The sixth-ranked Minnesota volleyball team (0-2) fell to No. 22 Louisville (1-1) by scores of 30-21, 30-24, 24-30 and 30-27 on Saturday, Aug. 30 at the Stan Sheriff Center in its second match of the Hawaiian Airlines Tournament. With the loss Minnesota fell to 0-2 in tournament play, while Louisville moved to 1-1.
It marks the first time since 1996 that Minnesota has started the season 0-2.
In the first game, Louisville used a 5-0 run to jump out to a 7-2 lead. The Cardinals maintained the lead at 20-15. At that point Louisville went on an 8-2 run to make the score 28-17. Minnesota scored four of the next five points to cut the lead to 29-21, but dropped game one 30-21. Louisville outhit Minnesota .441 to .325 in the game. Trisha Bratford (Reseda, Calif.) had six kills and hit .667 (6-0-9) in the game.
The early part of game two saw the teams tied at 9-9 after seven ties. Louisville proceeded to score eight of the next nine points to go up 17-10. With a 22-15 lead, the Cardinals proceeded to go on a 7- 2 run to go up 29-17. Minnesota showed some life, as Bratford had two kills and two blocks to help the Golden Gophers fight off seven straight game points to push the score to 29-24. However, Louisville managed to end game two at 30-24 to go up 2-0 in the match. The Cardinals outhit the Golden Gophers .175 to .122 in the game. Freshman Meredith Nelson (St. Croix, Wis.) had four kills in six attempts, along with three blocks in the game.
Minnesota carried the momentum it built up at the end of game two into the third game as it jumped out to a 10-3 lead. Louisville trimmed the lead down to 19-15, but Minnesota answered with three straight points to go up 22-15. Louisville answered right back with a 5-0 run to cut the score to 22-20. The two teams moved back and forth to make it 24-22. However, Minnesota closed out the third game by scoring six of the final eight points to take the game 30-24 and cut the match to 2-1. Paula Gentil (Forteleaza Ceara', Brazil) tallied 14 digs for Minnesota in the game. Bratford and Cassie Busse (Prior Lake, Minn) had six and five kills respectively for the Golden Gophers. Minnesota outhit Louisville .273 to .163 in game three and tallied 20 kills as a team.
The fourth game saw the two teams tie on 18 different occasions and exchange leads on seven different occasions. The two teams were tied for the 16th time at 21-21. Louisville scored three of the next four points to go up 24-22. The Cardinals led 26-24, but Minnesota scored the next three points to go up 27-26. Louisville came right back rattling off the next four points to claim the fourth game, as well as the match, 30-27. Busse tallied eight kills in the game.
Gentil tallied a career-high 29 digs in the match. Bratford paced Minnesota's attack with 22 kills, four blocks and four digs. Busse had 17 kills, seven digs and three blocks, while Lindsey Taatjes (Prinsburg, Minn.) had 54 assists and four kills. Freshman Kelly Bowman (Maple Grove, Minn.) had five kills in 10 attempts (.500) and tallied six digs, while Meredith Nelson (St. Croix, Wis.) tallied nine kills and a match-high seven blocks.
Louisville had 10 service aces on the match to only two by Minnesota. The Golden Gophers outhit the Cardinals .259 to .247, but were outdug 60 to 57.
The Cardinals were led by Sonja Percan who had 19 kills, 14 digs and a career-high seven service aces. Lena Ustymenko and Bing Sun had 18 and 15 kills respectively.
Minnesota will wrap up play in the Hawaiian Airlines Tournament when it takes on No. 13 UCLA on Sunday, Aug. 31 at 8 p.m.