droppeThe 15th-ranked University of Minnesota volleyball team opened its 2001 season by splitting a pair of matches at the Jefferson Cup Invitational at the University of Virginia. The Golden Gophers dropped a three-game decision to 10th-ranked Stanford, 30-27, 30-27, 30-17, but came back to defeat Radford in four games, 30-22, 30-22, 21-30, 30-28.
In the first match, Minnesota stayed close with Stanford in the first game, but was unable to overtake the Cardinal in Stanford's 30-27 win. The second game featured eight lead changes, and no team led by more than three points during the entire game. Stephanie Hagen gave Minnesota its last lead at 24-23, but the Cardinal scored seven of the final 10 points to win the game. Stanford jumped out to a 12-5 lead in the third game and was not threatened for the remainder of the match. Erin Martin scored 11.5 points for Minnesota on 11 kills and a block assist. Ashley Ivy led Stanford with 19.5 points (13 kills, 3 aces, 2 solo blocks, 3 block assists), while Logan Tom added 18.5 points (16 kills, 1 ace, 1 block solo, 1 block assist). The Cardinal outhit the Gophers, .339-.106, and broke Minnesota's 14-match regular season winning streak against non-conference opponents, dating back to 1999.
Against Radford, the Gophers did not trail in the first game and grinded out a 30-22 victory. Stephanie Hagen had five kills in six attempts in the opening stanza. In the second game, Minnesota ran off six straight points in the middle of the game to take an 18-14 lead. Radford scored the next two points to pull to within 18-16, but got no closer as the Gophers took a two-game lead. Radford led for the majority of the third game, using an 18-8 run early in the third game to create a 20-11 lead. The Highlanders completed the win in the third game, holding the Gophers to a .026 hitting percentage. The fourth game featured five lead changes, with Kelli Wicks' service ace giving Minnesota the lead for good at 27-26. Cassie Busse ended the match with a kill. Hagen led Minnesota with 23 points, 21 on kills, and hit .563 for the match. Kathy Tilson contributed a double-double with 11 kills and 11 digs.
Minnesota will close play in the Jefferson Cup Invitational by playing Virginia on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. (Central time).