The 11th-ranked Minnesota volleyball team (1-0) held off a furious rally from No. 22 Kansas State (0-1) as it won in five sets by scores of 25-19, 25-16, 29-31, 24-26, 15-11 in the first match of the AVCA Showcase at the Qwest Center on Friday, Aug. 28.
With the win, the Golden Gophers are now 11-3 in season openers under Mike Hebert. The five set match was also the first in a season opener since Minnesota won in five against UAB on Sept. 4, 1992.
Minnesota was led by Gibbemeyer who had 17 kills, hit .351 (17-4-38), had six digs and five blocks. Brook Dieter finished with a team-high 18 kills and also had 12 digs. Sophomore Ariana Filho (Monument, Colo.) hit .444 (11-1-22) with 11 kills and three blocks.
In her first match as a Golden Gopher, Taylor Carico (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) had eight kills in 16 swings, 12 digs, four blocks and 52 assists. Freshman Tabitha Love (Dauphin, Manitoba) and senior Megan Wilson (Lincoln, Neb.) had nine and seven kills in their career matches at Minnesota. Wilson also had four digs, four assists and three blocks.
Senior libero Christine Tan (Safety Harbor, Fla.) had a team-high 26 digs and three assists, while sophomore defensive specialist Jessica Granquist (Blaine, Minn.) had 15 digs and a career-high five assists.
As a team, Minnesota outhit Kansas State .294 to .168 and had 72 kills to 62 for the Wildcats. Both teams had 10.0 blocks, but the Wildcats dominated the serve game as they had 10 service aces to one for the Golden Gophers.
The Golden Gophers took a 2-0 lead after winning the first two sets 25-19 and 25-16. Minnesota led late in third and fourth sets, but Kansas State fought back to win 31-29 and 26-24 to force a fifth set.
In the fifth set, Minnesota jumped out to a 2-1 lead after a kill by Carico. However, Kansas State scored six of the next eight points to move ahead 7-4. The Golden Gophers responded with 10 of the next 11 points to make it match point at 14-8.
The run started after a service error by Kansas State, and a block by Wilson and Gibbemeyer and a kill by Gibbemeyer that tied the set at seven. Wilson and Dieter followed with a consecutive kills, and after an attack error by the Wildcats Minnesota led 10-7. With the score at 10-8, Gibbemeyer delivered a kill and then combined on a block with Carico. After another attack error by Kansas State, Gibbemeyer delivered a kill to make it match point.
Kansas State responded by fighting off three straight match points. Gibbemeyer finished the match with a kill to give Minnesota the five-set victory. In the fifth set, Gibbemeyer stepped up with four kills in nine swings, and two blocks.
Minnesota won the first two sets, and led 21-17 in the third set before Kansas State rallied to tie the score at 21. With the score tied at 22, the Wildcats rattled off consecutive points to make it set point at 24-22. Gibbemeyer delivered a kill and Dieter followed with a solo block to fight off the two set points.
Gibbemeyer delivered two more kills to fight off a pair of sets points to tie the set at 26. After a Kansas State attack error, Minnesota had its first match point of the night. Kansas State fought it off on an attack error, and Lauren Mathewson followed with a service ace to make it set point at 28-27. Love followed with a back-to-back kills to move it to match point for a second time at 29-28. The Wildcats responded with three straight points to claim the third set 31-29.
Minnesota took a 23-20 lead in the fourth set after a Dieter kill, but Kansas State responded with three straight points to tie it at 23. After a service error, the Golden Gophers had their third match point. of the night. However, the Wildcats answered with three straight points to take the fourth set 26-24.
Kansas State jumped out to 6-3 lead to start the first set. Minnesota answered with a 6-0 run on Gibbemeyer's serve to take a 9-6 lead. Carico also delivered a couple kills during the run. The Wildcats
answered with four of the next five points to tie the set at 10. With the score tied at 12, Gibbemeyer, Dieter and Cowles delivered consecutive kills to make it 15-12.
Minnesota finished out a 7-1 run to make it 19-13 after Gibbemeyer and Dieter delivered back-to-back kills. Love delivered her first career kill to put the Golden Gophers ahead 21-14. With the score at 23-19, Cowles and Gibbemeyer had consecutive kills to give Minnesota the first set 25-19.
The Golden Gophers outhit Kansas State .298 to .200 in the set, and had 18 kills to 12. Gibbemeyher had four kills in seven swings, and Carico, Dieter and Filho each collected three kills in the set.
Minnesota jumped out to a 9-8 lead in the second set after a kill by Carico. The Golden Gophers pushed it out to three points at 14-11, but Kansas State answered with four of the next five points to tie it at 15. After a kill by Dieter, Gibbemeyer combined with Carico and Love on blocks and then had a solo block to make it 19-15. Carico added a kill to make it 20-15.
Following a Kansas State point, Gibbemeyer, Dieter and Love had three straight kills to put Minnesota ahead 23-16. Carico and Filho combined on a block to make it set point at 24-16 and Carico delivered a solo block to give Minnesota the 25-16 second set victory.
Minnesota outhit Kansas State .258 to -.030 in the set, and had 12 kills to eight for the Wildcats. Dieter had four kills in the set, while Carico and Gibbemeyer each had three blocks.
Kansas State was led JuliAnne Chisholm who had 19 kills, 16 of which came in the final three sets. Kathleen Ludwig had 18 kills, five service aces, five digs and four blocks, while setter Sorianna Pacheco finished with 49 assists and 14 digs. Lauren Mathewson had 27 digs, three service aces and three assists on the night for the Wildcats.
Minnesota will be back in action when it faces No. 3 Nebraska on Saturday, Aug. 29 at 8:30 p.m. That match can be seen live on CBS Sports Television and can be heard live on gohpersports.com.