Minnesota Sweeps Michigan in Big Ten Home Opener
The Minnesota volleyball team (9-4, 3-0) won its seventh straight match as it swept Michigan (13-2, 0-3) by scores of 32-30, 30-28, 30-24 on Friday, Sept. 29 at the Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis, Minn. With the win, the Golden Gophers are off to their first 3-0 start in Big Ten play since 2002 when they won the conference title
“The first two games of tonight’s was a battle of wills,” said Minnesota Head Coach Mike Hebert. “We did a good job winning that battle of wills to give ourselves a 2-0 lead. Both teams came out tremendously prepared for the match in terms of knowing what each other was going to do. That is why it was so important to win that battle of wills. I think our team also did a good job of wearing down Michigan after the first two games, and we came out strong enough to close the match in the third game. I thought we played very well defensively tonight.
Minnesota was led by Kyla Roehrig (Papillion, Neb.) who had 10 kills and three blocsk, while Meghan Cumpston (Red Bluff, Calif.) had nine kills and four digs.
Senior Kelly Bowman had five kills, five assists, one service ace and 14 digs on the night, while Malama Peniata (Plymouth, Minn.) finished with 18 digs. Sophomore setter Rachel Hartmann (St. Charles, Ill.) had 37 assists, tied a career-high four kills, two service aces and three blocks.
Meredith Nelson (St. Croix Falls, Wis.) and Jessy Jones (Naperville, Ill.) each finished with eight kills and tied with a match-high five blocks.
Minnesota limited Michigan to a .088 hitting percentage, while hitting .181 on the night. The Golden Gophers also had 48 kills to 40 for the Wolverines. Minnesota outblocked Michigan 13.0-to-6.0 on the night. The Golden Gophers have outblocked 11 of their 13 opponents this season.
In the first game, Michigan ran out to six-point lead at 19-13. The Golden Gophers scored four of the next five points to cut the lead to 20-17. The Wolverines pushed the lead out to 23-19, but the Golden Gophers bounced back to cut it to 24-22 with three of the next four points punctuated by Jones’ kill. The Wolverines pushed the lead to 25-22, but Bowman and Cumpston delivered back-to-back kills to cut the lead to one at 25-24. Michigan scored to make it 26-24, but Nelson delivered a kill and the Wolverines committed an attack error to the game at 26.
After a Golden Gopher service error put them down 27-26, Roehrig followed with a kill to tie the game. Roehrig delivered a kill after an Wolverine attack error to make it game point at 29-27. Michigan answered quickly with three straight points to give itself game point at 30-29. Roehrig followed with a kill to tie it at 30. Hartmann followed with a service ace to give Minnesota a third game point. This time the Golden Gophers ended the game with a block by Bowman and Jones to make it 32-30.
Minnesota outhit Michigan .261 to .186 in the game, and had 20 kills to 15 for the Wolverines. The Golden Gophers had four blocks to one for Michigan. Nelson and Roehrig each had four kills in the game.
Michigan jumped out to a 13-11 lead in game two, but Minnesota answered with four of the next six points to tie it at 15. The teams exchanged the next eight points to reach a tie at 19. Michigan followed with a 5-0 run to move ahead 24-19. The Golden Gophers scored five of the next six points to cut the Michigan lead to 25-24.
The Wolverines scored the next point to move ahead 26-24. Bowman followed with a kill, but Michigan answered with a point to make it 27-25. The Wolverines moved up 28-26, but Hartmann delivered a kill followed by a Michigan error to tie it 28. Jones delivered a kill to move it to game point at 29-28. She followed with a solo block to give Minnesota a 2-0 lead in the match.
Minnesota narrowly outhit Michigan .096 to .058, while each team had 13 kills. The Golden Gophers outblocked the Wolverines 7.0-to-2.0. Jones had four blocks in the game.
The Golden Gophers will return to action on Sunday, Oct. 1 at 1 p.m. when they face Michigan State in the Sports Pavilion. That game will be webcasted on gophersports.com.