Minnesota Falls to Michigan in Five Sets No. 14 Minnesota lost a 2-0 lead as No. 22 Michigan defeated the Gophers 13-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23, 16-14.
For the second straight week, No. 14 Minnesota lost a 2-0 lead as No. 22 Michigan rallied to defeated the Gophers 13-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23, 16-14 at Cliff Keen Arena on Saturday, Sept. 25.
Tabi Love (Dauphin, Manitoba) finished with a team-high 20 kills, 10 digs and four blocks on the night, while freshman Ashley Wittman (Shakopee, Minn.) had 16 kills, hit .405 (16-1-37) and collected 17 digs. Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minn.) also finished with a career-high nine blocks and had 11 kills in the match.
Junior Jessica Granquist (Blaine, Minn.) tied with a match-high 21 digs and had two assists. Mia Tabberson (Muncie, Ind.) had 35 assists, seven digs, four blocks and two kills in four sets, while Stephanie Nucci (Gilbert, Ariz.) had 17 assists, a service ace and a block in two sets. Katherine Harms (Albertville, Minn.) also had eight kills and three blocks, while Ariana Filho (Monument, Colo.) finished with six kills and five blocks.
Minnesota put forth a dominant effort in the first set, as the Gophers limited Michigan to a -.061 (8-10-33) hitting percentage, collected a .379 (14-3-29) hitting percentage and tallied eight blocks in the set. In the second set, Minnesota ran out to a 17-11 lead after a kill by Tabberson. Michigan cut it to 21-17, but the Gophers scored three of the next four points to move it to set point at 24-18 after a kill by Love. Michigan fought off five straight set points to cut it to 24-23, before Dixon delivered a kill to put the Gophers up 2-0 in the match.
The Golden Gophers fell behind 18-14 in the third set, but ripped off a 6-0 run and took a 20-18 lead when Tabberson and Filho combined on a block. Michigan quickly responded with three straight points to go up 21-20. Wittman delivered a kill to tie it at 21, but the Wolverines scored the next three points and closed out the set on a Minnesota service error.
In the fourth set, Minnesota fell behind 17-14, but scored four straight points and took an 18-17 lead on a kill by Wittman. The Gophers held that one-point lead at 20-19 after Harms and Filho combined on a block against Alex Hunt. Once again, Michigan answered by going on a 4-0 run to take a 23-20 lead on a kill by Hunt. Minnesota cut it to 24-23 on a kill by Dixon, but Hunt delivered a kill to send the match to a fifth set.
Minnesota fell behind 6-3 in the fifth set, but answered swiftly with a 6-0 run and moved ahead 9-6 on a kill by Filho. After an attack error by Molly Toon, the Gophers led 12-9. Love put the Gophers ahead 13-12 with a kill, but Hunt answered with a kill and the Gophers committed an attack error to make it 14-13. After an attack error by Hunt, Claire McElheny delivered a kill to make it match point at 15-14. Hunt followed with a kill to complete the Wolverine comeback victory.
The Gophers outhit Michigan .289 (63-17-159) to .198 (72-34-192) on the night, however the Wolverines had 72 kills to 63 for Minnesota. Michigan also had seven service aces to two for the Gophers. Minnesota outblocked the Wolverines 17.0-to-9.0 in the match, and held a narrow edge in digs 73 to 72.
Michigan was led by Hunt who has 28 kills and 11 digs, while McElheny had 15 kills, hit .464 (15-2-28) and had two blocks. Setter Lexi Zimmerman finished with 60 assists, 21 digs and two kills. Sloane Donhoff also had 16 digs and three assists.
Minnesota will be back in action when its hosts its Big Ten home opener against Purdue on Friday, Oct. 1 at 6 p.m. The Golden Gophers will also face Indiana on Sunday, Oct. 3 at 1 p.m. Both matches can be heard live in the Gold Zone.