MinThe streak is over. Nicole Branagh had 28 kills and Stephanie Hagen added 21 kills as sixth-ranked Minnesota defeated 11th-ranked Penn State, 13-15, 15-12, 15-12, 15-11, at Rec Hall in University Park, Pa. The Gophers (14-0, 3-0 Big Ten) win their 14th consecutive match, tying a school record and extending the nation's longest current winning streak. Penn State (11-4, 0-3 Big Ten) lost for the first time at home since Nov. 24, 1995, ending an NCAA-record 87-match home winning streak.
"This is an incredible win for our program," said Mike Hebert, Minnesota head coach. "To beat Penn State when they are playing its best says a lot for our team. Many players had outstanding nights to get us this win."
Branagh and Hagen each set season-highs in kills. Charnette Fair had a career-high 18 kills and hit .341 to complement Hagen's .362 hitting percentage. Yvonne VanOort contributed a double-double with 10 kills and 17 digs. Hagen also established a career high with 12 digs and had her first career kill/dig double-double. Lindsey Berg had a season-high 70 assists and added 13 digs.
Minnesota built a 7-0 lead in the first game, but Penn State rallied to tie the game at 13-13 and scored the final two points on a kill by Cara Smith and a Branagh error to win the first game, 15-13. The Nittany Lions had a 5-1 blocking advantage in the opening game and limited Minnesota to a .135 hitting percentage.
Penn State established a 9-4 advantage in the second game, but Minnesota scored 11 of the final 14 points to win the game 15-12 and even the match. Hagen and Branagh each had eight kills in the second game, as the Minnesota offense improved to hit .304 in the second game.
The Nittany Lions again went to the lead in the third game at 10-3, but the Gophers rallied with 12 of the final 14 points to win the game, 15-12. With Penn State leading 12-11, Hagen served the final four points, aided by two Branagh kills and a Berg kill on game point.
In the fourth game, Penn State took a 9-4 lead, but Minnesota scored 11 of the final 13 points of the match to win the fourth game, 15-11. Minnesota scored the final four points on a VanOort kill, a VanOort block and two errors by Penn State.
Minnesota will travel to Indiana to play the Hoosiers on Saturday night at 7 p.m.