theiThe No. 9 Minnesota volleyball team set a Sports Pavilion record for hitting percentage in sweeping Illinois, 15-3, 15-9, 15-9. The Golden Gophers continue their best start in school history with their 13th consecutive victory and are one win shy of matching the longest winning streak in school history.
"I was very pleased with our effort in most phases of the match," said Minnesota head coach Mike Hebert. "To have only six hitting errors in a Big Ten match is remarkable. We did a lot of things well tonight."
The Gophers had a .474 hitting percentage for the match, setting a Sports Pavilion record for any team in any match. Minnesota was led offensively by Nicole Brangh, who had 15 kills, and Charnette Fair, who match her career high with 14 kills and hit .684 for the match. Stephanie Hagen added nine kills at a .600 clip and led the Gophers with seven blocks. Lindsey Berg served a season-high five aces.
Minnesota led from start to finish in each of the first two games. In the opening stanza, the Golden Gophers hit an incredible .783, pounding 18 kills with no errors in 23 attempts. Branagh had seven kills in eight attempts to start the match. In the second game, Illinois cut a 6-0 Minnesota lead to 6-5, but the Gophers scored the next four points and weren't threatened after that. Hagen had six kills in nine attempts in the second game.
Illinois took its only lead of the match at 3-2 in the third game. Minnesota rallied to take a 5-3 lead, and after a 5-5 tie, Minnesota scored 10 of the match's final 14 points. Fair had her best game of the season, smashing six kills in seven attempts.
The Gophers return to Big Ten play Friday when they travel to Penn State at 6:30 p.m. The match between the two nationally ranked teams will be broadcast live on WDGY AM-630.