SpThe Minnesota volleyball team used a 14-1 advantage in service aces and hit a .368 attack percentage as a team to defeat Minnesota-Duluth, 3-0 (30-21, 30-26, 30-16), in non-conference action at the Sports Pavilion on Sunday. The Golden Gophers, winners of four straight matches and five of six matches during a six-match homestand, improve their record to 17-9 overall. The Bulldogs fall to 15-9.
Senior setter Lindsey Berg paced the way from the service line, smashing seven aces in the match. She also added 44 assists. Middle blocker Stephanie Hagen landed a team-high 12 kills in 19 swings with just one error for a .579 attack percentage. Outside hitters Trisha Bratford and Cassie Busse also tallied double figures in kills with 11 and 10, respectively. Busse swatted her 10 kills in 14 attempts with one error for a torrid .643 hitting percentage.
Five service aces, three by Hagen and two by Berg, helped the Gophers pull away from a 9-9 tie to take a n 18-10 lead. The Bulldogs closed to within 24-20, but Hagen halted the rally with a kill and Minnesota would outscore Duluth, 6-1, the rest of the way in winning game one by a score of 30-21. Berg closed the game, scoring the Gophers? final points on two more aces.
The Gophers hit .412 and Duluth .359 in the second game, but Minnesota eked out a 30-26 victory. Bulldogs? Becky Hoffmann hit six of her match-high 13 kills in the game; one of them bringing Duluth to within 28-25. The Bulldogs, however, provided Minnesota with a point on a service error on the next play. Busse scored the gamewinner on a kill for the Gophers.
Minnesota scored 13 of the last 15 points in the third game to close with a 30-16 victory. A Gopher hitting error closed their lead to 16-14, before Minnesota ignited the 13-2 run on a Duluth service error. Bratford served seven straight points for the Gophers, including two service aces, to put Minnesota up 24-14. Erin Martin came off the bench to hit three kills as the Gophers completed the sweep in 72 minutes.
Minnesota looks forward to its final road weekend in Big Ten play next week as the Gophers travel to Northwestern on Friday, Nov. 16, and to Wisconsin on Sunday, Nov. 18.