199Minnesota defeated Purdue in three games, 15-8, 15-5, 15-13 in Big Ten volleyball action at the Sports Pavilion on Saturday night. Minnesota has started 2-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since 1992 and is 11-3 overall.
Nicole Branagh led Minnesota with 25 kills, including 13 in the final game. Yvonne Wichert and Stephanie Hagen added 10 kills apiece. Purdue (8-3, 0-2 Big Ten) was topped by Aneska Arosarena with 18 kills.
In the opening game, Minnesota scored seven of the first nine points and was not threatened for the remainder of the game. Branagh had seven kills in the first game to lead the Minnesota offense, which hit .314 in the first game. The Boilermakers were limited to a .163 hitting percentage, led by Arosarena's eight kills. Purdue had 11 hitting errors in the opening game, compared to Minnesota's three.
The Gophers trailed Purdue 4-3 in the second game, but scored 12 of the last 13 points to take a 2-0 lead in the match. Branagh pounded five kills and helped Minnesota to a .310 hitting percentage. The Gophers had eight blocks in the second game, seven by Fair. Minnesota outblocked Purdue 8-1 in the second game.
The third game was filled with side outs and lasted for 45 minutes. Purdue had a 13-12 lead in the third game, scoring three consecutive points. Seven side outs followed before Wichert's cross-court kill tied the game at 13. The tying point was followed by 14 side outs before a Purdue error gave the Gophers a 14-13 lead. On Minnesota's third match point, Purdue hit the ball wide on an attack to end the match.
Minnesota travels to Iowa for a Wednesday match beginning at 7 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.