The 13th-ranked Minnesota volleyball team (13-2, 3-0) claimed a five-set victory over No. 19 Illinois (10-4, 1-2) for the second year in a row as it defeated the Illini 25-22, 20-25, 25-22, 21-25, 15-8 at Huff Hall in Champaign, Ill. on Friday, Oct. 3. With the win, the Golden Gophers are now 5-1 against ranked opponents on the season.
Minnesota was led by Brook Dieter (Bloomington, Minn.) who had a season-high 18 kills, a career-high 24 digs and two service aces. Christine Tan (Safety Harbor, Fla.) finished with a match-high 36 digs in the match.
Kyla Roehrig (Papillion, Neb.) had 15 kills and four blocks for Minnesota, while Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.) had 12 kills and eight blocks on the night. Hailey Cowles (Eden Prairie, Minn.) finished with a career-high 21 digs and had four kills.
Pam Luiz (Limeira, Brazil) had nine kills, four assists, seven digs and four blocks, while Rachel Hartmann (St. Charles, Ill.) had a season-high 58 assists and 10 digs.
Minnesota outhit Illinois .184 to .153, and had 63 kills to 59 for the Illini. The Golden Gophers also had 100 digs for the second time in four matches with 104. Illinois finished with 93 digs. Minnesota also outblocked the Illini 12.0-to-10.0. The Golden Gophers have outblocked all 15 opponents they have faced this season.
After Illinois won the fourth set 25-21 to force the match to a fifth, it jumped out to a 3-2 lead to start the fifth set. Minnesota tied the set at three, and Dieter followed with three consecutive kills to put the Golden Gophers up 6-3. The Illini cut the lead to 6-4, but Dieter followed with another kill to make it 7-4. Gibbemeyer and Hartmann combined on a block, and Dieter, who had four kills and a service ace in the fifth set, followed with a service ace to make it 9-4.
Illinois cut the lead to 9-5, but Gibbemeyer followed with a kill. After an attack error by the Illini, Roehrig followed with a kill and Gibbemeyer delivered a service ace to make it 13-5. Roehrig delivered a shot down the line to make it match point at 14-6. After consecutive Illini points, Kelly Schmidt (Champaign, Ill.) and Roehrig combined on a block to give the Golden Gophers their first five-set victory in three tries on the year.
With the victory, Schmidt is now 4-0 when returning to play in her hometown of Champaign.
Illinois jumped out to a 7-4 lead in the first set, but Minnesota scored the next three points, and tied at seven on a kill by Gibbemeyer. The teams traded leads three times in the next seven points with the Golden Gophers taking the lead at 11-10. Minnesota grabbed a 13-12 lead after a kill by Roehrig. However, Illinois responded with six of the next seven points to take an 18-14 lead.
The two teams exchanged the next six points to make it 21-17. Minnesota answered with three straight points, and cut the Illinois lead to one point at 21-20 on a Hartmann service ace. After the Illini pushed the lead to 22-20, Roehrig and Cowles answered with kills to tie the set at 22. The Golden Gophers scored the next point to make it 23-22, but Illinois tied it again at 23. Dieter answered with a kill, and then combined on a block with Gibbemeyer to give Minnesota the set 25-23.
In the first set, the Golden Gophers outhit Illinois .263 to .167, and had 14 kills to 13 for the Illini. Both teams had three blocks. Roehrig finished with four kills in five swings and had a solo block, while Dieter had four kills and five digs. Tan also had 11 digs in the set.
Minnesota moved out to a 3-1 lead in the second set, but Illinois moved ahead 5-3 with four consecutive points. The Golden Gophers answered with four consecutive points of their own, and moved ahead 7-5 on a service ace by Dieter. Illinois followed with a 5-0 run to take a 10-7 lead. Minnesota cut it to 12-10 on a kill by Luiz. However, the Illini responded with three straight points to make 15-10.
The Golden Gophers scored three of the next four points, and cut it to 16-13 on a kill by Luiz, but Illinois responded with consecutive points. The Illini pushed their lead to 20-14 four of the next five points. Minnesota answered with four of the next five points, and cut the Illinois lead to 21-19 on a Roehrig kill. Illinois came back four of the final five points to take the second set 25-20.
In the second set, the Illini outhit Minnesota .143 to .054, and had 14 kills to 11 for the Golden Gophers. Minnesota outblocked Illinois 2.0-to-1.0 in the set.
Illinois jumped to an 8-6 lead, but Minnesota reeled in the Illini and moved ahead 12-11 on a Cowles kill. The Illini tied the score at 12, but the Golden Gophers scored three straight points to take a 15-12 lead. Minnesota pushed lead out to 19-15 on a kill by Luiz, but Illinois scored three of the next four points to cut it to 20-18.
Dieter put the Golden Gophers ahead 21-18. Illinois cut the lead to 22-21, Gibbemeyer delivered a kill to move ahead 23-21. Gibbemeyer and Roehrig combined on a block to make it set point at 24-21. The Illini fought off the first set point, but Gibbemeyer put down a kill to give Minnesota a 2-1 lead in the match.
The Golden Gophers outhit Illinois .208 to .111 in the set, and had 17 kills to 12 for the Illini. Gibbemeyer finished with six kills in the set
Minnesota jumped out to an 8-5 lead in the fourth set, but Illinois ripped off 10 of the next 11 points to go up 15-9. The Illini moved ahead 21-15, but the Golden Gophers scored five of the next six points to cut it to 22-20. Illinois closed the set with three of the final four points to send the match to a fifth set.
The Illini outhit Minnesota .237 to .194 in the fourth set. Each team had 14 kills, and Illinois outblocked the Golden Gophers 3.0-to-2.0 in the set. Laura DeBruler finished with 10 kills in the set for the Illini.
Illinois was led by DeBruler who had 24 kills and 22 digs on the night. Kylie McCulley had 16 kills and 12 digs. Ashley Edinger also finished with 28 digs for the Illini on the night.
Minnesota will be back in action on Saturday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. when travels to No. 18 Purdue. That match can be heard live on gophersports.com.