The Minnesota volleyball team (4-1) defeated Houston (4-4) in three games by scores of 30-13, 30-17, 30-23 in its first match of the Kansas State Invitational in Manhattan, Kan. on Friday, Sept. 9.
Jessy Jones (Naperville, Ill.) tied Minnesota’s rally-scoring record for highest hitting percentage at .909 (10-0-11). The last Golden Gopher to accomplish the feat was Jessica Byrnes (Minnetonka, Minn.) as a freshman against Youngstown State on Aug. 31, 2002. Jones also finished with a career-high eight blocks.
Minnesota jumped out to an early 9-8 lead, and expanded it to 17-10 with eight of the next 10 points. From that point, the Golden Gophers continued to build on their lead with seven of the next nine points to go up 24-12. Houston scored to make it 24-13, but Minnesota closed out the game with six straight points to claim a 30-13 game-one victory. The 30-13 game equaled the Golden Gophers most lopsided victory of the season.
The Golden Gophers outhit the Cougars .514 to .000 in the game, and had 20 kills to seven for Houston. Jones led the way with four kills and four blocks in the game. Jones also hit .800 (4-0-5) in the game. Freshman Kyla Roehrig (Papillion, Neb.) also had four kills in the game for Minnesota.
In game two Minnesota led 10-7, before scored eight of the next nine points to move ahead 18-8. The Golden Gophers pushed the lead out to 21-9 on the way to claiming game two 30-17.
Minnesota outhit Houston .435 to .000 in the second game. Meredith Nelson (St. Croix Falls, Wis.) and Meghan Cumpston (Red Buff, Calif.) each led the way with four kills in the game.
The Golden Gophers jumped out to an early 11-6 lead in game three, and pushed it out to 19-8 with eight of the next 10 points. Houston cut the lead to 23-15, but Minnesota scored three straight points to go up 26-15. The Cougars scored six straight points to make it 26-21, but the Golden Gophers closed out the match with four of the next six points.
Nelson led the way with 11 kills and hit a career-high .588 (11-1-17) for Minnesota. Cumpston had seven kills and hit .385 (7-2-13), while Malama Peniata (Plymouth, Minn.) had six kills, hit .545 (6-0-11) and had 11 digs.
Kelly Bowman (Maple Grove, Minn.) had five kills, a season-high 39 assists and two service aces for the Golden Gophers, while Paula Gentil (Forteleaza Ceara’, Brazil) finished with 12 digs.
Minnesota hit .427, its highest percentage since Sept. 12, 2003 when it hit .433 against Xavier. The Golden Gophers also limited Houston to a .082 hitting percentage, marking the fourth time in five matches they held an opponent to under .100 hitting percentage.
Houston was led by Kariny Ritter who had 10 kills. Justin Farmer had six kills and 10 digs, while Jennifer Hohl had 22 assists and six digs.
Minnesota will play it’s second match of the tournament against Florida State on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 10 a.m. The Golden Gophers will finish off the match against No. 24 Kansas State at 7:30 p.m.