The Minnesota volleyball team (7-3) won for the sixth time in seven matches as it defeated Creighton (7-5) in four games by scores of 30-22, 29-31, 30-23, 30-13 to claim the Gopher Invitational championship on Saturday, Sept. 15.
Minnesota finished the tournament 3-0, while Creighton was 2-1. Wisconsin-Green Bay finished 1-2 and Charlotte was 0-3.
“I thought we did a good job tonight of bouncing back after Creighton had some long scoring runs,” said Minnesota Head Coach Mike Hebert. “We knew the first half of the third game would go a long way to deciding who won the match. I thought we came out focused and did a good job of taking control in the third game. I also liked the way we came out aggressively and immediately took control of the fourth game on the way to winning the match.”
Freshman outside hitter Brook Dieter (Bloomington, Minn.) was named the MVP of the Gopher Invitational, while senior middle blocker Jessy Jones (Naperville, Ill.) and Kyla Roehrig (Papillion, Neb.) were named to the All-Tournament team. Allie Oelke and Kelly Goc were named to the All-Tournament team for Creighton. Betty Slinger received the honors for Wisconsin-Green Bay, while Cori Dayton received them for Charlotte.
Roehrig paced Minnesota in the match as she hit .375 (20-5-40) with a season-high 20 kills and tallied five blocks. Dieter had 20 kills for a third straight match, and tallied six digs. Dieter totaled 61 kills in 10 games for the Golden Gophers in the tournament. She became the first Golden Gopher since Erin Martin to record 20 kills or more in three matches in a row. Martin had 22, 26 and 22 in matches against Rice, Loyola Marymount and North Carolina on Sept. 17-18, 2004.
Freshman middle blocker Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.) hit .458 (12-1-24) with 12 kills, a career-high seven digs and two blocks. Jones hit .381 (11-3-21) with 11 kills and a match-high eight blocks.
Junior setter Rachel Hartmann (St. Charles, Ill.) had a season-high 61 assists, a career-high 20 digs and two service aces. Christine Tan (Safety Harbor, Fla.) also finished with a career-high 30 digs, while Kelly Roysland (Fosston, Minn.) had a career-high 21 digs. Freshman defensive specialist Hailey Cowles (Eden Prairie, Minn.) also had 12 digs and two service aces.
Minnesota outhit Creighton .246 to .103 on the night, and had 70 kills to 47 for the Blue Jays. The Golden Gophers had a season-high 100 digs to 71 for Creighton. It is the first time since Nov. 11, 2005 that the Golden Gophers had 100 or more digs in a match as a team. In that match, Minnesota had 107 digs against Northwestern.
The Golden Gophers also outblocked the Blue Jays 13.0-to-5.0 on the night.
After splitting the first two games, Minnesota jumped out to an 11-10 lead in the third game. The Golden Gophers followed with six of the next seven points to take a 17-11 lead. Creighton answered three of the next four points to cut the Minnesota lead to 18-14. Gibbemeyer and Roehrig responded with back-to-back kills to put the Golden Gophers ahead 20-14. After a Blue Jay point, Minnesota pushed the lead out to 22-15 after consecutive points.
Creighton cut the lead to 22-17, by Hartmann responded with a solo block and Jones followed with a kill to make it 24-17. The Blue Jays cut the lead back to five points at 24-19, but after a service error Dieter followed with a kill to put Minnesota back up by seven points.
The Blue Jays got the lead down to five again at 27-22, but Dieter came back with a kill to make it 28-22. After a Golden Gopher attack error, Dieter delivered a kill to make it game point at 29-23. Roehrig put way the third game with a kill to give Minnesota a 2-1 lead in the match.
In the third game, the Golden Gophers outhit Creighton .315 to .115, and had 23 kills to 10 for the Blue Jays. Dieter had seven kills in the game, while Roehrig and Jones each had six.
Minnesota ran out to a 26-9 lead in game four and never looked back, as it claimed game four 30-13 in dominant fashion.
In that game, the Golden Gophers outhit Creighton .364 to .029, and had 16 kills to eight for the Blue Jays.
In the first game, both teams battled back and forth as there were four lead changes and 10 ties when the teams arrived at a tie at 11. Roehrig and Dieter had back-to-back kills, and Cowles followed with a service ace to make it 14-11 to force a Creighton timeout. Out of the timeout, Minnesota scored the next two points to close out a 5-0 run as the Golden Gophers took a 16-11 lead when Jones had a solo block on an attempted dump by the Creighton setter.
The Blue Jays scored the next two points to cut Minnesota’s lead to 16-13. The Golden Gophers scored seven of the next 10 points to extend their lead to 23-16. After Creighton cut it to 24-18, Roehrig and Dieter delivered back-to-back kills to push the lead back out to eight points. The Blue Jays answered with consecutive points, but Dieter and Jones combined on a block to make it 27-20. Katie Vatterrodt (Bloomington, Ill.) followed with a kill to make it 28-20.
Minnesota made it game point at 29-21, after exchanging a pair of points with Creighton. After the Blue Jays fought off game point, Dieter delivered a kill to give the Golden Gophers game one.
In game one Minnesota outhit Creighton .256 to .075, and had 16 kills to 12 for the Blue Jays. Roehrig hit .714 (5-0-7) in the game and had a team-high five kills.
Creighton jumped out to a 7-6 lead in game one, but Roehrig delivered a kill to tie the game up. The Blue Jays followed by ripping off an 8-0 run to go up 15-7. Minnesota answered quickly with seven of the next eight points to cut the Creighton lead to 16-14. The Blue Jays answered with consecutive points to push their lead back up to 18-14.
The Golden Gophers promptly responded by scoring 11 of the next 12 points to take a 25-19 lead. Creighton came back with four straight points to trim the Minnesota lead to 25-23. Roehrig followed with a kill, and Hartmann had a service ace to make it 27-23. Jones and Roehrig combined on a block to make it 28-23. Creighton quickly answered with five straight points to tie the game at 28.
Roehrig followed with a kill to make it game point at 29-28. The Blue Jays fought off game point, and scored the next two points to claim game two to tie the match at one game apiece.
Creighton outhit Minnesota .158 to .082 in the game, and had 17 kills to 15 for the Golden Gophers. Roehrig led Minnesota with seven kills in the game.
The Blue Jays were led by Goc, who hit .429 (13-1-28) with 13 kills, six digs and three blocks. Allie Oelke had 13 kills and five digs. Creighton’s libero Bianca Rivera finished with 26 digs, while Sarah Schulze had 14 in the match.
Minnesota will open up Big Ten play on Friday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Sports Pavilion against Purdue. The Golden Gophers will also face Indiana on Sunday, Sept. 23 at 1 p.m. Both matches can be heard on gophersports.com.