Minnesota Defeats Illinois in Three Games
The Minnesota volleyball team (18-7, 12-3) won for the 16th time in 19 matches as it defeated Illinois (14-11, 5-10) in three games by scores of 30-22, 30-24, 30-23 on Friday, Nov. 10 at the Sports Pavilion. With the win, the Golden Gophers moved to 7-1 at home Big Ten play.
“I thought we did a great job passing tonight,” said Minnesota Head Coach Mike Hebert. “Our primary passers did a great job of putting Rachel (Hartmann) in good position to make a play, and Rachel did an excellent job tonight of running the offense. Illinois is a team that tries to serve tough to keep your offense out of rhythm, and I thought we did a good job of staying in rhythm offensively tonight.”
Minnesota was led by junior middle blocker Jessy Jones (Naperville, Ill.) who had 11 kills and hit .588 (11-1-17) on the night. Senior Meredith Nelson (St. Croix Falls, Wis.) hit .529 (10-1-17) with 10 kills, three blocks and two service aces. Meghan Cumpston (Red Bluff, Calif.) registered double-figure kills for the ninth match in a row. Cumpston hit .429 (10-1-21) for the match with 10 kills.
Senior Kelly Bowman (Maple Grove, Minn.) had eight kills, six digs, four assists and four blocks. Malama Peniata (Plymouth, Minn.) also had 12 digs for the match.
Minnesota outhit Illinois .316 to .157, and had 53 kills to 38 for Illinois on the night. The Golden Gophers also outblocked Illinois on the night 11.0-to-7.0. Both teams finished the night with seven service aces.
The Golden Gophers jumped out to a 5-0 lead in game one, but Illinois promptly answered with five straight points of its own to tie the game at 5-5. The two teams traded the next two points, before the Golden Gophers scored four straight points to move ahead 10-6. Minnesota expanded the lead to five points at 13-8, before Illinois answered with consecutive points to make it 13-10.
Bowman delivered a kill to make it 14-10, but Illinois answered with consecutive points to cut the Golden Gopher lead to 14-12. Cumpston gave Minnesota a four-point lead back at 16-12 with back-to-back kills. Illinois cut the lead to 16-14, but Cumpston again answered with a kill to make it 17-14. Minnesota’s lead was cut to one point at 17-16, but the Golden Gophers answered with consecutive points capped by a Cumpston ace to make it 19-16. With the score at 21-18, Minnesota scored four straight points to open up its largest lead of the game at 25-18.
The two teams exchanged the next six points to make it 28-21. Minnesota closed out the game with two of the final three points to claim it 30-22.
Minnesota outhit Illinois .324 to .091, and the Golden Gophers had 16 kills to 12 for Illinois in the game. Minnesota also had four service aces, and outblocked Illinois 5.0-to-2.0 in the game.
The Golden Gophers fell behind 6-3 in the game two, but rattled off six of the next seven points to take a 9-7 lead. Illinois scored three of the next four points to tie the game at 10. Minnesota answered with the next three points to take a 13-10 lead. Jones started with a kill, followed by a kill on an overpass by Nelson to make it 12-10. Bowman and Nelson followed by a combining on a block to make it 13-10. Illinois scored the next point, but Nelson and Cumpston delivered back-to-back kills to move ahead 15-11. The two teams exchanged the next four points to make it 17-13.
Minnesota answered with three straight points to push its lead out to 20-13. The Golden Gophers scored to make it 18-13, and Jones and Roehrig followed with back-to-back kills to make it 20-13. Illinois responded with three of the next four points to cut the Golden Gopher lead to 21-16. Minnesota scored the next point to make it 22-16. Freshman Christine Tan (Palm Harbor, Fla.) followed with consecutive service aces to make it 24-16.
Illinois followed with five of the next six points to cut the Minnesota lead to 25-20. Bowman answered with a kill to make it 26-20. The two teams exchanged points to make it 27-21, and Katie Vatterrodt followed with a kill to make it 28-21. Illinois scored three straight points to cut the lead to 28-24. Kyla Roehrig (Papillion, Neb.) halted the Illinois run with a kill to make it game point at 29-24. Michele Wilber (Anoka, Minn.) delivered a service ace to give Minnesota game two 30-24.
Minnesota had 18 kills to 15 for Illinois in the game, despite getting outhit .290 to .256. The Golden Gophers also had four service aces to none in the game. Jones led the way with six kill in six swings to go with a block. Nelson also had four kills in five swings, while Roehrig chipped in with four kills.
The Golden Gophers jumped out to a 13-8 lead in game two. Illinois scored three of the next four points to cut the lead to 14-11. Following an Illinois attack error, Nelson had a kill to put Minnesota up 16-11. The teams exchanged the next eight points to make it 20-15. Illinois scored the next two points to make it 20-17, but followed with a service error to make it 21-17. Stephanie Alde followed with a kill to make it 21-18, but Cumpston, Bowman and Nelson delivered consecutive kills to make it 24-18.
Cumpston followed with a block, and Kelly Schmidt (Champaign, Ill.) combined with Bowman on a block to make it 26-18. Minnesota finished a 6-0 run with a kill form Bowman to extend its lead to 27-18. Illinois scored four of the next five points to cut the Illinois lead to 28-22. However, it followed with a service error to make it match point at 29-22. Illinois fought off the first match point to make it 29-23, but Rachelle Hagerty (Defiance, Ohio) delivered a kill to give Minnesota the match.
Illinois was led by Meghan McDonald who had eight kills and six blocks. Alde and Kylie McCulley also had eight kills apiece. McCulley finished with three service aces as well. Setter Lizzie Bazzetta finished with 33 assists, while Ashley Edinger had 15 digs and two service aces.
Minnesota will face Northwestern on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. That match will be webcast on gophersports.com.