1Nicole Branagh pounded 17 kills and Yvonne Wichert added 13 kills to lead Minnesota past Northwestern, 15-7, 15-6, 15-0. The Gophers are 4-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since 1989, and are 13-3 overall. Minnesota has won its last seven matches.
"We had another sharp performance tonight," said Minnesota coach Mike Hebert. "Northwestern can be confusing offensively, but once our block adjusted to their offense, we were in control of the match."
The Gopher defense was dominant again against the Wildcats (2-12, 0-4 Big Ten), outblocking Northwestern 13-5 and holding the Wildcats to a .088 hitting percentage. Senior Susan Shudlick, filling in for the second straight match at setter, directed Minnesota to a .410 hitting percentage. Minnesota hit .500 with no errors in the third game, the first shutout game of the season.
Wichert added 14 digs to lead the Minnesota defense, while Branagh had 12 and Linda Shudlick contributed 10. Charnette Fair, the Big Ten's leading blocker, had eight blocks and six kills in the middle. Minnesota scored the final 20 points of the match.
Minnesota takes its act on the road next weekend for a pair of matches in the state of Michigan. The Gophers will play at the University of Michigan next Friday at 6 p.m. (CDT).