The 15th-ranked Minnesota volleyball team (22-6, 11-4) won its fourth straight match as it defeated Northwestern (8-19, 2-14) in three sets by scores of 25-15, 25-20, 25-12 at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Saturday, Nov. 15.
Minnesota was led by Brook Dieter (Bloomington, Minn.) who hit .500 (10-0-20) with 10 kills and eight digs. Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.) had seven kills and a match-high six blocks on the night. Kyla Roehrig (Papillion, Neb.) also hit .583 (8-1-12) with eight kills and three blocks.
Christine Tan (Safety Harbor, Fla.) had a team-high 11 digs and one assist, while Hailey Cowles (Eden Prairie, Minn.) had 10 digs, two service aces and a pair of kills. Rachel Hartmann (St. Charles, Ill.) also finished with 32 assists and two blocks.
The Golden Gophers outhit Northwestern .326 to .038, and had 38 kills to 28 for the Wildcats. Minnesota also outblocked Northwestern 11.0-to-5.0. The Golden Gophers have outblocked their opponents in 25 of their 28 matches this year. Minnesota also had four service aces, while Northwestern had none in the match. It was the fourth time this year the Golden Gophers did not allow a service ace in a match.
Minnesota jumped out to a 9-6 lead in the first set, and scored eight of the next nine points as the Golden Gophers moved ahead 17-7 on a service ace by Cowles. The Wildcats scored four of the next six points to cut the lead to 19-11, but Dieter and Roehrig answered with consecutive kills to make it 21-11.
Northwestern responded with four of the next five points to cut the lead to 22-15. Vatterrodt answered with a block, and then combined on a block with Gibbemeyer to give Minnesota set point at 24-15. The Golden Gophers scored the next point to close out the set at 25-15.
Minnesota outhit the Wildcats .357 to .000, and had 11 kills to nine for Northwestern. The Golden Gophers also outblocked the Wildcats 4.0-to-0.0. Gibbemeyer had four blocks and two kills in the set, while Roehrig and Dieter each had three kills.
In the second set, Minnesota jumped out to a 9-3 lead after a kill by Schmidt. The Golden Gophers pushed the lead out to a 13-6 after Schmidt and Vatterrodt combined on a block. Northwestern scored seven of the next nine points to cut the Minnesota lead to 15-13. Gibbemeyer halted the Wildcat momentum, and then Dieter had consecutive kills off of over passes resulting from strong serves by Cowles to make it 18-12.
Northwestern scored three of the next .four points to cut the Minnesota lead to 19-15. However, Dieter and Schmidt delivered consecutive kills to put the Golden Gophers ahead 21-15. Minnesota moved ahead 22-16 on a kill by Schmidt, but Northwestern answered with four of the next five points to cut the lead to 23-20. The Golden Gophers responded with consecutive points to take the second set 25-20.
Minnesota outhit Northwestern .235 to .121 in the, and has 13 kills to 11 for the Wildcats. Schmidt led the Golden Gophers with five kills in the set.
The Wildcats jumped out to a 5-4 lead in the third set, but Minnesota responded with six of the next seven points and moved to a 10-6 lead on a kill by Ariana Filho (Monument, Colo.). The Golden Gophers moved the lead to 15-7 with four of the next five points. Minnesota took the eight-point lead when Dieter came up with a dig that landed on Northwestern’s side of the court cleanly.
Minnesota moved the lead out to an 18-10, and expanded on it when Dieter delivered a kill and a solo block. Dieter and Filho combined on a block, and then Alex Blatt (Orland Park, Ill.) had a solo block to close out a run of four straight points that made it 22-10. With the score at 23-12, Roehrig delivered a kill to make it match point. The Golden Gophers claimed the three-set victory on an attack error by Northwestern.
Northwestern was led by Ariel Baxterbeck who had eight kills and 11 digs, while Naomi Johnson finished with seven kills and three blocks. Kate Nobilio had a match-high 12 digs.
Minnesota will be back in action when it hosts No. 19, Michigan on Friday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. The Golden Gophers will wrap up their regular-season home schedule against Ohio State on Sunday, Nov. 23 at 1 p.m.