The 17th-ranked Minnesota volleyball team (20-6, 10-4) moved to 7-0 in conference play at the Sports Pavilion as it outlasted No. 16 Illinois (19-6, 10-4) in five sets by scores of 25-20, 21-25, 25-23, 21-25, 15-10 at the Sports Pavilion on Saturday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m.
It marked the third straight meeting between Minnesota and Illinois in which the match went to five sets. The Golden Gophers have won all three of those meetings.
“This was a tremendous victory for our program tonight,” said Minnesota Head Coach Mike Hebert. “I thought we did a great job of bouncing back this weekend after a 1-3 road trip. You have to give the players all the credit for those adjustments, and their commitment to fixing some of the stuff we were not doing well when we came back from the road trip.”
The Golden Gophers are now 8-4 against ranked opposition this season, including a 5-1 record against ranked opponents at home.
Minnesota was led by Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.) who hit .410 (19-3-39), tied a career-high 19 kills and had five blocks. It was the 12th time this year that Gibbemeyer hit better then .400 in a match. Dieter had 14 kills, 11 digs and tied a season-high with two service aces. She collected three kills in five swings in the fifth set for the Golden Gophers.
Pam Luiz had a career-high 13 kills, six digs and hit .545 (13-1-22) on the night. Kelly Schmidt (Champaign, Ill.) also had seven kills and four blocks for Minnesota.
Rachel Hartmann tied season-highs in kills (6), blocks (4) and assists (58) on the night. Junior libero Christine Tan (Safety Harbor, Fla.) had 26 digs, two assists and a service ace on the night. Jessica Granquist (Blaine, Minn.) and Hailey Cowles (Eden Prairie, Minn.) each had 15 digs on the night, and finished with three and two assists respectively.
Minnesota outhit Illinois .282 to .262 on the night, despite the fact that the Illini had 75 kills to the Golden Gophers’ 68. In five sets Minnesota only had 18 errors, while Illinois finished with 25. The Golden Gophers were narrowly outdug 82 to 81, but outblocked the Illini 9.0-to-7.0.
The Golden Gophers led 2-1 heading into the fourth set, but Illinois outhit Minnesota .264 to .191 en route to forcing the match to a fifth set.
In the fifth set, Minnesota jumped out to a 3-0 lead after back-to-back kills by Dieter and Kyla Roehrig (Papillion, Neb.). After Illinois scored its first point of the set, Dieter answered with a kill and a service ace to make it 5-1.
Illinois responded with four of the next five points to cut the Golden Gopher lead to 6-5. Luiz put Minnesota ahead 7-5 with a kill. The Illini cut it back to one, but Gibbemeyer and Hartmann combined on a block to make it 8-6. After Illinois cut the lead to 8-7, Gibbemeyer answered with a kill. With the score at 9-8, Cowles had a flat-footed kill to put Minnesota ahead 10-8.
The Illini cut the lead to 10-9, but Dieter followed with a kill and Illinois committed back-to-back attack errors to make it 13-9. Roehrig and Schmidt combined on a block to make it match point at 14-9. After Michelle Bartsch delivered a kill to make it 14-10, Luiz put away the match with a kill to give the Golden Gophers the five-set victory.
Minnesota scored six of the first seven points to start off the first set, and took a 6-1 lead when Gibbemeyer and Hartmann combined a block to force an Illinois timeout. The Golden Gophers moved their lead out to 10-4 after a kill by Dieter, but the Illinois answered with four straight points to cut the lead to two points at 10-8. Minnesota answered with three straight points to go up 13-8 when Luiz and Gibbemeyer sandwiched a pair of kills around an Illinois attack error.
The Illini scored three of the next four points to cut the Golden Gopher lead to 14-11. However, Luiz and Gibbemeyer answered with consecutive kills. Gibbemeyer and Hartmann combined on a block to make it 17-11. Illinois scored three of the next four points to trim the Minnesota lead to 18-14. The two teams exchanged the next 10 points to move the score to 23-19. Illinois cut the Golden Gopher lead to 23-20 on an attack error by Minnesota to force a timeout.
Out of the timeout, the Illini committed a service error to make it set point at 24-20. Dieter followed with a kill to give Minnesota the first set 25-20.
The Golden Gophers outhit the Illini .333 to .231, and had 17 kills to 14 for Illinois. Minnesota also had two blocks to none for the Illini. Gibbemeyer had five kills and two blocks in the set, while Luiz had four kills in seven swings.
Minnesota jumped out to a 5-3 lead in the second set after a kill by Hartmann. Illinois answered with consecutive points to force the first tie of the match. The Golden Gophers moved ahead 6-5 on a kill by Hartman. With the Golden Gophers leading 7-6, Illinois scored back-to-back points to take its first lead of the match at 8-7.
The Illini move out to a two-point lead at 10-8, but Minnesota scored two of the next three points to cut it to 11-10. With the score at 13-12, Illinois scored three straight points to move ahead 16-12 to force a Golden Gopher timeout. The Illini scored out of the timeout to make it 17-12. Roehrig answered with a kill to make it 17-13, but Illinois scored three straight points to put the Illini ahead 20-13.
Illinois pushed the lead to 22-15, but the Golden Gophers answered with four of the next five points and made it 23-19 on a kill by Gibbemeyer. The Illini made it set point at 24-19. The Golden Gophers scored consecutive points on a service error and on a kill by Hartmann to cut the lead to 24-21. Illinois took the set when Abby Nelson delivered a kill.
The Illini outhit Minnesota .345 to .226, and each team had 13 kills in the set. Illinois outblocked the Golden Gophers 5.0-to-2.0 in the set. Gibbemeyer led Minnesota with four kills in the set.
Minnesota jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the third set, after going on a 4-0 run to force an Illini timeout. The Golden Gophers moved ahead 10-6, but Illinois answered with three straight points to cut the Minnesota lead to 10-9. Schmidt and Dieter combined on a block to make it 11-9. The Golden Gophers moved the lead to 12-10 after a Schmidt kill, but Illinois answered with consecutive points to tie the set at 12.
The two teams exchanged the next four points to tie the set at 14. Dieter followed with back-to-back kills to give Minnesota a 16-14 lead. The Golden Gophers moved ahead 17-15 on a kill by Gibbemeyer. However, Illinois answered with four straight points to move ahead 19-17 in the set to force a Minnesota timeout. The Golden Gophers tied the score at 19 when Dieter delivered a kill and a service ace.
Illinois moved ahead 20-19, but the Golden Gophers followed with consecutive points to take the lead at 21-20. The Illini tied it at 21. Gibbemeyer gave Minnesota the lead back with a kill, and Illinois committed a ball handling error to make it 23-21. The Illini cut it to 23-22, but Gibbemeyer gave the Golden Gophers set point when she delivered a kill. Illinois cut it to 24-23, but Hartmann faked out the Illini defense with a kill to give Minnesota a 2-1 lead in the match.
Minnesota narrowly outhit Illinois .293 to .283 in the third set, despite the fact that the Illini had 19 kills to 15 in the set. The Golden Gophers has only three errors in the set, while Illinois had six. Gibbemeyer led Minnesota with five kills in the set.
The Golden Gophers jumped out to an 8-5 lead in the fourth set, but Illinois answered with four straight points to take a 9-8 lead. Dieter answered with a kill to tie the set, and Gibbemeyer and Roehrig combined on a block to give Minnesota the lead back at 10-9. Schmidt followed with a kill to make it 11-9, and Illinois was called for a net violation to make it 12-9 to force an Illini timeout.
Out of the timeout, Illinois answered with six straight points to take the lead back at 15-12. Minnesota answered with three straight points to tie the set at 15. The Golden Gophers moved ahead 18-17 after a kill by Gibbemeyer. Illinois answered with five of the next six points to move ahead 22-19, and forced a Golden Gopher timeout. The Illini pushed it to set point at 24-20. Hartmann delivered a kill to make it 24-21, but Illinois scored the next point to send the match to a fifth set.
Illinois was led by Laura DeBruler who had 29 kills and 13 digs on the night, while Kylie McCulley finished with 22 kills and 22 digs for the Illini. Ashley Edinger also had 20 digs for Illinois.
Minnesota will be back in action when it travels to Wisconsin on Friday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. and to Northwestern on Saturday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. Both matches can be heard live on gophersports.com.