Dec. 7, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS-- The University of Minnesota volleyball team defeated Colorado in five sets to advance to its fifth-straight NCAA Regional Semifinal. The Golden Gophers (29-6) won the first two sets, 25-20, 25-18, lost the next two, 17-25, 21-25 and won the fifth and deciding set, 15-9.
The Gophers were led by Ashley Wittman and Tori Dixon, who each had 19 kills. Wittman added a double-double with 12 digs. Daly Santana also had a double-double with 12 kills and 12 digs, while providing four aces. Lindsey Lawmaster led the Gophers with 14 digs, while Hannah Tapp had four blocks.
Despite Colorado out-hitting the Gophers .327 to .295, and a 12-8 block advantage, the Gophers had 73 kills and a season-high 10 aces.
First Set: Despite nine early tie scores and six lead changes the Gophers pulled away in the first set to take a 1-0 lead and a 25-20 set win. Minnesota hit .453 to Colorado's .353 as Wittman had five kills. Tied at 13-13, Minnesota would take the lead for good on a Dixon kill. The Gophers would get another kill from Wittman and an ace from Dixon to go up, 16-13. Nora added a kill for a 19-16 score, while an ace by Lawmaster put the Gophers up four and forced Colorado to take a timeout. Colorado would cut the Gopher lead to two, but Minnesota finished out the set with three-straight kills (two from Wittman and one from Hannah Tapp) to close out the set.
Second Set: Dixon paced the Gophers when she had six kills and led the Gophers to a 25-18 set win. Minnesota hit .350 in the set, while it held Colorado to .281. The two teams again traded points and were tied to 15-15 before the Gophers went on a six-point run. A kill by Karlie Hauer, a kill from Dixon and an ace by Santana put the Gophers up 18-15 and forced the Buffaloes to take a timeout. Out of the break, Santana delivered another ace, while Wittman provided back-to-back kills for a 21-16 lead. The Gophers would finish off the set with a kill by Tapp and another by Nora to go up, 2-0.
Third Set: Colorado jumped out to a 7-1 lead, which set the tone for the remainder of the set and won it, 25-17. Minnesota hit just .088 in the set, while Colorado hit .375. In Kerra Schroeder's serve rotation, the Buffaloes earned six points to take a 7-1 lead. Colorado went up 11-4 as Minnesota took its second timeout. Nikki Lindow put Colorado up 16-9. The Gophers would attempt to climb back into the set with a block and a kill by Wittman for a 19-15 score, but Colorado closed it out with a set point from Alexis Austin and a kill from Taylor Simpson to trail 2-1.
Fourth Set: Colorado evened up the match with a 25-21 fourth set win to force a fifth match. Colorado hit .389 to Minnesota's .267 to win the set as Taylor Simpson had five of the team's 17 kills. Although the Gophers tied the set six times, Colorado maintained the lead for the set win. With an 11-9 Colorado lead, Tapp added a kill for an 11-9 deficit. However, the Buffaloes went on a 4-0 run to cushion the lead. Minnesota again came within one at 19-18, 20-19 and 21-20, but Colorado added a kill and a block to go up, 23-20. They won the set with a Gopher service error and a kill to tie the match.
Fifth Set: Minnesota hit .400 and produced 10 kills to win the fifth and final set, 15-9. The Gophers got three kills from Dixon, Tapp and Wittman to close out the fifth and held Colorado to a .158 clip. Wittman tied the set at 3-3 for the last time as the Gophers went on a three-point run. Minnesota had a block from Hauer and Tapp, forced a Colorado attack error, as Dixon provided an ace. The Buffaloes took a timeout and stopped the run with a kill from Kerra Schroeder. The Gophers, however, responded with three-straight kills, two from Wittman and one from Tapp to take a 9-4 lead. After a Tapp kill for a 10-5 margin, Colorado burned its second timeout. The Gophers would go up five on a Tapp kill (12-7) and pushed to match point with a kill from Dixon. Minnesota closed out the match with a Dixon kill, her 19th of the season.
Gophers Gear Up for NCAA Regionals
Minnesota is set to host Missouri, North Carolina and UCLA in the NCAA Regionals this week.
Four Earn All-Region Honors
Alexis Hart, Samantha Seliger-Swenson, Hannah Tapp, and Sarah Wilhite earned All-Region honors for the Golden Gophers. Molly Lohman and Paige Tapp earned region honorable mentions.
NCAA Sets Regionals, Gophers Play Friday
Match and television/streaming times have been slated for the NCAA Division I Volleyball Regional Semifinals and Finals next weekend.