SpoThe No. 21 Minnesota volleyball team lost its third consecutive match to a nationally ranked team when No. 6 Wisconsin swept the Golden Gophers, 3-0 (30-12, 30-26, 31-29), in Big Ten action at the Sports Pavilion on Friday. The Gophers slipped below .500 in league play for the first time this season at 4-5, 10-7 overall. The Badgers, the Big Ten leaders, upped their record to 15-2, 9-0.
Wisconsin used a big block to cruise to victory in the first game, winning by a score of 30-12. The Badgers collected six blocks in the game and the Gophers added 10 hitting errors to force Minnesota to a negative .158 attack percentage. Wisconsin on the other hand, committed just one error to hit .412.
The second and third games were much closer. The second game was tied at 25-25, before Wisconsin outscored the Gophers, 5-1, with three of those points coming on service aces, to tally a 30-26 victory.
A crowd of 3,417 tried to help the Gophers back into the match and in game three, the Gophers seemed poised to break the Badgers? streak of 22 consecutive games won. Minnesota fought back from an early deficit to tie the game at 14. From that point on, the game was tied 15 times, the last at 29-29. A Gopher service error, then a Badger service ace provided the final points for a 31-29 Wisconsin win in the deciding game.
Wisconsin bettered Minnesota in very statistical category, outhitting the Gophers by a .280 to .135 margin. The Badgers posted a final 10-3 advantage in team blocks.
Sophomore outside hitter Cassie Busse was the only Gopher to tally double digits in kills with 11. As a team, Minnesota landed only 38 kills in the match. All-American middle hitter Sherisa Livingston led the Badgers with 15 kills.
Minnesota plays host Northwestern, a 3-1 loser at Iowa, on Saturday in the Sports Pavilion at 7 p.m.