23-For the third time in the last three meetings the Minnesota volleyball team (11-7, 4-2) won a five-game match over No. 21 Wisconsin (12-5, 4-2) claiming the match by scores of 27-30, 30-26, 30-22, 23-30, 15-10 on Sunday, Oct. 12 at the Wisconsin Field House.
It marked the second straight year that Minnesota won at the Wisconsin Field House. The last time the Golden Gophers claimed back- to-back victories at Wisconsin was in the 1986 and 87 seasons. It was also Minnesota's 11th win in 14 matches.
After Wisconsin claimed game four to tie the match at 2-2, the two teams started off evenly in game five. After five ties the two teams stood deadlocked at 6-6. Minnesota went ahead 8-6 after Lindsey Taatjes (Prinsburg, Minn.) and Meredith Nelson (St. Croix Falls, Wis.) combined on a block and Taatjes riffled a service ace. After moving up 9-6, Cassie Busse (Prior Lake, Minn.) tallied back-to-back kills to make it 11-6. Wisconsin called a timeout and answered back with three straight points to cut the lead to 11-9. Busse responded with another kill to make it 12-9. With the lead at 13-10, Busse tallied her seventh kill of the game to put Minnesota one point away from the match at 14-10. After scoring a point to trim the margin to 14-11, Wisconsin served the ball long on the next play to give the Golden Gopher their third straight victory in the series. Busse paced Minnesota with seven kills of the team's eight kills in the final game on the way to the 15-11 game five victory.
"Cassie did a great job of stepping up for our team and delivering on clutch points in the fifth game," said Minnesota Head Coach Mike Hebert. "I think as a whole our team did a good job in the fifth game of minimizing our mistakes. In these fifth games it generally boils down to attack percentage and who makes less mistakes and our team did a good job of executing down the stretch."
In game one Minnesota jumped out to a quick 6-4 lead. However, Wisconsin responded with a 10-0 run to go up 14-6. The Badgers moved the lead to 22-15, but Minnesota scored nine of the next 12 points to cut the lead to one at 25-24. Wisconsin answered with two straight points to move out to a 27-24 lead, but back-to-back kills by Cassie Busse (Prior Lake, Minn.) trimmed the lead back to one point at 27- 26. From that point the two teams exchanged points to make the score 28-27, before Wisconsin closed out the game with final two points to take game one 30-27. Trisha Bratford (Reseda, Calif.) paced Minnesota's attack with five kills in the game. Wisconsin outhit the Golden Gophers .244 to .205 in game one, while Minnesota outblocked the Badgers 5.0 to 1.0. Wisconsin also tallied four service aces on its way to the game one victory.
The Golden Gophers came right back to tie the match at 1-1 by claiming game two 30-26. After seven ties in the early going the two teams were tied at 7-7. Wisconsin moved ahead by scoring three of the next four points to go up 11-8. The Badgers moved the lead to 17-13. From that point, the Golden Gophers scored six of the next seven points to take a 19-18 lead. With the score tied at 20, Minnesota went up 22-20 when Jessica Byrnes (Minnetonka, Minn.) registered a kill and paired up on a block with Lindsey Taatjes (Prinsburg, Minn.). Wisconsin trimmed the lead to 23-22, but the Golden Gophers scored three of the next four points to go up 26-23. The Badgers cut it to 26-24, but the Golden Gophers responded again with three straight points to go up 29-24 and set up game point. After Wisconsin fought off two game points, Erin Martin (Ames, Iowa) put down a kill to give Minnesota the second game. Busse led the attack with six kills in the game. The Golden Gopher outhit the Badgers .316 to .208 in the game.
Minnesota jumped out to an early 13-9 lead in game three. Wisconsin scored four of the next five points to cut the lead to 14-13. The Golden Gopher moved out to a 19-16 lead. After the Badgers cut the score to 19-18, Minnesota answered with an 8-0 run to go up 27-18. With score at 23-18, Busse registered two kills and was in on two blocks to help extend the lead to nine points. The Golden Gophers moved on to claim game three 30-22 to take a 2-1 lead in the match. Busse had six kills and three blocks in the game, while Bratford also tallied six blocks. Minnesota outhit Wisconsin .390 to .154 in the game, and also outblocked the Badgers 5.0 to 2.0.
In game four Minnesota jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead, but Wisconsin scored four straight point to tie the score 6-6. The Golden Gophers responded with four of the next five points to go up 10-7. However, the Badgers went on a 5-0 run to take a 12-10 lead. After Minnesota tied the score at 12, Wisconsin answered by scoring four of the next five point to go up 16-13. The Golden Gophers cut the score to 18-17, but the Badgers opened up the lead to 22-18. From that point, Minnesota was unable to get any closer then three points the rest of the game, as Wisconsin moved on to a 30-23 game four victory to even the match at 2-2. The Badgers outhit, Minnesota .283 to .067 in the game. Martin paced the attack for Minnesota with five kills in the game.
"This is a big win for our team," said Hebert. "The Big Ten is so competitive from top to bottom, that a road win is very hard to come by, led alone a victory at Wisconsin which is a very difficult place to win. I thought Wisconsin did a good job on their game plan at the beginning of the match. They were running very quick plays, which threw our timing off. Trisha (Bratford) did an amazing job the first three and a half games of coming up with big kills. When she started to get tired Erin (Martin) and Cassie (Busse) really came up with some big kills, and along with our block that helped give us the win in a tough match."
Busse tied a career-high in kills with 24 in the match, seven of which came in the fifth and deciding game. She also had a season-high 13 digs, along with six blocks. Nelson registered a career-high in blocks for a third time in as many matches with 11 blocks in the match. Taatjes had a season-high 62 assists and 15 digs in the match. Bratford had 16 kills, six digs and five blocks on the day, while Martin tallied 18 kills in the match. Paula Gentil (Fortleaza Ceara', Brazil) had 15 digs, while Lisa Reinhart (White Bear Lake, Minn.) tallied 13.
Minnesota outhit Wisconsin .243 to .218 in the match. The Golden Gophers also had a season-high 16 blocks to seven for the Badgers.
Amy Bladow paced four Wisconsin players in double-figure kills with 14. Setter Morgan Shields tallied 61 assists, 12 digs and four kills in the match.
The Golden Gophers will continue their four-match Big Ten road swing when they head to Columbus, Ohio to take on Ohio State on Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. That match will be telecast live on Fox Sports Net North. Minnesota will wrap up the road trip at No. 11 Penn State on Oct 8 at 6 p.m.