30Senior setter Lindsey Berg directed the Golden Gopher offense to a .313 attack percentage in leading No. 24 Minnesota to a 3-1 (28-30, 30-22, 30-27, 30-23) victory over Michigan in Big Ten volleyball action at the Sports Pavilion, Friday. The Gophers improved their record to 13-8 overall and 7-6 in conference play and move into a three-way tie for fifth place with Michigan (11-9, 7-6) and Saturday's opponent, Michigan State (14-6, 7-6).
Berg dealt out 53 assists in the match but it was her serving and defensive play the injected confidence and fire into her Gopher teammates. The Gopher co-captain blitzed the Wolverines for six service aces, with several additional serves forcing Michigan into a weakened first attack. She also added 10 digs.
?This match can be summed up by saying the Lindsey Berg put this team on her back and willed us to a victory,? said Minnesota head coach Mike Hebert. ?This was a very big win for us.?
Minnesota shot out of the gates quickly, taking an 8-1 lead in the first game. Michigan outblocked the Gophers? 5-0 to claw back into the game and tie the score at 18-18. Jennifer Gandolph hit consecutive kills to give Michigan its first lead of the match and help the Wolverines hang on for a 30-28 win in game one.
The Gophers? started the second game by sending Berg to the service line. Berg and the Gophers saw the match's momentum switch to the Minnesota side of the net with each laser jump serve Berg fired at the Wolverines. The attack garnered the Gophers the first five points of the game. The Gophers? blocking game picked up where Berg's serve left off as Minnesota outblocked Michigan, 5-0, to take the second game, 30-22.
Michigan was leading the third game, 11-10, when Berg's serving once again made a big impact. Berg blasted two aces and served for six straight points to give the Gophers a 16-11 lead. The Wolverines fought back to tie the score at 27-27, but two Michigan hitting errors and a Kathy Tilson kill handed Minnesota a 30-27 victory.
In games two and three, the Gophers scored a combined 17 points while Berg was at the service line.
The fourth and deciding game was well played by both teams as Minnesota hit .486 to Michigan's .325. Stephanie Hagen stepped up to the challenge and landed eight of her match-high 16 kills in the final game to lead the Gophers to a 30-23 victory. Hagen's eight kills in game four came on just nine swings. Freshman Erin Martin also came up big off the bench, added six kills in the fourth game.
Tilson and Bethany Brafford joined Hagen in double figures in kills with 14 and 12, respectively. Brafford tallied her second consecutive double-double by adding 10 digs. She also collected a team-high six blocks.
Minnesota plays the second match of a six-match homestand, Saturday, when the Gophers play host to Michigan State at 7 p.m. in the Sports Pavilion.