Dec. 6, 2013
The No. 10 University of Minnesota swept Radford in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, tonight at the Sports Pavilion. The Golden Gophers (28-6) won 25-11, 25-19, 25-8 to advance to the second round, which will be held tomorrow night, 7 p.m., also at the Sports Pavilion. The Gophers will face Colorado as it defeated Iowa State, earlier today in four sets.
The Gophers used just an hour and nine minutes to get through their first NCAA round. Minnesota hit .362 to Radford's .053 and held a 44-36 dig advantage. Minnesota also outblocked the Highlanders, 10-4.
Minnesota was led by Tori Dixon, who had 12 kills, didn't commit an error, had 17 attempts and hit .706. Daly Santana had eight kills, hit .350, had five aces and five digs. Ashley Wittman led the Gophers with 16 digs and had seven kills. Katie Schau had a team-best 20 assists, while Alexandra Palmer had 16 kills and nine digs.
First Set: Minnesota held a perfect sideout ratio in the first set, while it had 18 kills, three errors and 30 attempts. Wittman led the Gophers with five kills, followed by Santana, Dixon and Tapp with three. Minnesota opened the first set with a 9-3 lead and never looked back. Dixon provided back-to-back aces for Minnesota's seventh and eighth points of the match, while Wittman added a kill for the 9-3 lead. Minnesota went up 14-7 on a kill from Santana, while she also had an ace for the Gophers' 16th point. Nora and Tapp added kills for a 20-10, while the duo combined for a block. The Gophers would close out the set on three-straight kills, one from Tapp and two from Santana to win the set, 25-11.
Second Set: The Gophers went up, 2-0 with a 25-19 second set win. After the two teams tied at 11-11, Minnesota strung together three-straight points with a block from Dixon and Nora, a kill by Santana and a Radford ball-handling error. Minnesota provided another two blocks for a 20-14 cushion, which forced the Highlanders to take a timeout. Out of the break, Radford had two kills from Emma Deininger, but Minnesota ended the small run with another block from Hauer and Tapp. Minnesota finished off the set with a Santana kill and a kill from Dixon to bring it to set point. A block from Santana and Dixon closed out the second set as the Gophers took a 2-0 lead.
Third Set: The Gophers came out of intermission with a commanding 14-1 lead and took the third set, 25-8. After a Radford service error, Minnesota started a run on Schau's serve rotation. In that span, Minnesota had four kills and forced two Radford attack errors to jump up, 7-0. After a kill by Cheyanne James, the Gophers responded with a Dixon kill. With an 8-1 lead, Minnesota would add to its lead on another run, this time during Santana's serve rotation. In that rotation, Santana delivered three aces, a kill by Dixon and Wittman as the two combined for a block. Minnesota led 16-2 on another Dixon kill and jumped up, 18-3 on a Palmer ace. Minnesota would later use two blocks to go up, 23-7. A Radford attack error pushed it to match point, while Sarah Wilhite finished off the night with the Gophers' 42 nd kill and the win.
Gophers Hit the Road to Indiana/Purdue
Minnesota travels to Indiana and Purdue this weekend to compete on Friday and Sunday.
Wilhite Garners B1G Laurels
Sarah Wilhite garnered Big Ten Player of the Week honors after a stellar opening week of Big Ten play.
Gophers defeat No. 17 Ohio State in Four
Minnesota defeated No. 17 Ohio State in four sets on Saturday to improve to 10-1 and 2-0 in the Big Ten.