GopherThe Minnesota volleyball team hit a woeful .186 as a team as the Golden Gophers were swept by Michigan State, 3-0 (30-24, 30-23, 30-21) in Big Ten action at the Sports Pavilion on Saturday. The Gophers fall to 13-9 overall and 7-7 in conference play.
Michigan State's offense continued to get stronger as the match wore on, compared to a struggling Gopher squad. The Spartans hit .289 in the second game and .417 in the third to finish the match at an impressive .304 attack percentage. Minnesota dove down to a .137 attack percentage in game two and hit .205 in the final game.
Stephanie Hagen was one of the only bright spots for the Gophers. Hagen landed 14 kills in 21 swings with just one error for an impressive .619 attack percentage. The Gophers? other middle hitter Bethany Brafford added nine kills and 11 digs. Setter Lindsey Berg, hampered by the Gophers? poor passing performance throughout the match, notched just 35 assists.
It was on the outside where the Gophers were unable to find a groove. Three of the Gopher outside hitters, Cassie Busse, Amanda Cipperly and Erin Martin, hit for negative attack percentages.
Six Michigan State service aces were the difference in the first game. Minnesota bettered the Spartans in hitting percentage by a .250 to .206 margin but the Gophers could not overcome their own mistakes on defense and lost the first game, 30-24.
Michigan State used a 10-3 run in the second game to turn a 9-9 tie into a 19-12 lead. The Gophers fought back and were within two points after a Spartan hitting error made the score 24-22. MSU's Erin Hartley hit three kills as the Spartans closed the game with a 6-1 run and won the game by a 30-23 count.
The Gophers took an early lead but couldn?t hold on in dropping the deciding game, 30-21. The Spartans turned to Hartley once again to break from a 17-17 tie, as the senior hit four kills in leading Michigan State to a 13-4 run to close out the match.
Minnesota plays its third consecutive home match on Monday, when the Gophers host Wisconsin-Green Bay at 7 p.m. in the Sports Pavilion