30-19,The 14th-ranked Minnesota volleyball team won a pair of matches Friday at the University of San Diego Invitational. The Gophers (5-1) defeated San Jose State in four games, 29-31, 30-27, 30-19, 30-19, and Seton Hall in three games, 30-9, 30-25, 30-22. Minnesota has now won five straight matches since its opening-match loss to Stanford.
The Gophers hit .474 against San Jose State, compared to the Spartans' .226 hitting percentage. Minnesota also had a 14-1 advantage in team blocks and a 51-39 edge in digs. The Golden Gophers had four players with double-figure kills, led by Stephanie Hagen with 19 kills and Kathy Tilson with a season-high 18 kills. Cassie Busse added 16 kills and five blocks, while Erin Martin contributed 11 kills. Busse led the Golden Gophers with 13 kills against Seton Hall, as Minnesota had a commanding .394-.099 advantage in hitting percentage. The Gophers served a season-high 16 aces in the match, led by Lindsey Berg and Hagen with four apiece.
In the first match, Minnesota got off to a slow start, falling behind by deficits of 5-0 and 7-1. The Gophers finally pulled even at 25-25 on a Hagen kill and took their first lead of the game at 27-26 on a kill by Tilson. Minnesota served for the first game at 29-28, but San Jose State scored the final three points of the game on two kills and a service ace to win, 31-29. The Spartans led the first part of the second game, increasing the margin to 10-4 at one point. Minnesota pulled even at 12-12 on a service ace by Hagen, and a Berg service ace gave the Gophers a 14-13 lead. The Gophers completed a 14-4 run with two Busse kills and a block to take an 18-14 lead. San Jose State responded with a 11-4 run to build a 25-22 lead, but Minnesota scored eight of the final 10 points of the game to win 30-27 and even the match.
The Gophers took their first lead of the third game at 4-3 and did not trail for the remainder of the game. Minnesota had point runs of 10-3 and 11-4 in the stanza, hitting .640 with just one error for the game. The final game was similar to the third game, as the Gophers held the lead from the opening serve. Minnesota built a 15-5 lead and led by at least eight points for the remainder of the game. The Gophers continued their hot hitting in the fourth game with a .647 hitting percentage and just two hitting errors.
Against Seton Hall, the Gophers did not trail in the first game in recording their most lopsided win of the season, 30-9. Minnesota had an seven-point run on Busse's serve and a six-point run on Hagen's serve in the opening game. The second game was more competitive, as Minnesota did not take the lead for good until a Busse ace at 7-6. The Gophers increased the lead to as much as six points, until Seton Hall made a late run to move to within 27-25. A Busse kill and two kills by Trisha Bratford ended the second game.
The Pirates grabbed the early lead in the third game, but a 6-0 Minnesota run, with five points on Busse's serve, gave the Gophers a 14-10 lead. Seton Hall scored the next three points to pull within a point at 14-13, but could get no closer as Minnesota steadily pulled away to win the game, 30-22.
The Gophers complete play in the University of San Diego Invitational on Saturday with matches against Brown at 2 p.m. and San Diego at 9:30 p.m. (Central time).