3-Paula Gentil (Forteleaza Ceara', Brazil) had a Big Ten record 47 digs, as the No. 1 ranked Minnesota volleyball team (14-2, 3-1) handed No. 4 Penn State (12-1, 3-1) its first loss of the season Saturday night, beating the Nittany Lions in five games by scores of 34-36, 30-28, 30-27, 26-30 and 15-11 in front of 3,179 fans at Rec Hall in University Park, Pa. With the win, Minnesota won at Rec Hall for a second straight year marking the first time in school history the Golden Gophers had done so.
Gentil's 47 digs in a match broke Susan Wohlford's (Wisconsin) of 44 digs set on Oct. 20, 1990 against Iowa. Gentil has had 86 digs in Minnesota's last two Saturday matches.
Erin Martin (Ames, Iowa) also became only the eighth Minnesota player to record 30 kills or more in a match. Cassie Busse was the last player to do so on Oct. 25, 2003 against Michigan State. Along with the career-high 30 kills, Martin also had four solo blocks in the match. Trisha Bratford (Reseda, Calif.) had 21 kills and six blocks in the match.
Kelly Bowman (Maple Grove, Minn.) had her fifth triple-double with 16 kills, 34 assists and 21 digs. Lindsey Taatjes (Prinsburg, Minn.) had 51 assists, a career-high eight blocks and 16 digs. Jessica Byrnes (Minnetonka, Minn.) and Meredith Nelson (St. Croix Falls, Wis.) had 12 and 10 kills respectively. Byrnes also had a season-high seven blocks. Marci Peniata (Plymouth, Minn.) also had 15 digs.
Minnesota led 2-1 in the match, but Penn State jumped out to a 20-14 lead in game four. Minnesota cut the lead down 20-17, but the Nittany Lions would not lead by less then four the rest of the way as they won game four 30-26.
Penn State jumped out to a 5-3 lead in game five, but Bratford put down three straight kills to give Minnesota a 6-5 lead. Kelly Bowman and Bratford followed with kills to give the Golden Gophers an 8-5 lead. Jen Bowman (Maple Grove, Minn.) had four digs and was behind the service line for Minnesota's 5-0 run. Penn State cut the lead to 8-6, but Byrnes and Bratford followed with kills to make it 10-6. Bratford and Byrnes combined on a block to put Minnesota ahead 11-6. Penn State scored three of the next four points to make it 12-9, but Byrnes and Taatjes combined on a block to put the Golden Gophers up 13-9. Penn State cut it to 13-10, but Martin put down a kill to put it at match point at 14-10. Following a service error, which cut it to 14-11, Bowman put down a kill to give Minnesota the match.
"This was a great win for us tonight," said Minnesota Head Volleyball Coach Mike Hebert. "This was a hard fought match between two very evenly matched teams, and we are extremely excited to come away with the victory. This Ohio State and Penn State road trip is the hardest in the nation, and to come away with a split is satisfying."
The two teams started out a tightly contested game one with 10 ties that led to the score being tied at 13. Penn State scored four of the next five points to take a 17-14 lead. Minnesota responded with the next three points to tie the game at 17. The Golden Gophers wrestled the lead away with two of the next three points to go up 19-18. Penn State scored the next two points to reclaim the lead at 20-19. Minnesota tied the score at 20, and the two teams exchanged the next six points to move it to 23. Penn State moved ahead 25-23 with the next two points, but the Golden Gophers scored four of the next six points to tie it at 27.
Penn State moved it to game point at 29-27 with the next two points. Minnesota fought off the two game points to tie the score at 29. Jessica Byrnes (Minnetonka, Minn.) put down a kill to give the Golden Gophers game point at 30-29. Penn State fought off game point, but Minnesota got another game point at 31-30. Penn State scored the next two points to set up game point at 32-31. The Nittany Lions lined up two more game points against Minnesota at 33-32 and 34-33, but were unable to put the game away. Penn State finally moved ahead 35-34, and was able to close out game one 36-34.
The Nittany Lions outhit Minnesota .333 to .259 in the first game. Penn State had 25 kills to 23 for the Golden Gophers. Trisha Bratford (Reseda, Calif.) led the attack with six kills in the game. Paula Gentil (Forteleaza Ceara', Brazil) had 12 digs in the first game.
Minnesota jumped out to an early 11-8 lead in game two, but Penn State scored four of the next five points to tie the score at 12. The Golden Gophers pushed the lead out slightly to 16-14 with four of the next six points. Minnesota led throughout the game until Penn State wrestled the lead away at 25-24. Penn State pushed that lead to 27- 26, before Bratford followed with a kill and the Nittany Lions committed an error to five the Golden Gophers a 28-27 lead. Penn State tied it at 28, but Byrnes put down a kill to give Minnesota game point at 29-28. Byrnes and Taatjes combined on a block to give the Golden Gophers game two 30-28 to even the match at one game apiece.
Martin paced Minnesota with seven kills in the game. The Golden Gophers narrowly outhit the Nittany Lions .173 to .163 in the game.
Penn State jumped out to an early 8-4 lead in game three. Minnesota answered with six of the next seven points to take a 10-9 lead. Penn State tied the score at 10, but the Golden Gophers rattled off seven straight points behind Gentil's serve to go up 17-10. Martin had three kills during that span. Penn State responded with 12 of the next 16 points to wrestle the lead back at 22-21. Minnesota scored the next two points to take the lead at 23-22, but Penn State took it right back at 24-23. Byrnes followed with back-to-back kills to give Minnesota the lead back at 25-24. Penn State tied the score at 26, but Nelson and Kelly Bowman delivered back-to-back kills to give Minnesota a 28-26 lead. Martin followed with a kill to give the Golden Gophers game point at 29-26. Penn State cut the lead to 29-27, but Bowman put down a kill to give Minnesota game three to put the Golden Gophers up 2-1 in the match.
Martin again paced Minnesota with eight kills in the game, while Bowman hit .555 (5-0-9) with five kills. The Golden Gophers outhit the Nittany Lions .188 to .164, and had 20 kills to 17 for Penn State. Minnesota also outblocked Penn State 5.0-to-1.0 in the game.
Penn State outhit Minnesota .283 to .196 on its way to a 30-26 game- four victory to even that match up at two games apiece. The Nittany Lions also narrowly outdug Minnesota 20 to 19 in the game.
The two teams had 57 ties and 25 lead changes in the match. Penn State narrowly outhit Minnesota .228 and .219. The Golden Gophers had 93 kills to 85 for the Golden Gophers. Minnesota also outblocked Penn State 19.0-to-15.5 on the night, and has 121 digs to 113 for the Nittany Lions.
Ashley Pederson led Penn State with 25 kills and 13 digs, while Kate Price had 20 kills and 18 digs. Sam Tortorello had 65 assists, seven kills and 17 digs. Kaleena Walters tied the former Big Ten record with 44 digs, but had three less then Gentil had on the night for the new Big Ten record.
Minnesota will return home to take on Wisconsin on Friday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. That match will be telecast live on Fox Sports Net North. The Golden Gophers will also take on Northwestern on Saturday, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m.