SunThe No. 20 Golden Gophers came up short in its upset bid of No. 10 Ohio State, losing 3-2 (27-30, 30-17, 21-30, 30-26, 15-11) in Big Ten volleyball action at St. John's Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday. Minnesota, who has lost its last four Big Ten matches on the road, falls to 10-6 overall and 4-4 in conference play.
Ohio State (15-1, 7-1) needed to fight back from a 2-1 deficit, winning game four, 30-26, to force the deciding fifth game. The Buckeyes never trailed in the fifth game. With the score tied at 6-6, Ohio State forged ahead with three straight points on kills by Anne Botica and an ace by Shelly Draeger. After that point, Minnesota was turned back from two opportunities to tie the score. A Bethany Brafford kill closed the Gophers to within 13-11, but the Buckeyes tallied the winning points on a Draeger kill and another service ace by Stacey Gordon.
The Gophers lost the fourth game despite hitting .400 and committing only one attack error. The game featured 16 ties, the last at 25-25, before Ohio State scored five of the last six point of the game to pull out the win.
Minnesota used solid defense and four Ohio State serving miscues to win the third game, 30-21. Stephanie Hagen blasted six kills in the game and ended the scored the winning point on a solo block.
Ohio State tied the match at one game apiece, winning the second game, 30-17. The Gophers helped the Buckeyes build a lead by hitting a negative .192 in the game, landing just four kills, while committing nine attack errors.
The first game included 12 ties, the last at 15-15. Minnesota outscored Ohio State 7-1 to take a 22-16 lead, with Kathy Tilson adding two kills along the way. The Buckeyes closed to within 28-26, but the Gophers answered with kills by Hagen and Tilson to take game one, 30-27.
Minnesota was led by Hagen's 15 kills, but the senior middle blocker hit an uncharacteristic .190 for the match. Brafford posted impressive numbers, landing 14 kills in 24 swings with just one error for a .542 attack percentage. Tilson added 10 kills. Setter Lindsey Berg was credited with 45 assists in directing the Gopher offense to a .206 attack percentage as a team.
A balanced Ohio State attack gathered a 76-57 advantage in kills and placed five players in double digit kill totals. Freshman sensation Stacey Gordon topped the Buckeyes with 14 kills. As a team, Ohio State hit for a .276 attack percentage.
The Gophers return to the Sports Pavilion next weekend to close the first half of the Big Ten season with matches against No. 6 Wisconsin on Friday and Northwestern on Saturday.