The 22nd-ranked Minnesota volleyball team set a school record with 20 team blocks and defeated Michigan State, 15-6, 15-3, 15-10, at the Sports Pavilion. Coupled with Illinois' loss at Wisconsin, the Gophers (18-5, 9-2 Big Ten) moved back into sole possession of second place in the Big Ten standings.
The Gophers had eight blocks in the first game, seven in the second game and five in the third game to erase the previous school record in a three-game match of 18, set previously on two occasions. Charnette Fair and Stephanie Hagen had nine blocks each, and Linda Shudlick contributed on eight blocks. Because of the blocking, Michigan State hit -.018 for the match, compared with Minnesota's .258 hitting percentage. Nicole Branagh pounded 15 kills, and Fair added 11 kills at a .563 hitting percentage.
Lindsey Berg set Minnesota on the right foot in the first game, serving 10 of the 15 points for the Gophers in the opening frame. Berg had three service aces in the opening stanza, and four for the match. Branagh had seven kills and a .545 hitting percentage in the game, as Minnesota outhit Michigan State .313-.000 in hitting percentage.
Minnesota continued the defensive assault in the second game. Michigan State had a -.053 hitting percentage, compared to the Gophers' .308 hitting percentage. Hagen and Branagh each had four kills, and Fair had four blocks in this game.
Susan Shudlick was the hot server in the third game, scoring eight consecutive points to move Minnesota from a 6-1 deficit to a 9-6 lead. Hagen had a piece of all five Gopher blocks in the third game. The Gophers completed a season sweep of the Spartans for the first time since 1995.
Minnesota will host Michigan on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Sports Pavilion.
BIG TEN STANDINGS Penn State 11-0 22-1 Minnesota 9-2 18-5 Illinois 8-3 12-5 Wisconsin 7-4 14-7 Michigan State 5-6 15-8 Indiana 5-6 14-6 Ohio State 5-7 11-8 Michigan 4-7 12-8 Purdue 4-7 12-8 Iowa 3-8 4-14 Northwestern 0-11 2-19 Friday's Matches Minnesota d. Michigan State, 3-0 (15-6, 15-3, 15-10) Ohio State d. Northwestern, 3-0 (15-5, 15-5, 15-7) Wisconsin d. Illinois, 3-0 (15-5, 15-11, 15-13) Indiana d. Purdue, 3-1 (15-12, 13-15, 15-4, 15-5) Michigan d. Iowa, 3-0 (15-8, 15-2, 15-10)