theThe fifth-ranked Minnesota volleyball team (5-1) rallied from a 2-1 deficit to defeat No. 15 Kansas State (4-3) in five games by scores of 30-28, 26-30, 26- 30, 30-27, 15-13 on Friday, Sept. 10 at the Sports Pavilion. With the win, Minnesota moves to 1-0 in the Diet Coke Classic, while Kansas State falls to 0-2.
The match was one of Minnesota's longest during the rally-scoring era, lasting two hours and 22 minutes.
Erin Martin (Ames, Iowa) and Trisha Bratford (Reseda, Calif.) finished with 27 and 26 kills respectively. Bratford's 26 kills tied a career-high, while Martin was one off a career-high with 27 kills.
Bratford also became the 16th player in school history to record 1,000 kills in a career when she recorded her 1,000th in the first game of the match. Martin set a record for most total attempts in a rally-scoring match by a Minnesota player with 80 on the night.
Paula Gentil (Forteleaza Ceara, Brazil) narrowly missed her own school record with 34 digs on the night.
Minnesota won the first game 30-28, but fell behind 2-1 after Kansas State won games two and three 30-26. The Golden Gophers held a slim lead in game four at 28-27, but Jessica Byrnes (Minnetonka, Minn.) and Martin delivered consecutive kills to send the match to a fifth game.
The fifth game saw 11 ties and four lead changes. With the score tied at 13, Bratford delivered back-to-back kills to give the Golden Gophers the five- game victory. Bratford and Martin finished with six and five kills respectively in game five. Minnesota had 13 kills in the game as a team.
"This was a great match," said Minnesota Head Coach Mike Hebert. "Kansas State was a very resilient team who was very tough to play against. Their libero (Angie Lastra) played great, and so did Paula (Gentil). The stats tell a peculiar story about this match. We had a lot more kills, but also committed a great deal more errors then they did. Erin (Martin) and Trisha (Bratford) did a great job in the fifth game. We planned to go to them and they delivered. This was a quality match with two very good teams."
Byrnes hit .423 (14-3-26) with 14 kills and three blocks on the night. Kelly Bowman (Maple Grove, Minn.) had a career-high 21 digs, along with eight kills and 26 assists. Lindsey Taatjes (Prinsburg, Minn.) had 55 assists, 17 digs, three service aces and four kills. Marci Peniata (Plymouth, Minn.) also had 15 digs for the match.
"Lindsey (Taatjes) put some great balls up for me and Trisha (Bratford) in the fifth game," said Martin. "Our defense did a great job of keeping play going tonight. Watching them get after it on defense, makes me and Trisha (Bratford) that much more determined to put down a kill when we get a chance. Altogether our team showed a lot of determination to fight back and win the match."
The first game was tightly contested with no team leading by more then three points throughout the game. With score tied at 23, Kansas State committed an attack error to move Minnesota ahead 24-23. Martin followed with a block solo, Meredith Nelson (St. Croix Falls, Wis.) came up with a kill to make it 26- 23. Minnesota moved ahead 28-25, but Kansas State scored the next two points to make it 28-27. The two teams exchanged points to make it 29-28, before Bratford put down a kill to give Minnesota the game 30-28.
Minnesota outhit Kansas State .170 to .088 in the game, and had 21 kills to eight for Kansas State. Bratford and Byrnes each had six kills in the game.
The Golden Gophers jumped out to a 19-15 lead in the second game, but the Wildcats scored 10 of the next 13 points to grab a 25-22 lead. Minnesota got it down to 28-26, before Kansas State score the last two points to take game two and tied the match at one game apiece.
Kansas State limited Minnesota to a .040 hitting percentage in game two, while hitting.179. Bratford paced the Golden Gophers with six kills in the game.
Minnesota jumped out to 17-14 lead in game three, but once against Kansas State responded with a big run scoring 12 of the next 17 points to go up 26- 22. Minnesota cut it to 28-26, but the Wildcats ran off the final two points of the game to go up 2-1 in the match.
The Golden Gophers jumped out to a 17-11 lead in game one, but once against Kansas State reeled them in with 10 of the next 14 points to tie the match at 21. The two teams tied at 22, 23 and 24, before Bratford put down a kill and Kansas State followed with an error to give Minnesota some breathing room. The Wildcats cut the lead down to 27-26, but Minnesota scored three of the last four points, punctuated by Martin's kill to end it and send the match to five games.
Martin paced Minnesota with seven kills in the fourth game. Minnesota also outhit Kansas State .212 to .155 in the game.
Kansas State was led by Lisa Martin and Valeria Hejjas who had 12 kills apiece. Hejjas also had 20 digs on the match. Joy Hamlin had eight kills and 11 blocks, while the Wildcat libero Angie Lastra had a match-high 36 digs.
Minnesota will resume action in the Diet Coke Classic on Saturday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. when it takes on No. 4 Florida. That match will be broadcast by CSTV on Sunday, Sept. 12 at 6 p.m. The first match on Sept. 11 will feature No. 15 Kansas State against Northern Iowa at 4 p.m.
Minnesota had 87 kills to 57 for Kansas State, but had 45 hitting errors to 24 for the Wildcats. The Golden Gophers narrowly outhit Kansas State .169 to .157. Minnesota also had 108 digs to 102 for the Wildcats.