SportsFive Golden Gophers tallied double-digit kill totals as the Minnesota volleyball team came back from a one-game deficit to defeat Iowa, 3-1 (30-32, 30-18, 30-15, 30-18) in Big Ten action at the Sports Pavilion on Wednesday. Minnesota improves to 15-9 overall and 8-7 in Big Ten play.
Seniors Kathy Tilson and Stephanie Hagen led the hitting barrage with 18 kills apiece. Both also tallied double-doubles with Tilson collecting 13 digs and Hagen 11. Lindsey Berg contributed another masterful performance from the setter position, dishing out 63 assists as the senior spread the wealth in setting all her starting attackers into double figures.
Middle blocker Bethany Brafford drilled 15 kills and added 13 digs. Cassie Busse landed 14, while Amanda Cipperly chipped in 12 kills. As a team, Minnesota outhit Iowa by a 83-49 kill margin and a commanding .387 to .124 difference in attack percentage.
The Gophers did not come out of the gates firing, as Iowa (4-19, 2-13) captured a 32-30 win in the match's first game. Minnesota committed 10 hitting errors in the opening game, equaling the total they would tally in the next three games combined. Hawkeye outside hitter Sara Meyermann hit nine of her match-high 25 kills in the first game.
Tilson fired four kills early in the second game to ignite the Gopher offense and help Minnesota take an 11-4 lead. The Gophers? lead was never seriously threatened after that point as Minnesota rebounded from a .151 attack percentage in game one to an impressive .583 mark in game two. Tilson tabbed seven of her 18 kills in that second game, a 30-18 victory.
The Gophers played one of their finest all around games of the season in winning game three by a 30-15 score. Minnesota committed just two hitting errors, while landing 23 kills and hitting .600 for the game. Hagen made good on six of seven attempts. Defensively, Minnesota tallied a 21-8 edge in winning game three and taking a 2-1 lead in the match.
Minnesota never trailed in the fourth and deciding game, winning by a 30-18 score. The Gophers cooled offensively to hit .333, but Iowa hit the deep freeze, making more attack errors (11), than kills (10) to hit negative .026. Meyermann hit six kills in the game for Iowa, one of them bringing the Hawkeyes to within 22-16, but the Gophers answered with three consecutive kills to halt the rally. Brafford led the charge with five kills and four blocks in the game.
The Gophers play their fifth straight home match on Friday, when they play host to Purdue at 7 p.m. at the Sports Pavilion.