The 12th-ranked Minnesota volleyball team (16-3, 6-1) defeated Iowa (11-8, 3-4) at the Sports Pavilion on Wednesday, Oct. 15.
As team, the Golden Gophers hit a season-high .362, and had a season-low eight errors. The previous low was nine against Cincinnati (9/6) and Purdue (10/4). Minnesota outhit Iowa .362 to .133 in the match, and had 50 kills to 33 for the Hawkeyes. The Golden Gophers also outblocked the Hawkeyes 7.0-to-2.0 on the night.
“I thought tonight was a great all-around effort by our team,” said Minnesota Head Coach Mike Hebert. “We served and passed well, were very efficient in our swings and even when we were not in system we still did a great job of getting points. I was very happy with the effort our team put forth tonight.”
Minnesota’s highly efficient night was paced by Brook Dieter (Bloomington, Minn.) and Kelly Schmidt (Champaign, Ill.). Schmidt had a career-high 13 kills, and hit a career-high .812 (13-0-16) on the night. The hitting percentage was the most efficient percentage by a Golden Gopher since 2005 when Jessy Jones hit .909 (10-0-11) against Houston on Sept. 9, 2005. Schmidt’s hitting percentage was the sixth-best by a Golden Gopher in school history in a single match.
Dieter had 16 kills on the night, and amazingly did not commit an error in 38 swings. She also had five digs and two solo blocks. Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.) finished with seven kills and three blocks on the night.
Hailey Cowles (Eden Prairie, Minn.) had a team-high 14 digs, while Christine Tan (Safety Harbor, Fla.) finished with 12 digs and a service ace. Rachel Hartmann (St. Charles, Ill.) also had 29 assists and seven digs on the night.
Minnesota jumped out to an early 5-3 lead, and expanded it to 11-3 with a 6-0 run. The runs was closed off by a solo block by Dieter and a kill by Schmidt. The Hawkeyes scored to make it 11-4, but the Golden Gophers added to their lead with five of the next six points to take a 16-5 lead. The stretched completed an 11-2 run for Minnesota.
Iowa scored three of the next four points to make it 17-8, but the Golden Gophers answered with four consecutive points to take a 21-8 lead. After Minnesota went up 23-10, freshman Ashley Suapaia (Bloomington, Minn.) delivered a service ace to make it set point. The Hawkeyes fought off the first set point, but freshman Alex Blatt (Orland Park, Ill.) dumped the ball over the net for a kill to give Minnesota the set.
The Golden Gophers outhit Iowa .375 to -.056 on the night, and had 14 kills to seven for the Hawkeyes. Schmidt led the way with five kills in six swings for Minnesota in the first set.
In the second set, the Golden Gophers jumped out to a 6-2 lead thanks in large part to a pair of kills from Gibbemeyer and Dieter to help get things started. Iowa scored three of the next four points to cut the lead to 7-5, but the Golden Gopher went on a 5-0 run paced by three consecutive kills by Schmidt to make it 12-5. The Hawkeyes scored five of the next six points to cut the lead to 13-10.
Minnesota answered quickly with four of the next five points and moved ahead 17-11 on a solo block by Vatterrodt. The Golden Gophers pushed the lead out to 21-13 on a Dieter kill on a run that saw Minnesota scored of four of six points. Cowles put the Golden Gophers ahead 23-15 on a kill, and Dieter followed an Iowa point with a kill to make it set point at 24-16. After a Golden Gopher service error, Pam Luiz (Limeira, Brazil) and freshman Ariana Filho (Monument, Colo.) combined on a block to close the set out.
The Golden Gophers outhit Iowa .356 to .216 in the second set, and had 18 kills to 12 for the Hawkeyes. Dieter had seven kills in the set, while Schmidt had five kills in seven swings.
Minnesota ran out to a 5-1 lead in the third set after a Katie Vatterrodt (Bloomington, Ill.) kill. The Golden Gophers moved ahead 8-3, but Iowa came back with back-to-back points. Minnesota scored the next three points, and moved ahead 11-5 on a kill by Schmidt. The Hawkeyes scored five of the next seven points to cut it to 13-10, but after a service error Dieter delivered a kill to make it 15-10.
The Golden Gopher pushed the lead out to 21-13 after a kill by Luiz, but Iowa went on a run that saw it scored seven of the next eight points. Vatterrodt and Dieter sandwiched kills around a blocking error to make it match point at 24-21. After back-to-back points by the Hawkeyes, Cowles delivered a kill to give Minnesota the three-set victory.
Iowa was led by Megan Schipper who had 10 kills and five digs, while Catherine Smale had nine kills and 14 digs. Emily Hiza finished the match with a season-high 16 digs for the Hawkeyes.
Minnesota will be back in action on Friday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. when it faces Michigan State at the Sports Pavilion. That match can be seen on ESPN 2 on Sunday, Oct. 19 at 12 p.m. (CT).