MinnThe Eighth ranked Minnesota Volleyball team (12-2) defeated No. 19 Santa Clara (9-2) 3-1 by scores of 30-28, 27-30, 30-27 and 30-27 to move to 2-0 in the Denver Tournament on Saturday, Sept. 21. Minnesota has now won 11 of its last 12 matches.
The early part of game one featured seven ties until the teams reached 13-13. Santa Clara scored the next two points to go up 15- 13, but Minnesota answered with an 8-0 run to go up 21-15. The Broncos managed to tie the score at 28. However, that was as close as they would get as Jessica Byrnes (Minnetonka, Minn.) put down a kill and Bethany Brafford (Mansfield, Ohio) and Lindsey Vander Well (Prinsburg, Minn.) teamed up on the block to give the Golden Gophers the last two points to win game one 30-28. Byrnes led the way with five kills, while Erin Martin (Ames, Iowa) collected four blocks in the game.
In game two Santa Clara took an early 14-9 lead on the Gophers. Minnesota managed to cut the lead down to 24-23. However, the Broncos held the Golden Gophers at bay and win game two 30-27 to tie the match at 1-1.
Santa Clara jumped out to an early 10-7 lead in game three, but Minnesota scored eight of the next nine points to take a 15-11 lead. The Golden Gophers were in control with the lead at 23-20 until the Broncos answered by scoring six of the seven points to go up 26-24. However, Minnesota rallied to close out the game with six of the last seven points paced by three kills in that stretch by Erin Lorenzen (Pipestone, Minn.) to take game three 30-27.
Game four was a tight affair that featured 19 ties, and saw no team lead by more then three points at any time. Santa Clara captured the lead at 11-10 and was ahead until Minnesota reclaimed it at 25-24. From that point, the Golden Gophers scored five of the last eight points to win 30-27 and capture the match 3-1. Cassie Busse (Prior Lake, Minn.) paced Minnesota in game four with eight kills.
Busse led Minnesota with 23 kills, eight digs and five blocks. It was her second-highest kill total of the season. Byrnes had a career- high 16 kills for the Golden Gophers. Lorenzen came alive for Minnesota in the last two games with nine of her 11 kills on the match. Vander Well had 55 assists 10 digs and four blocks, while Paula Gentil (Forteleaza Ceara’, Brazil) led the team in digs with 17. Martin had nine kills and eight blocks, while Lisa Axel(Buffalo, Minn.) finished with 14 digs.
The Golden Gophers outhit Santa Clara .268 to .194, and outblocked the Broncos 14 to 10. Minnesota is now 4-2 against Top-20 teams, and 2-0 against WCC ranked teams.
Santa Clara was led by Becky Potter who had 17 kills and 10 digs on the match. Alyssa Lantz had 16 kills, while Kelli Sousa had 61 assists and eight digs.
Minnesota will play Maryland in its final match of the tournament on Saturday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m.
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