12Paula Gentil (Fortleaza Ceara', Brazil) broke her own school record in digs with 39, as No. 1 Minnesota (13-1, 2-0) won its 12th straight match with a three-game win over Michigan (10-2, 1-1) by scores of 30-26, 30-17, 30-27 on Saturday, Sept. 25 at the Sports Pavilion. The 12-match winning streak is the fourth best in school history, and the best since 2000 for Minnesota.
The winning streak also stretched through the whole month, to give the Golden Gophers a perfect 12-0 September.
Minnesota put on a dominating defensive performance for a second night in a row. The Golden Gophers held Michigan to a .062 hitting percentage on the night, and had a three-game school-record 96 digs for the match.
Gentil's 39 digs broke her previous record of 37 that she set in a five-game match against USC on Aug. 28. On this night she accomplished her new record in just three games. The 39 digs also tied for the fourth-highest total ever by a Big Ten player. The last time any Big Ten player registered 39 or more digs was on Nov. 20, 1990 when Susan Wohlford of Wisconsin set the conference record with 44.
"I thought Paula (Gentil) and our entire defense had an extraordinary night for us," said Minnesota Head Coach Mike Hebert. "This was a quality Big Ten team we beat tonight. Our team played well in the first weekend on Big Ten play, and in a quality conference like the Big Ten it is important to get off to a good start to build positive momentum.."
Erin Martin a> (Ames, Iowa) paced the attack with 19 kills, five digs and four blocks on the night. Kelly Bowman (Maple Grove, Minn.) recorded her fourth triple-double of the year with 10 kills, 21 assists and 12 digs. Jessica Byrnes (Minnetonka, Minn.) hit .400 (12-2-25) with 12 kills for the match. Lisa Reinhart (White Bear Lake, Minn.) also had 11 digs for Minnesota.
In game one, Minnesota limited Michigan to a .075 hitting percentage. The Golden Gophers also had 29 digs to 19 for the Wolverines. Gentil had a season-high 14 digs in the game. Martin paced the attack with six kills.
Minnesota jumped ahead 11-3 in game two. Michigan scored three straight points to cut the lead to 11-6, but the Golden Gophers answered with the next four points to push it to 15-6. Michigan cut the lead to 19-12 with six of the next 10 points. However, Minnesota went on a 10-2 run to move it to game point at 29-14. Michigan fought off the next three game points, but Byrnes put down a kill to give Minnesota game two 30-17.
The Golden Gophers forced Michigan to hit -.033 for the game, while they hit .161. Minnesota had a season-high 39 digs in game two as a team, while the Wolverines had 28. Martin paced the offense with six kills, while Gentil had 12 digs in the game.
Minnesota jumped out to a 16-11 lead in game three, but Michigan scored seven of the next nine to tie the game at 18. Martin and Byrnes each had a pair of kills to spark a 5-0 Minnesota run that made it 23-18. Michigan scored the next two points to cut the lead to 23-20. The Wolverines continue to trim the lead down, as they moved it all the way to 28-27. However, Byrnes followed with a kill to set up match point at 29-27. Martin and Byrnes then combined on a block to give Minnesota the match with a 30-27 game-three victory.
Minnesota only hit .173 in the game, but limited Michigan to just 34 kills in 162 attempts. The Golden Gophers registered 55 kills on the night. Minnesota also did not give up service ace the entire night.
In the first weekend of Big Ten play against Michigan and Michigan State, Minnesota limited the two opponents to a .024 hitting percentage (64-57-287).
Michigan was led by Lyndsay Miller who had 10 kills and five blocks on the night. Sarah Allen led four Wolverines in double-figure digs with 15. Lisa Gamalski also had 24 assists, 12 digs and three blocks.
Minnesota will have its first Big Ten road weekend next week as it takes on No. 20 Ohio State on Friday, Oct. 1 6 p.m. (CT) and No. 4 Penn State on Friday, Oct. 2 at 6 p.m. (CT). The Golden Gophers' match against Ohio State on Oct. 1 will be telecast on a tape-delayed basis on Fox Sports Net North on Sunday, Oct. at 3 p.m.