The 12th-ranked Minnesota volleyball team (7-1) defeated Delaware (6-3) in four sets by scores of 25-20, 25-19, 23-25, 25-17. With the win, the Golden Gophers moved to 2-0 in the Duke Invitational.
Minnesota and Duke (who is also 2-0 in the tournament) will face each other in the championship match of the tournament at 6 p.m. (CT). That match can be heard live in the Gold Zone.
The Golden Gophers were led by freshman Ashley Wittman (Shakopee, Minn.) who had a career-high 20 kills, 18 digs, hit .386 (20-3-44) and had four blocks. Sophomore Tabi Love (Dauphin, Manitoba) had 17 kills, six digs, a career-high three service aces and three blocks. Junior libero Jessica Granquist (Blaine, Minn.) finished with a match-high 30 digs. It was the second time this year she has collected 30 or more digs.
Junior setter Stephanie Nucci (Gilbert, Ariz.) finished with 54 assists and five digs. Ariana Filho (Monument, Colo.) also had a season-best 10 kills and five blocks, while freshman Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minn.) finished with eight kills, eight digs and tied with a match-high six blocks. Katherine Harms (Albertville, Minn.) also had six kills and eight digs.
Minnesota took the first set on the strength of a strong first-set outside attack from Love and Wittman. The two outside hitters hit .550 (13-2-20) with 13 of the Gophers' 15 kills in the first set. In the second set, Minnesota limited Delaware to a .082 (11-7-49) hitting percentage, and Love collected eight kills.
The Blue Hens responded in the third set by hitting .349 (18-3-43) with only three errors, as Katie Dennehy collected eight kills and hit .471 (8-0-17) in the set. Minnesota answered with an efficient fourth set in which it hit .371 (16-3-35) and limited Delaware to a .050 (9-7-40) hitting percentage. In the fourth set, Wittman paced the way hitting .692 (9-0-13) with nine kills, six digs and two blocks.
For the match, Minnesota outhit Delaware .274 to .147, and had 64 kills to 49. The Golden Gophers narrowly outblocked (11.0-to-9.0) and outdug Delaware (83-to-78) in the match. The Blue Hens also had seven service aces to five for the Gophers.
Delaware was led by Dennehy who had 13 kills and seven digs, while Alissa Alker had 12 kills, 12 digs and tied a match-high six blocks. Blue Hen libero Greta Gibboney finished with 24 digs.