havThe Minnesota volleyball team (8-7, 1-2) defeated Northwestern (9-6, 0-3) in three games by scores 34-32, 30-26, 34-32 on Friday, Oct. 3 at the Sports Pavilion. With the victory the Golden Gophers have now won five Big Ten home openers in a row.
Minnesota jumped out to a 13-10 lead early in game one. Northwestern tied the match at 19. The two teams tied four times after that and were knotted at 23. Erin Martin (Ames, Iowa) delivered consecutive kills followed up by a Cassie Busse (Prior Lake, Minn.) kill to give the Golden Gophers a 26-23 lead. Minnesota held the lead and moved in position to win the game at 29-27. However, the Wildcats answered with two straight points to tie it at 29. Trisha Bratford (Reseda, Calif.) delivered a kill to give Minnesota a 30-29 lead. The Wildcats responded by tying the game up at 30. The two teams split the next four points to tie it 32. Martin and Bratford delivered back-to-back kills to give Minnesota the first game 34-32. Martin led the way for Minnesota in the game with six kills.
In the second game, the Golden Gophers jumped out to a 10-6 lead. Northwestern scored 10 of the next 16 points to tie the game at 16. The two teams played evenly and had the 12th tie of the game at 25. Minnesota took control by scoring the next four points to go up 29-25 on its way to a 30-26 game two victory. The Golden Gophers outhit the Wildcats .316 to .133, and were paced by eight kills from Busse.
The third game featured 18 ties and six lead changes. Minnesota grabbed a two-point lead and had match point at 29-27. However, Northwestern fought back again with two point to tie the score up at 29. Bratford delivered a kill to make it 30-29, but the Wildcats tied it at 30. After a kill by Busse, Northwestern tied the game again at 31. After the score was tied up again at 32, Martin and Bratford repeated their closing sequence from the first game, putting down consecutive kills to give the Golden Gophers the game at 34-32.
Bratford led Minnesota's attack with a match-high 18 kills, along with six digs. Busse registered her first double-double of the season with 16 kills and 10 digs on the night, while Martin had only her second career double-double with 15 kills and 10 digs, along with four blocks. Lindsey Taatjes (Prinsburg, Minn.) tied a match- high with 12 digs and had 33 assists in just two games. Paula Gentil (Forleaza Ceara', Brazil) and Lisa Reinhart (White Bear Lake, Minn.) were also two of five players on the Golden Gophers with double- figure digs, tallying 12 and 10 respectively on the night.
Minnesota outhit Northwestern .233 to .170 on the night. The Golden Gophers also had 60 kills to 50 for the Wildcats, while also outdigging them 75 to 55 on the match.
"I thought we played the big points well tonight," said head coach Mike Hebert. "Last weekend against Purdue and Indiana we let them get the crucial points in situations where we needed them. Tonight somebody seemed to step up every time we needed to get a big point."
Iwona Lodzik paced Northwestern with 14 kills and 11 digs. Christie Gardner and Erika Lange each tallied 12 kills in the match
Minnesota will take on Illinois on Saturday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Sports Pavilion in the second match of this Big Ten weekend homestand.