7No. 20 ranked Minnesota (17-8, 10-3) had its 10-match Big Ten winning streak snapped at the hands of Illinois (18-5, 9-4) in five games by scores of 30-23, 23-30, 30-24, 32-34, 13-15 on Friday, Nov. 7 at Huff Hall. With the loss the Golden Gophers fall into a three-way tie for first place in the Big Ten with Wisconsin and Penn State at 10-3.
Minnesota led 2-1 in the match, and had three match points, before Illinois rallied to claim the match in five games.
In game five the two teams exchanged points in the early going, and were tied at three. Illinois scored three of the next four points to go up 6-4. Minnesota cut the lead to 7-6, but Illinois rattled off four straight points to extend the lead to 11-6. The two teams exchanged points to make it 12-7. Minnesota cut the lead to 12-10 on a Bratford solo block and pair of Illinois attack errors. Illinois moved ahead 13-10, but Busse answered with a kill to make it 13-11. Illinois went up 14-11 and had match points, but Bratford answered with a kill and a service ace to trim the lead to 14-13 for Minnesota. Illinois put down the next point to claim the 15-13.
In the first game Minnesota jumped out to a slim 9-8 lead. The Golden Gophers widened the gap to 18-11 by scoring nine of the next 12 points. Minnesota extended its lead to 25-14, but Illinois answered with a 7-1 run to cut the lead to 26-21. The Golden Gophers responded with four of the final six points to close out the game at 30-23 to go up 1-0 in the match. Minnesota outhit Illinois .350 to .068, and had five blocks in the game. Cassie Busse (Prior Lake, Minn.) paced the Golden Gopher attack with seven kills in the game.
Minnesota jumped out 15-12 lead in game two, but Illinois answered with four straight points to take its first lead of the match at 16- 15. Illinois led 18-17, but widened the gap with a 5-0 run to go up 23-17. The Golden Gophers responded with three straight points to cut the lead to 23-20, but Illinois scored seven of the final 10 points to win game two 30-23 to tie the match at 1-1. Illinois outhit Minnesota .163 to .036 in the second game.
Illinois jumped out to a 6-4 lead, but Minnesota went on a 4-0 run keyed by three kills from Trisha Bratford (Reseda, Calif.) to go up 8- 6. Illinois cut the lead to 12-11, but the Golden Gophers scored six of the next seven points to go up 18-12. Illinois answered with three straight points to cut the lead to 18-15. Minnesota came right back with three of the next four points to go up 22-16. Illinois scored seven of the next 11 points to cut the lead to 26-23. Bratford put down a kill to move the lead to 27-23. After the two teams exchange points to make it 28-24, Lindsey Taatjes (Prinsburg, Minn.) put down a kill to give the Golden Gophers game point at 29-24. Taatjes and Meredith Nelson (St. Croix, Wis.) combined on a block to give Minnesota game three 30-24, which gave the Golden Gophers a 2-1 lead in the match. Minnesota outhit Illinois .222 to .149, while Bratford and Busse had six kills apiece in the game.
Illinois jumped out to a 4-0 lead in game four, and extended it to 14- 8. Minnesota answered with six of the next seven points to cut the lead to 15-14. The Golden Gophers tied the game at 16, but Illinois scored six of the next seven points to go up 22-17. Minnesota scored four straight points to cut it to 22-21, but Illinois responded with three consecutive points of their own to grab a 25-21 lead. The Golden Gophers cut the lead to 25-24 with three straight points. Minnesota tied the score at 27, but Illinois grabbed the lead back at 28-27. The Golden Gophers got a kill from Bratford, and Byrnes and Busse combined on a block to give them match point at 29-28. Illinois fought it off to tie it at 29. Busse registered a kill to make it for a second match point at 30-29, but Illinois tied the score at 30. Bratford put down a kill to make it 31-30 for a third match point, but again Illinois fought off game point to tie it at 31. Illinois went up 32-31, but Taatjes registered a kill to tie at 32. Illinois scored the last two points to take game four 34-32 to tie the match at 2-2.
Busse paced the attack with 26 kills and 12 digs. She also tied a career-high with 69 attempts. Bratford had 20 kills and a career-high 14 digs. Martin had 15 kills, along with a career-high four solo blocks. Byrnes hit .440 (14-3-25) with a season-high 14 kills. Taatjes had a season-high 70 assists, along with 14 digs and five blocks. Paula Gentil (Forteleaza Ceara', Brazil) finished with 25 digs, and had her 1,000th career dig in game four. Lisa Reinhart (White Bear Lake, Minn.) had a season-high 15 digs.
Minnesota outhit Illinois .211 to .187 in the match. The Golden Gophers also had 16 blocks to Illinois 10.
Illinois was led by Rachel VanMeter who had 25 kills. Melissa Vandrey also had 22 kills for Illinois. Shelly O'Bryan and Lisa Argabright each had 11 kills each.
Minnesota will head to Northwestern on Saturday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m.