MadisoThe sixth-ranked Minnesota volleyball team (16-2, 3-0) defeated No. 14 Wisconsin (10-4, 1-2) by scores of 30-27, 32-30, 17-30, 20-30 and 15-10 in front of a crowd of 4,196 at the Field House in Madison, Wis. The Golden Gophers snap a five-match losing streak to the Badgers and post their first win at Wisconsin since Nov. 22, 1995. Minnesota has won its last nine matches.
“We played the big points well tonight,” said Minnesota head coach Mike Hebert. “Wisconsin played well tonight. It was a strange match to win. When the match was on the line, we played stronger.”
Cassie Busse (Prior Lake, Minn.) led Minnesota with 13 kills, and completed the double-double with 10 digs. Erin Martin (Ames, Iowa) added 10 kills and six blocks, while Paula Gentil (Fortaleza Ceara, Brazil) led Minnesota with 15 digs. Lindsey Vander Well (Prinsburg, Minn.) ran the Golden Gopher offense with 39 assists and added 13 digs and three blocks.
Minnesota claimed game one against Wisconsin 30-27, a game that featured 10 ties and eight lead changes. The Golden Gophers built a 5- 2 lead, but the Badgers fought back with a 5-1 run to take the lead 10-8. Minnesota scored three of the final four points to capture the game. Jessica Byrnes (Minnetonka, Minn.) and Martin paced the Golden Gophers with five kills apiece.
The Golden Gophers took a 2-0 lead in the match by taking game two 32- 30 in thrilling fashion. The Badgers jumped out to a 20-11 lead capped by two consecutive service aces by Wisconsin’s Erin Byrd. Amanda Cipperly (Andover, Minn.) came off the bench for Minnesota, igniting a 17-4 run with three kills. Vander Well’s surprise kill put the Golden Gophers ahead 28-24, but Wisconsin rallied with five straight points to reach game point. Trisha Bratford’s (Reseda, Calif.) kill ended the Badger run and Byrnes’ service ace sealed the win for Minnesota.
In game three, Wisconsin took a commanding 19-11 lead and never looked back winning 30-17. The Badgers hit a team high .302 while limiting the Golden Gophers to a -.043 hitting percentage. Byrd had five kills and hit .267 to pace the Badger offense in the third game. Wisconsin also boasted 17 assists to Minnesota’s seven.
Wisconsin tied the match at two games apiece winning 30-20 in game four. The Badgers continued their powerful hitting percentage with .385 while the Golden Gophers managed just .025. Byrd led Wisconsin with six kills and five digs while Morgan Shields chipped in 17 assists. Lisa Axel (Buffalo, Minn.) was the lone bright spot for Minnesota with two service aces.
In game five, Minnesota jumped out to a 5-2 lead, forcing Wisconsin’s first timeout. The Badgers scored four of the next five points to create the game’s third and final tie at 6-6. After a Wisconsin serving error, Kelli Wicks (Danube, Minn.) served the next four points to increase the Golden Gopher advantage to 11-6, a lead Minnesota would not relinquish. Martin’s kill on match point gave Minnesota the win. After hitting over .300 in games three and four, Wisconsin was limited to a .130 hitting percentage in the final game, while Minnesota committed just one hitting error (.286 hitting percentage).
Erin Byrd led Wisconsin with 19 kills and added 20 digs and five aces.
Minnesota will continue Big Ten Conference play on the road Sunday, Oct. 6, against Northwestern at 2 p.m.
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