The seventh-ranked Minnesota volleyball team (26-3, 13-1) defeated No. 13 Wisconsin (18-7, 9-5) by scores of 30-22, 28-30, 25-30, 30-23, 15-6 in front of 5,383 fans, the second largest volleyball crowd ever at Sports Pavilion. This marks the first time Minnesota has swept the season series against Wisconsin since 1995. The Golden Gophers have also won a record eight straight Big Ten matches.
"This was a tremendous win for our program," said Minnesota head coach Mike Hebert. "We earned the victory over one of the elite teams in the Big Ten. Our passing broke down in game two and Wisconsin's confidence was up. We have a lot of respect for their team. It was a slugfest against two evenly matched teams and things tend to heat up when there is a rivalry like this."
In game five, Minnesota jumped out to a 7-1 lead, en route to a 15-6 victory to take the game and match. Busse paced the Golden Gophers early with three kills in Minnesota's first four points. With the Golden Gophers leading 5-1, Erin Martin ignited the team with back-to- back block solos to give Minnesota some breathing room at 7-1. The Golden Gophers hit an incredible .438 for the game, while holding Wisconsin to -.188 percentage.
Minnesota went up 1-0 in the match by taking game one 30-22. With the score at 12-10 the Golden Gophers went on a 9-3 scoring run to take a 21-13 lead. The Badgers fought back to bring the score to 24-19, but Minnesota scored six of the final 10 points to capture the victory. Tri sha Bratford (Reseda, Calif.) and Eri n Martin (Ames, Iowa) each recorded four kills, and Pau la Gentil (Fortaleza Ceara', Brazil) added six digs.
Wisconsin tied up the contest in game two winning 30-28. The Badgers took an 18-15 lead with the help of a 6-1 run. Minnesota fought back to cut the deficit to 26-24 forcing Wisconsin to call a time-out. The Golden Gophers trimmed the lead to 29-28, but Wisconsin prevailed after a Cas sie Busse (Prior Lake, Minn.) service error. Bratford added seven kills, while Lin dsey Vander Well (Prinsburg, Minn.) chipped in with 16 assists. Lori Rittenhouse recorded four kills to lead Wisconsin. The game featured eight ties and five lead changes.
In game three, Wisconsin took a 2-1 lead in the match winning 30-25. It was a see-saw battle with 14 ties and four lead changes. The Badgers eventually pulled away with a 6-3 scoring run with the score at 24-22. Wisconsin hit an impressive .400 hitting percentage with 19 kills.
Minnesota came back to the tie the match at 2-2 with a 30-23 win in game four. With a 19-16 lead, the Golden Gophers went on a 5-1 run to hold a 24-17 advantage. Minnesota then closed the game using a 6-3 run. The Golden Gophers recorded a match-high 21 kills, while committing just four errors for a .395 hitting percentage. Bratford dropped in five kills for the game.
Minnesota boasted four players in double-figure kills led by Bratford's 21. Busse and Eri n Martin (Ames, Iowa) added 18 and 17 kills respectively, while Jes sica Byrnes (Minnetonka, Minn.) chipped in with 10. Vander Well finished with 66 assists and 15 digs, and Gentil tallied 18 digs. Bet hany Brafford (Mansfield, Ohio) also played well with nine kills and six blocks.
As a team, the Golden Gophers hit .322, while restricting Wisconsin to .196. Minnesota had 79 kills to just 65 for Wisconsin, and out-blocked the Badgers 16.0-8.0.
Rittenhouse and Erin Byrd paced Wisconsin with 17 and 16 kills respectively.
Minnesota will continue Big Ten Conference play on the road Friday, Nov. 15, against Michigan at 7 pm and Michigan State on Saturday, Nov. 16. at 8 p.m.
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