finiThe No. 22 ranked Minnesota volleyball team (21-9, 14-4) defeated Michigan (18-11, 10-8) by scores of 30-26, 30-26, 30-20 on Saturday, Nov. 22 at Cliff Keen Arena. With the win the Golden Gophers finished their Big Ten road slate with a 6-4 road record.
Minnesota heads into its final two Big Ten contests in a tie for second place in the conference with Illinois at 14-4. No. 15 Penn State is in first place at 15-3. The Golden Gophers will host Penn State on Friday, Nov. 28 and Ohio State on Saturday, Nov. 29. The Nittany Lions play the Golden Gophers and at Iowa on Nov. 29. Illinois finishes up at home against Michigan and Michigan State.
It was also the first time since 1999 that Minnesota defeated both Michigan and Michigan State in three games on the road.
In the second game of the match junior outside hitter Erin Martin (Ames, Iowa) became the 15th play in school history to reach 1,000 career kills.
Michigan jumped out to a 6-4 lead in game one, but Minnesota answered with four straight points to go up 8-6. Jessica Byrnes (Minnetonka, Minn.) recorded back-to-back kills to tie the score at six. Byrnes and Trisha Bratford (Reseda, Calif.) combined for a block and Cassie Busse (Prior Lake, Minn.) delivered a service ace to make it 8-6. Minnesota extended the lead to 10-7, but the Wolverines went on a 5-0 run to grab the lead at 12-10. The Golden Gophers cut the lead to 15- 14, and then rattled off three straight points to take a 17-15 lead. After a timeout, Michigan tied the score at 17 with two straight points. Minnesota scored three of the next four points to go up 20- 18, but the Wolverines caught up and tied the game at 22. Erin Martin (Ames, Iowa) followed that with a kill to give Minnesota a 23-22 lead. Busse and Bratford recorded back-to-back kills to extend the lead to 25-22.
After Michigan cut the lead to 25-23, Busse and Bratford again came up with back-to-back kills to put the Golden Gophers up 27-23. The Wolverines scored the next two points to cut the lead to 27-25. Busse followed with a kill to make it 28-25. The Wolverines cut it to 28- 26, but Bratford came right back with a kill to make it game point at 29-26. Minnesota scored the next point on a Michigan error to take game one 30-26 and go up 1-0 in the match. The Golden Gophers outhit the Wolverines .240 to .113 in the game. Busse and Byrnes led the attack with six and five kills respectively in the game.
In game two Minnesota jumped out to an early 9-7 lead, but Michigan scored the next two points to tie the score at nine. The two teams exchanged the next six points, and were tied at 12. The Golden Gophers scored the next two points to go up 14-12, but the Wolverines answered with three straight of their own to go up 15-14. Minnesota scored the next two points to go up 16-15. The Golden Gophers moved to a 19-18 lead, but Michigan scored two straight points to wrestle the lead away from Minnesota at 20-19. Bratford registered a kill to tie it at 20, but Michigan answered with two straight points to go up 22-20. Martin registered two consecutive kills to tie the game at 22.
Michigan scored to take a 23-22 lead. However, Meredith Nelson (St. Croix, Wis.) put down a kill to tie the score at 23, and Busse put the Golden Gophers ahead 24-23 with a kill. After the Wolverines tied the score at 24, Nelson and Busse sandwiched kills around a Michigan attack error to give Minnesota a 27-24 lead. Michigan cut the lead to 27-25, but Bratford followed with a kill to make it 28- 25. The Wolverines scored again to make it 28-26, but Busse came right back with a kill to make it game point at 29-26. Michigan committed an attack error to give the Golden Gophers game two 30-26. Minnesota limited the Wolverines to a .097 hitting percentage and hit .212 in game two. Bratford paced the attack with five kills, while Busse and Lisa Reinhart (White Bear Lake, Minn.) each had seven digs for the Golden Gophers.
The Wolverines jumped out to a 5-4 lead in game three, but Minnesota scored the next four points, paced by three kills from Bratford, to go up 8-5. Michigan scored the next two points to cut the lead to 8- 7, but the Golden Gophers scored five of the next seven points to go up 13-9. Michigan cut the lead to 13-10, but Nelson registered a kill followed by a Lindsey Taatjes (Prinsburg, Minn.) service ace to make it 15-10. Busse followed that up with a kill to make it 16-10. After Michigan scored to make it 16-11, Martin and Busse sandwiched kills around a Michigan attack error to move the lead out to 19-11. The Wolverines answered with a 5-0 run to cut the lead to 19-16.
After Minnesota took a timeout, Nelson and Busse combined on a block to make it 20-16. Michigan committed a pair of errors and Busse recorded a kill to move the lead out to 23-16. The Wolverines scored the next two points to cut the lead to 23-18, but Bratford put down a kill to make it 24-18. After Michigan moved the score to 24-19, Bratford and Byrnes recorded back-to-back kills to make it 26-19. The Golden Gophers scored two of the next three points to take a 28-20 lead. Martin followed with a kill and Taatjes won a joust at the net for a kill to end the third game at 30-20. Minnesota outhit Michigan .279 to .049 in the third game. Busse and Bratford each had five kills in the game.
Busse led the attack on the night with 15 kills and had 13 digs for the double-double. Bratford had 13 kills, and also tallied eight digs. Taatjes tallied 42 assists, 15 digs, four blocks and four digs for Minnesota in the match. Paula Gentil (Forteleaza Ceara, Brazil) had a match-high 18 digs, while Reinhart had 13.
Minnesota outhit Michigan .231 to .084 for the match. The .084 hitting percentage was the second-lowest hitting percentage of any Big Ten opponent against the Golden Gophers this season. Minnesota also outdug the Wolverines 75 to 58 in the match.
Michigan setter Lisa Gamalski led the way for the Wolverines with 28 assists, nine kills and seven digs. Erin Moore also had nine kills for Michigan.
Minnesota will return home to take on No. 15 Penn State on Friday, Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. The Golden Gophers will wrap up the regular season against Ohio State at home on Saturday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m.
The match against Penn State will be shown on Fox Sports Net North on a tape-delayed telecast on Sunday, Nov. 30 at 3 p.m. The Ohio State- Minnesota match will be on ESPN 2 on a tape-delayed telecast on Sunday, Nov. 30 at 1 p.m. The NCAA Selection Show will also be shown on Sunday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. on ESPNews.