volleyballSophomore Sarah Florian (Holland, Ohio) had a career-high 20 kills as the ninth-ranked Minnesota volleyball team (16-3, 6-2) defeated Illinois (11-8, 2-6) in four games by scores of 30-27, 30-27, 24-30, 30-21 at Huff Hall on Saturday, Oct. 15. With the win, the Golden Gophers have won 14 of their last 16 matches.
The Minnesota-Illinois match will be broadcast on a tape-delayed basis on Sunday, Oct. 16 at 1:30 p.m.
Along with 20 kills, Florian had eight digs and five blocks (four solo blocks). Junior Meredith Nelson (St. Croix Falls, Wis.) also had 11 kills and five blocks on the night, while sophomore Jessy Jones (Naperville, Ill.) had 11 kills and three blocks.
Junior Kelly Bowman (Maple Grove, Minn.) had five kills, 26 assists and 11 digs, while Malama Peniata (Plymouth, Minn.) had 14 digs. Senior Paula Gentil (Forteleaza Ceara’, Brazil) also had 13 digs for Minnesota.
Freshman Rachel Hartmann (St. Charles, Ill.) had a team-high 30 assists and two service aces, while junior Meghan Cumpston (Red Bluff, Calif.) had nine kills and three solo blocks.
Minnesota fell behind 4-2 in the early going of game one, but rattled off seven of the next nine points to take a 9-6 lead. Illinois cut the lead to 9-7, but the Golden Gophers answered with four straight points as Minnesota pushed the lead to 13-7 after scoring 11 of 14 points against Illinois. The Golden Gophers had their lead cut to 13- 10 when Illinois scored three straight points. Minnesota responded with nine of the next 13 points to take a 22-14 lead.
The Golden Gophers pushed the lead out to 24-16, before Illinois ran off 10 of the next 12 points to tie the game at 26. Illinois took a timeout, after it committed a service error and a ballhandling error to give Minnesota a 28-26 lead. The Golden Gophers had their lead cut to 28-27, but Cumpston delivered a kill to give Minnesota game point 29-27. The Golden Gophers scored the next point to take game one 30- 27.
Minnesota outhit Illinois in game one .275 to .175, despite the fact that both teams had 16 kills. Nelson led the way with five kills in the game, while Jones had four kills.
The Golden Gophers jumped out to an 8-4 lead in game two, but Illinois scored five of the next seven points to cut it to 10-9. Minnesota scored the next four points to push the lead out to 14-9, but Illinois rattled off three points of its own to cut it to 14-12. The Golden Gophers came back with two straight points, but Illinois ran off four straight to tie the game at 16.
After the Golden Gophers scored to go ahead 17-16, Illinois scored two straight points to take an 18-17 lead. Cumpston delivered back-to- back kills followed by a block to give Minnesota a 20-18 lead. Jessica Byrnes (Minnetonka, Minn.) and Jones combined on a block to give Minnesota a 21-18 lead. The Golden Gophers stretched the lead out to 23-19, before Illinois responded with four straight points to tie the game at 23. Cumpston delivered a kill to make it 24-23, but Illinois tied it again at 24.
Florian delivered a kill and a solo block to make the score 26-24, but Illinois responded with consecutive points to tie it at 26. Bowman delivered a kill, and Florian followed with another kill to give the Golden Gophers a 28-26 lead. Illinois cut the lead to 28-27, but Florian and Cumpston delivered back-to-back kills to give Minnesota game two 30-27.
Illinois narrowly outhit Minnesota .049 to .045 in game two, and both teams finished with 13 kills. The Golden Gophers did outblock Illinois 6.0-to-4.0 in the game. Florian led the way with six kills in the game, while Cumpston had four kills.
Minnesota jumped out to an early 14-10 lead in game three, but Illinois responded with four straight points to tie it at 14. The Golden Gophers scored three of the next four points to go up 17-15, paced by three kills from Florian. However, Illinois tied at the score at 18 with three of the next four points. Minnesota claimed the next two points to go up 20-18, but Illinois responded with eight of the next 10 points to claim a 26-22 lead. The Golden Gophers cut it to 26-23, but Illinois ripped off three straight points to make it game point at 29-23. Minnesota fought off game point to make it 29- 24, but Meghan MacDonald delivered a kill to give Illinois game three 30-24.
Illinois outhit Minnesota .381 to .268 in the third game, and had 20 kills to 16 for the Golden Gophers. Florian led the way for the Golden Gophers with seven kills in the game.
In game four Minnesota jumped out to a 13-9 lead, and expanded it to 20-12 with eight of the next 11 points. Illinois scored four of the next six points to cut it to 22-16, but the Golden Gopher rattled off the next three points to make it 25-16. Illinois came back with three straight points of its own to cut it to 25-19 to force a Minnesota timeout. The Golden Gophers scored five of the next seven points to close out the game 30-21 to give them the match.
Minnesota outhit Illinois .248 to .205, despite the fact that Illinois had 65 kills to 62 for the Golden Gophers. Minnesota outblocked Illinois 15.0-to-10.0.
Rachel VanMeter led the way for Illinois with 28 kills, nine digs and four service aces. Kayani Turner had 12 kills, while Vicki Brown and Meghan MacDonald each had 10 apiece. Setter Lizzie Bazzetta had 58 assists and nine digs, while Illinois’ libero had 15 digs.
Minnesota will return home to play No. 19 Ohio State on Friday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. That match will be broadcast on a tape-delayed basis on Sunday, Oct. 23 at 4:30 p.m. The Golden Gophers will also play No. 4 Penn State on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m.