NoCassie Busse (Prior Lake, Minn.) became only the seventh player in school history to tally 30 kills in a match, as she led No. 25 Minnesota to a four-game victory over No. 22 Michigan State by scores of 27-30, 30-15, 30-15, 30-26 on Saturday, Oct. 25 at the Sports Pavilion. Busse recorded the first 30-kill match since Nicole Branagh did so in on Dec. 2, 2000 against Arizona State in four games.
The victory also gave the Golden Gophers their eighth straight Big Ten victory. Minnesota's current eight-match conference winning streak is the second-best in school history. Last year the Golden Gophers had a school-record 11-match winning streak.
Minnesota also won its fourth straight match against a ranked foe moving to 4-4 on the season against ranked opposition.
"Cassie (Busse) continued to raise the level of her game," said Minnesota Head Coach Mike Hebert. "I talked about how she was playing like a senior leader last night, and she continues to play with that strong will. Erin (Martin) also did a great job tonight. A great majority of her kills came from following the game plan. She continues to play under control and get great results."
Michigan State jumped out to a 24-18 lead in game one. The Golden Gophers scored seven of the next 10 points to cut the lead to 27-25, but the Spartans claimed three of the next five points to take game one 30-27. Michigan State outhit Minnesota .444 to .375 in the first game. Busse and Erin Martin (Ames, Iowa) each had nine kills in the first game.
Minnesota ran out to a 12-3 lead in game two. Michigan State scored nine of the next 13 points to cut the lead to 16-12, but would get no closer as the Golden Gophers answered with five straight points to go up 21-12. Minnesota closed out the game with nine of the final 12 points to take game two 30-15. The Golden Gophers outhit the Spartans .324 to .000 in the second game. Busse led the way with seven kills in 10 attempts.
In game three, Minnesota jumped out to a 16-11 lead. The Golden Gophers scored seven of the next nine points to extend it to 23-13. From that point, Minnesota closed out the game with a 7-2 run to claim it 30-15, and move up 2-1 in the match. Busse and Martin had six and five kills respectively. The Golden Gophers limited Michigan State to a -.105 hitting percentage and hit .379 in the third game. Busse and Martin had six and five kills respectively.
Michigan State jumped out to a 17-14 lead in game four. The Spartans led 21-18, but Minnesota scored five of the next seven points to tie the game at 23. Michigan State went back ahead 24-23, but that would be its last lead of the game. Busse registered a kill to tie the game at 24. After a Spartan attack error put Minnesota up 25-24, Meredith Nelson (St. Croix Falls, Wis.) and Busse combined on a block to make it 26-24. Nelson then came back with a solo block to put the Golden Gophers up 27-24. Busse capped off the 5-0 run with a kill to put Minnesota up 28-24. After a Michigan State point cut the lead to 28- 25, Busse had another kill to put it at 29-25 to give the Golden Gophers match point. Michigan State cut it to 29-26, but Busse recorded her 30th kill of the night to give Minnesota the match as it claimed game four 30-26.
Busse hit .591 (30-4-44) and tied with a match-high 14 digs on the night. On the weekend, Busse combined for 57 kills in two four-game matches. Martin hit .465 (23-3-43) and tallied a season-high 23 kills. Lindsey Taatjes (Prinsburg, Minn.) had 60 assists, 13 digs and three blocks for Minnesota. Paula Gentil (Forteleaza Ceara', Brazil) also tallied 11 digs, while Nelson had a match-high seven blocks.
Minnesota outhit Michigan State .364 to .195 on the night. The Golden Gophers also outblocked the Spartans 13.0 to 7.5.
"This is about as well as we have hit against a quality opponent this season," Hebert. "Cassie (Busse) was on a roll and Erin (Martin) made a lot of intelligent plays tonight. Lindsey (Taatjes) also did a great job of putting our attackers in position to succeed tonight."
Michigan State was led by Kim Schram who had 20 kills and 11 digs. Megan Wallin and Jenny Rood finished with 14 and 10 kills respectively.
Minnesota will host Iowa on Wednesday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. The Golden Gophers will then host No. 23 Wisconsin on Friday, Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. That match will be telecast by Fox Sports Net North.