SeThe ninth-ranked Minnesota volleyball team (12-2, 2-1) won its Big Ten home opener in three games over Michigan State (8-5, 1-2) by scores of 30-26, 30-27, 30-21 at the Sports Pavilion on Friday, Sept. 30. With the victory, the Golden Gophers have now won seven straight Big Ten home openers.
“I told our players that we had to be ready to match the intensity Michigan State was going to bring to the match tonight,” said Minnesota Head Coach Mike Hebert. “The Spartans have a new coach this year in Cathy George who has them playing very hard. I thought we did a good job of taking them out of what they wanted to do offensively tonight. To hold a Big Ten team to under a .100 hitting percentage is a good accomplishment, and we did that tonight against a good Michigan State team.”
Minnesota was led by junior Meredith Nelson (St. Croix Falls, Wis.) who had 10 kills, six blocks and four digs for the match. Sophomore Sarah Florian (Holland, Ohio) was the only other Golden Gophers with double-figure kills with 10 and eight digs.
Junior Kelly Bowman (Maple Grove, Minn.) narrowly missed a triple- double with eight kills, 21 assists and 10 digs. Junior Meghan Cumpston (Red Bluff, Calif.) also had nine kills and four solo blocks on the night for Minnesota.
Senior libero Paula Gentil (Forteleaza Ceara’, Brazil) had a match- high 20 digs.
In game one Minnesota fell behind 14-11, before scoring seven of the next 10 points to take an 18-17 lead. Michigan State scored the next two points to reclaim the lead at 19-18, but Florian delivered a kill to tie it at 19. The two teams exchanged the next four points to tie the game at 21.
The Spartans followed by committing three straight attack errors, and Cumpston had a kill to finish of a 4-0 run to make it 25-21. Michigan State cut the lead to 27-25, but Minnesota scored three of the last four points to claim game one 30-26.
Minnesota outhit Michigan State .208 to .111 in game one. Florian led the way with four kills, while Bowman, Jessy Jones (Naperville, Ill.) and Cumpston each had three.
In game tow, Minnesota jumped out to a 13-11 lead, but Michigan State scored four of the next five points to take a 15-14 lead. The Spartans pushed the lead to 18-16, but the Golden Gophers scored four of the next five points to reclaim the lead at 20-19. Minnesota pushed the lead out to 23-21 on a service ace by freshman Rachel Hartmann (St. Charles, Ill.), but Michigan State responded with three of the next four point to tie it at 24.
The Spartans followed with a pair of attack errors to give the Golden Gophers a 26-24 lead. With the score at 27-26, Cumpston and Florian delivered consecutive kills to give Minnesota game point at 29-26. Michigan State cut it to 29-27, but Jones put down a kill to give the Golden Gophers game two 30-27.
Minnesota outhit the Spartans .150 to .044 in game two, despite the fact that both teams had 14 kills. Nelson led the Golden Gophers with four kills in the game.
The Golden Gophers ran out to an early 6-2 lead in game three, but Michigan State tied it at nine. With the score tied at 10, The Golden Gophers ran off five of the next six points to go up 15-11. Minnesota pushed the lead out to 20-13, before Michigan State scored three straight to make it 20-16. The Golden Gophers pushed the lead back out to 22-16 with two straight points. Michigan State cut it to 23- 18, but that was as close as it would get as Minnesota scored seven of the final 10 points to close it out at 30-21.
Minnesota outhit Michigan State .232 to .082 for the match, despite narrowly edging the Spartans in kills 46 to 44. It marked the ninth time in 14 matches this season that the Golden Gophers have held an opponent under a .100 hitting percentage. The Golden Gophers also outblocked Michigan State 13.0-to-2.0 for that match.
Michigan State was led by Katie Johnson, who had 15 kills in the match. Ashley Schatzle also had 13 kills for the Spartans. Libero Nicole Colaluca had a team-high 18 digs, while setter Mickey Davis had 34 assists and 11 digs.
Minnesota will be back in action against Michigan on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. That match will be webcast live on gophersports.com.