Minnesota never trailed in any game of the match and rolled to a 15-7, 15-8, 15-7 victory over Drake in a non-conference volleyball match at the Sports Pavilion. The Gophers improve to 3-2, while the Bulldogs fall to 1-5.
The Gophers were led for the fifth consecutive game in kills by Nicole Branagh , who pounded home 20 kills and added eight digs. Linda Shudlick earned her first double-figure kill match of the season with 11 kills and paced the Gophers with a .588 hitting percentage. Lisa Aschenbrenner recorded a career-high 14 digs to lead the Minnesota defense.
Minnesota welcomed Lisa Axel to her first match as a Gopher on Wednesday night. Axel replaced Stephanie Hagen in the lineup, who was nursing a sprained right ankle. Axel contributed three aces and two digs from the back row. Shelmadine Cacho also played in her first match as a Gopher.
The Gophers served tough all night, accumulating a season-high 12 aces in the match. Setter Lindsey Berg had a season-high four aces to top all players. The serving impacted on Drake's offense, which only mustered a .114 hitting percentage for the night. Stacie Kocourek led the Bulldogs with 10 kills.
Minnesota heads to Oregon and the Nike Invitational, which begins Friday. The Gophers will play Alabama at noon (CDT) and Cal State Fullerton at 7:30 p.m. (CDT).