Minnesota Defeats UConn in Three Games in Diet Coke Classic
The Minnesota volleyball team (4-4) opened up its home season with a three-game victory over UConn (8-2) on Friday, Sept. 15 in its first match of the Diet Coke Classic at the Sports Pavilion. With the win Minnesota moved to 1-0 in the tournament, while UConn fell to 0-1.
Dayton won in four games earlier in night over Tulane by scores of 30-16, 30-21, 28-30, 30-22.
“I thought our team played with a very even keel tonight,” said Mike Hebert. “We did a good of not getting to high or low and trying to remain consistent. Our offense was a little out of rhythm, but I though our right side did a good job blocking tonight. Overall, I was satisfied with tonight’s effort.”
Kyle Roehrig (Papillion, Neb.) led the way for Minnesota offensively as she hit .542 (15-2-24) with 15 kills. Senior Kelly Bowman (Maple Grove, Minn.) had a career-high with seven blocks, along with six kills and nine digs.
Junior Jessy Jones (Naperville, Ill.) also finished with seven blocks and five kills. Senior Malama Peniata (Plymouth, Minn.) had a team-high 16 digs on the night. Sophomore setter Rachel Hartmann (St. Charles, Ill.) had 35 assists and 11 digs to go along with a career-high four kills and four blocks. Christine Tan (Palm Harbor, Fla.) finished with a career-high four service aces to go with seven digs.
Minnesota limited UConn to a .033 hitting percentage and hit .244 on the night. The Golden Gophers also had 46 kills to 31 for the Huskies. Minnesota outblocked UConn 11.0-to-2.0, and had eight service aces to the Huskies’ one.
Minnesota got off to a quick start in game one when Jones delivered a kill and combined on a block with Bowman on the first two points of the match. UConn scored three of the next five points to cut it to 4-3, but the Golden Gophers answered with seven of the next nine points punctuated by a kill by Roehrig to make it 11-5.
The Huskies came back with four straight points to cut it to 11-9. Minnesota scored the next point to move ahead 12-9, followed by a Vatterrodt kill and Tan service ace to force UConn timeout. Out of the timeout, Bowman and Jones again teamed up on a block. Minnesota closed out a 6-0 run with a pair of UConn errors to take a 17-9 lead.
UConn scored back-to-back points to make it 17-11. The two teams exchanged the next two points to make it 18-12. Minnesota followed with a kill by Jones, a combined block by Hartmann and Nelson and a service ace by Bowman to make it 21-12. After the Huskies scored to make it 21-13, Hartmann and Nelson combined on a block to make it 22-13. Nelson followed with a kill, and Roehrig delivered back-to-back kills to push it to 25-13. Meghan Cumpston (Red Bluff, Calif.) followed with pair of service aces to close out the 6-0 run to make it 27-13.
The Huskies scored three of the next four points to make it 28-16, but Roehrig delivered a kill to make it game point at 29-16. UConn fought off the game point to make it 29-17, but Kelly Schmidt delivered a kill to give Minnesota game one 30-17.
Minnesota limited the Huskies to a -.051 hitting percentage and hit .244 in the game. The Golden Gophers also finished the game with 14 kills to seven for UConn, while outblocking the Huskies 5.0-to-0.0. Minnesota tallied five services in the game as well. Roehrig led the way with seven kills and hit .545 (7-1-11) in the game.
The Golden Gophers fell behind 12-11 to start the second game. Minnesota evened the score at 13, and took the lead on kill by Cumpston. Roehrig and Hartmann sandwiched kills around on a Huskies’ attack error to make it 17-13. Schmidt followed with a kill, and the Golden Gophers closed out their 6-0 on UConn attack error to make it 19-13.
Minnesota maintained the six-point lead at 22-16, before ripping off four straight points to make it 26-16. The run started with a service error that made it 23-16. Jones followed with a kill, and combined on a block with Bowman to make it 25-16. Jones finished with run with a kill to push it out to a 10-point lead.
The teams exchanged points, before Jones and Bowman combined on another block to move the Golden Gophers ahead 28-17. Tan followed with a service ace to give Minnesota game point at 29-17. UConn fought off the first game point to make it 29-18, but Jones and Bowman once again combined on a block to give the Golden Gophers game two 30-19.
Minnesota limited UConn to a negative hitting percentage for a second straight game at -.027, as the Golden Gophers hit .175. They also limited the Huskies to nine kills, while accumulating 14 of their own. Minnesota outblocked UConn 5.0-to-1.0 in the game as well. Cumpston had four kills in the game, while Jones and Bowman had five and four blocks respectively for Minnesota.
The Golden Gophers fell behind 12-10 in the third game, before scoring six of the next seven points. That run was punctuated by a Nelson kill to make it 16-13. UConn cut it to 18-16, but Roehrig delivered a kill, followed by a Huskies’ error to make it 20-16. UConn cut it back down to two points at 21-19, before Minnesota pushed it back out to four points at 23-19. UConn rallied to cut the lead to one point at 23-22, before Minnesota ripped off three straight points on a service error, a hitting error and a Cumpston kill to make it 26-22.
UConn cut it to 26-23, before Rachelle Hagerty (Defiance, Ohio) delivered her first career kill to make it 27-23. Minnesota went ahead 28-23 on a Huskies’ error. UConn scored three straight points to make it 28-26, but Hagerty and Hartmann delivered back-to-back kills to give Minnesota the match.
The Huskies were led by Gina Hedierman who had 10 kills. Jessica Isaac finished with 16 digs, while setter Bridget Denson-Dorman had 27 assists and nine digs for UConn.
Minnesota will face Tulane in its second match of the Diet Coke Classic on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 12:30 p.m., and finish up against Dayton on Sept. 16 at 7:30 p.m.