O'CoThe 20th-ranked University of Minnesota volleyball team (3-5) fell to No. 3 Florida (8-1) in three games by scores of 30-19, 30-28, 30-24 in the championship match of the UF Hilton Classic at the O'Connell Center on Saturday, Sept. 13. The Golden Gophers finished second in the tournament.
Cassie Busse (Prior Lake, Minn.) and Paula Gentil (Forteleaza Ceara', Brazil) were both named to the six member UF Hilton Classic All- Tournament team.
In the beginning of the first game the two teams battled back and forth, with nine ties and two lead changes before the score was tied at 11. From that point Florida went on a 9-1 run to open up a 20-12 lead. Minnesota would get no closer than six points the rest of the game, as the Gators moved to a 30-19 game one victory. Florida outhit Minnesota .342 to .073 in the game. Cassie Busse (Prior Lake, Minn.) paced the Golden Gophers with five kills in the game.
Florida jumped out to a 16-13 lead in game two, but Minnesota scored five of the next seven points to tie the game for a third time. From that point the Gators ripped off five straight points to go up 23-18. Florida led 24-19, but Minnesota scored four of the next five points to trim the lead to 25-23. Florida responded with two straight points to go up 27-23. However Trisha Bratford (Reseda, Calif.) delivered a kill and a service ace to cut the score to 27-25. Erin Martin (Ames, Iowa) added a solo block to bring it to 27-26. Busse had a chance to tie it, but hit a ball out of bounds on an attempt. She followed it up the next play by registering a kill to cut it to 28-27. Florida scored the next point to go up 29-27, but Minnesota cut it to one again on a Gator service error. The Golden Gophers had a service error of their own to end the game as Florida escaped with a 30-28 victory to go up 2-0 in the match. Bratford paced Minnesota with five kills in the game, while Martin four kills. The Golden Gophers were hindered by 12 errors and five service aces in the game.
Minnesota jumped out to an early 11-8 lead in game three. Florida answered with a 5-0 run to go up 13-11. The Golden Gophers reclaimed the lead at 15-14. However, the Gators reclaimed it for good at 18- 17. From that point Florida scored 10 of the next 15 points to go up 28-22. The Gators closed out the game at 30-24 to win the match.
Bratford paced the Golden Gopher attack with 13 kills in the match. Busse and Martin each had nine kills for Minnesota. Martin also added three blocks, two of which were solo blocks. Gentil finished with a match-high 16 digs, while Lindsey Taatjes (Prinsburg, Minn.) had 40 assists and seven digs.
Minnesota had 44 kills to 40 for Florida, but committed 34 errors in match to the Gators 12. The Golden Gophers were also outblocked 13.0 to 5.0.
Florida was led by Aury Cruz who had 10 kills for the match.
Minnesota will be in action next on Wednesday, Sept. 17 when it plays No. 6 Northern Iowa at 7 p.m. in Rochester, Minn. at the Mayo Civic Center. The Golden Gophers will return home after that to host the Diet Coke Classic on Friday, Sept. 19 and Saturday, Sept. 20. The field for the tournament will include Charlotte, Colorado State and UW-Milwaukee - UM -