Gophers Move to Elite Eight With a Four-Set Win Over Purdue
Dec. 7, 2012
The University of Minnesota volleyball team advanced to the Elite Eight as the Golden Gophers defeated host Purdue in four sets, tonight in West Lafayette, Ind. The Gophers (27-7) fell in the first set, 23-25, but came back and won the next three, 26-24, 25-23, 25-21. Minnesota plays No. 1 seed Penn State tomorrow at 4 pm ET, 3 p.m CT and will be televised on ESPNU.
Minnesota had three players achieve double doubles. Daly Santana had a team-high 16 kills and 14 digs, while Katherine Harms had 15 kills and 10 digs. Ashley Wittman provided 14 kills and 12 digs as Tori Dixon had 11 kills and a team-high five blocks. Morgan Bohl led the Gophers with a career-high 19 digs.
Tied at 11, Purdue would take the lead at 12-11 en route to a 25-23 set win. Minnesota jumped out to an early 5-1 lead, only to have the Boilermakers battle back and tie up the set. Purdue would go on a 6-1 run and take a 17-12 lead. Minnesota, however, would battle back and later pull within one at 22-21 on a block by Dana Knudsen and Harms. The Boilermakers, however, would finish off the set on a kill by Ariel Turner for a 25-23 win. Dixon and Harms each had three kills in that set and were out-blocked, 3.0-1.0.
Minnesota tied the match at 1-1 with a 26-24 second set win. The set was decided after 11 tie scores and four lead changes. After Purdue jumped out to a 7-2 lead, the Gophers retaliated and tied the set at nine with a kill from Wittman. As the Gophers trailed, 19-17, Minnesota had back-to-back kills from Santana and Harms to knot it at 19. Minnesota would go up, 24-22 for set point on a kill by Dixon. However, Purdue would tie up the set at 24 all on a kill from Anna Drewry. Minnesota finished off the set with back-to-back kills from team captain Wittman to tie up the match.
Minnesota went up 2-1 with a 25-23 third-set win. Minnesota came out of the intermission and started the third set with a 9-3 lead. Purdue would pull to 13-12 on a Rachel Davis kill, before Minnesota would build up the lead again at 19-14 on a Purdue bad set. The Boilermakers, however, would come back and close the deficit to 22-21 on a kill from Annie Drews. Minnesota capitalized on a block from Harms and Dixon, while Purdue had an attack error for a 25-23 Minnesota set win.
Santana and Harms paved the way for the Gophers in the fourth set to put away Purdue with a 25-21 set win. Santana had seven kills and four digs, while Harms had six kills. Of her 12 attempts, Santana hit .500 in the fourth and committed just one error. Minnesota also out-blocked the Boilermakers, 3.0-1.0. As the two teams were tied at 17, Minnesota would pull ahead two on kills from Harms and Santana at 19-17. Santana would also add another kill to put the Gophers at 21-18 to force Purdue to call a timeout. Minnesota, however, would add a four-point lead when Santana and Dixon combined for a block. Minnesota would advance to the next round on a kill from Harms for the 24th point and finish off the match on a block from Knudsen and Wittman.
The last time the Gopher volleyball program made it to the Elite Eight, it went onto the NCAA Final Four in 2009. Minnesota defeated Colorado State in the Sweet 16 that year and Florida State in the Elite Eight for a trek to the 2009 Final Four, where the Gophers fell to Texas, 19-25, 20-25, 15-25.Minnesota lost both matches to Penn State earlier this year in a 3-0 loss in Minneapolis and 3-1 in State College, Pa.