on a 25-22 third-set win over the Gophers when it hit a .379 rate of success to Minnesota's .281. The Huskers built up a 17-11 lead until Minnesota were able to build momentum back. The Gophers cut the deficit to five at 20-15 when Minnesota had a kill from Knudsen and a block from Knudsen and Wittman. After a Mancuso attack error, she also stopped the Gopher run on a kill, while Harms had a kill to set the score at 21-18. As Nebraska held set point, the Gophers made things interesting as they pushed Nebraska to three set points. At 24-19, Minnesota got a point off a Nebraska attack error, a block from Dixon and Tabberson and a kill by Santana. However, the Huskers would close out the set on a kill from Morgan Broekhuis for the lead.
Minnesota erased a 7-2 deficit and took the lead for good at 19-18 to take the fourth set and force a fifth. As the Huskers went up 7-2, Minnesota went on an 8-0 run to take a 10-7 lead. After the Gophers blocked Hannah Werth in two straight attempts to put the score at 7-5, Harms would deliver her third ace of the night, while Nebraska's Megan Haggery had an attack error to tie the set. Minnesota would take the lead on a kill from Santana. Minnesota would go up, 12-9 on a Nebraska service error and a 14-11 lead on a kill by Harms. Nebraska closed the gap on a Lara Dykstra ace to tie it at 16-16. A Nebraska block tied it again at 18 all, but Santana helped the Gophers take the lead for good on a kill. While Santana was serving, Minnesota collected four points to increase its lead. Dixon would provide back-to-back kills for a 20-18 edge. After an ace by Santana, Dixon would use her second overpass in Santana's rotation. The only thing that stopped the Gopher run would be a service error to put the score at 23-19. Minnesota would finish off the set with a kill by Dixon and a Nebraska attack error to bring a fifth set.
Like the fourth set, Minnesota erased an early lead in the fifth after Nebraska jumped out to a 7-2 score. Minnesota again had the comeback as Wittman started things off with back-to-back kills. Dixon would go back to serve and sandwiched two aces around a Wittman kill to tie up the set, 7-7. Minnesota would then go up as much as 11-8 on a block by Wittman and a kill by Knudsen. The Huskers responded and tied up the match at 12 on a kill by Mancuso. From then on, the two teams would tie up the fifth set a total of seven times. As Nebraska pushed it to set point at 14-13, Harms tied it up at 14 on a kill. After a Santana block, Mancuso tied it at 15 and Werth put the score at 16-15 with a kill. Minnesota answered with back-to-back kills from Santana and Wittman to push the score at 17-16, Minnesota. After a Morgan Broekhuis and Hayley Thramer block, Wittman provided a kill to tie it at 17. Werth found another kill, but the Huskers also had an attack error. After a kill by Meghan Haggerty to put the set at 19 all, Minnesota would close out the set on a kill from Knudsen, while she and Santana blocked Haggerty to win the set and the match.
Minnesota will play again tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. when it hosts Iowa. It's also senior night for Harms, Brianna Haugen, Knudsen and Tabberson with a presentation to follow the match.