The Minnesota volleyball team (16-45 6-4) lost to No. 3 Penn State (18-2, 9-0) in three games on Saturday, Oct. 22 at the Sports Pavilion. It was the first time that Minnesota lost back-to-back Big Ten matches since Nov. 27-28, 1998.
In game one, Penn State jumped out to a 17-3 lead. Minnesota scored three of the next four points to make it 18-6, but the Nittany Lions pushed out to 23-7. Penn State finished the game off with seven of the final nine points to claim game 30-9. The final deficit was Minnesota’s most lopsided loss in a game this season.
Penn State outhit the Golden Gophers .370 to -.275 in the game, and had 13 kills to Minnesota’s four. The Nittany Lions also had 7.5 blocks in the game.
In game two, Penn State jumped out to an 8-1 lead. Minnesota scored three of the next four points to cut it to 9-4. The Nittany Lions responded with eight of the next 11 points to go up 17-7. Penn State expanded the lead to 29-16, before closing out the second game 30-17.
The Nittany Lions outhit the Golden Gophers .393 to .000 in the game, and had 16 kills to Minnesota’s 10.
Minnesota jumped out to its first lead of the match 1t 4-3 in game three. However, Penn State came right back with three straight points to go up 6-4. With the score at 8-6, the Nittany Lions rattled off three straight points to go up 11-6. Minnesota responded with three straight points on a kill by Jessica Byrnes (Minnetonka, Minn.) and a block and a kill from Jessy Jones (Naperville, Ill.) to make it 11-9. Penn State pushed it back out to 16-12, but Meredith Nelson (St. Croix Falls, Wis.) and Sarah Florian (Holland, Ohio) had consecutive kills to get it back to 16-14.
Penn State followed with six of the next eight points to go ahead 22-16. With the score at 24-18, the Nittany Lions scored five of the next six points to move it to game point at 29 -19. Penn State closed it out at 30-20 to win the match.
Minnesota was outhit .350 to .100 in the third game, and Penn State had 18 kills to the Golden Gophers 15. Florian and Jones each had four kills in the game.
Florian, Kyla Roehrig (Papillion, Neb.) and Jones led Minnesota with five kills. Senior Paula Gentil (Forteleaza Ceara’, Brazil) had two service aces and 11 digs on the night.
Penn State outhit Minnesota .368 to -.051 on the night, and had 47 kills to the Golden Gophers’ 29. Minnesota was also outblocked 14.5-to-5.0 on the night.
The Nittany Lions were led by Nicole Fawcett who had 11 kills and five blocks, while Christa Harmotto had 10 kills and four blocks. Sam Tortorello had 39 assists, eight digs and six blocks on the night.
Minnesota will be back in action on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. when it travels to Iowa. The Golden Gophers will then return home to face Indiana at Williams Arena on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m.