Dec. 3, 2011
Minnesota (20-11) rallied from a 0-2 deficit to defeat Washington (24-8) in five sets by scores of 18-25, 20-25, 25-17, 25-21, 15-11 to advance to the NCAA Regionals on Saturday, Dec. 3.
Minnesota will host Iowa State, who defeated Miami (Fla.) earlier today, in the NCAA Regionals on Friday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. In the other regional matchup at Minneapolis. Purdue will face Florida State at 5 p.m. on Dec. 9.
It marked the second time this year the Gophers overcame a 0-2 deficit in a victory. The other rally came when Minnesota won in five sets against Michigan in Ann Arbor on Oct. 7.
The Gophers also rallied from 0-2 for the second time in school history in an NCAA Tournament match. The other occasion came on Dec. 4, 1999 when Minnesota rallied to defeated USC in Los Angeles in the NCAA Tournament.
The Gophers were led by junior Katherine Harms who had career-highs in kills (29) and digs (24). Harms' 29 kills were the most by a Gopher an NCAA Tournament match since Erin Martin had 31 against Georgia Tech in the NCAA Regional Semifinals on Dec. 10, 2004.
Sophomore Ashley Wittman also had 23 kills on the night, including 18 in the final three sets and six in the fifth set. Senior Hailey Cowles (Eden Prairie, Minn.) finished with 11 kills and 21 digs, and had the final three kills of the match in the fifth set to close it out.
Mia Tabberson entered the match in the third set, and finished with 45 assists and two service aces. Jessica Granquist finished with 24 digs, while senior Ariana Filho finished with seven kills, six digs and five blocks.
Minnesota outhit Washington .249 to .227 for the match, and had 78 kills to 58 for the Huskies. The Gophers also had 95 digs to 74 for Washington. The Huskies did have 14.0 blocks to six for Minnesota on the night.
The Gophers trailed 0-2, before claiming the next two sets 25-17 and 25-21. In the fifth set, Minnesota jumped out to a 6-3 lead after back-to-back kills by Wittman. Washington answered with four of the next five points to tie the score at seven.
Filho answered with a kill and Tabberson followed with a service ace to make it 9-7. Wittman followed with consecutive kills to push it to 11-7. The Huskies trimmed the lead to 12-10 after Rowland and Vansant combined on a block. Cowles answered with consecutive kills to make it match point at 14-10. After Washington made it 14-11, Cowles finished the match with a kill.
Minnesota finished 14 kills to seven for Washington in the fifth set, and outhit the Huskies .407 to .350.
In the first set, Washington jumped out to a 1-0 lead by claiming the first set 25-18. With the score tied at six, the Huskies went on a 5-1 run to take an 11-7 lead. Minnesota scored four of the next points to cut the lead to 13-11 on a kill by Wittman.
Washington seized control with seven of the next nine points and took a 20-13 lead on a kill by Krista Vansant. The Huskies maintained the seven-point lead on the way to winning the first set.
The Huskies outhit Minnesota .318 to .109 in the set, and had 16 kills to 13 for the Gophers. Washington also committed only two attack errors to eight for Minnesota in the set. Harms led the way with six kills in 11 swings in the set.
Washington moved out to a 2-0 lead as it claimed the second set 25-20. The Huskies scored the first three points of the set, and never trailed in the second set. Minnesota cut the lead to 12-10 on a kill by Ariana Filho, but Washington answered with consecutive kills by Bianca Rowland.
Minnesota got the lead down to two points again at 18-16 after a kill by Wittman. However, Washington quickly responded with three straight points and moved ahead 21-16 when Rowland and Kylin Munoz combined on a block. McNeill answered with a kill and Filho delivered a solo block to cut it to 21-18, but Washington scored four of the final six points to close out the set.
Washington outhit Minnesota .244 to .100, and had five blocks in the second set. Harms collected seven kills in the set.
The Gophers responded by winning the third set 25-17 to make it 2-1. Minnesota jumped out to a 7-4 lead after a kill by Dixon. Washington cut the lead to one at 9-8 after a kill by Summer Ross. Minnesota responded with a three of the next four points and moved ahead 12-9 on a kill by Harms.
After a Vansant kill cut the Gopher lead to 12-10, Minnesota scored eight of the next 10 points and moved ahead 20-12 after consecutive kills by Harms and Wittman. Washington cut the lead to 23-17, before Cowles unleashed back-to-back kills to close out the set.
Minnesota outhit Washington .486 to .205 in the third set, and had 19 kills to 12 for the Huskies. Wittman led the way with seven kills in 10 swings for the Gophers.
The Gophers jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the fourth set after a kill by Wittman, but Washington scored seven of the next 10 points to tie it at nine. Minnesota scored the next three points and moved ahead 12-9 on a kill by Harms. Washington cut the lead to 14-13 on a kill by Rowland, but Harms answered with a kill and Huskies committed and attack error to give Minnesota a 16-13 lead.
With the score at 18-16, the Gophers went on a 4-0 run and took a 22-16 lead on a kill by Filho. Harms delivered a kill to make it set point at 24-19, and Cowles closed out the set with a kill to give Minnesota a 25-21 fourth-set victory to force it to a fifth set.
Washington was led by Vansant who had 22 kills and six digs, while Rowland had 13 kills and eight blocks. Jenna Orlandi finished with a match-high 25 digs and had four assists.
Gopher Volleyball Wins Big Ten Title
Minnesota wins its first Big Ten Conference championship title since 2002 and went 18-2 in league action.
Game Day Live: Gophers at Indiana
Follow the Gophers as they close out the Big Ten Conference season against Indiana, tonight at 6 p.m. CT.
Gopher Spotlight: Seniors Alugbue and Santana
In our regular season home finale, the University of Minnesota honored its seniors, Toni Alugbue and Daly Santana in a post-match celebration.