aThe Minnesota volleyball team battled No. 12 Ohio State but dropped a 3-1 (30-26, 30-24, 32-34, 30-27) match to the Buckeyes in Big Ten action at the Sports Pavilion on Friday.
The Buckeyes used a solid serving game to capture a 30-26 win in the first game. The score was 22-22 when Stacey Gordon stepped to the service line and fired off six straight points, two of them off aces, to take a 28-22 lead. Both teams hit well offensively with Ohio State notching a .406 attack percentage to .382 for Minnesota.
Ohio State blitzed to a 13-2 lead in the second game and went on win 30-24. Anne Botica served seven of those points, while Stacey Gordon recorded four kills in the stretch. Minnesota hit a negative .065 in the game, landing just eight kills to 10 hitting errors.
The crowd of 2,658 helped the Gophers come back with a 34-32 victory in the third game. Minnesota turned back two Ohio State match points to force a fourth game. Trisha Bratford smashed a kill to save the first match point and tie the score at 30-30. An Amanda Cipperly kill handed the Gophers? a serve at game point but Shelly Draeger smashed a kill to tie the score at 31. Gordon smashed another service ace to give the Buckeyes? their second chance at match point in the game but a Botica hitting error gave the Gophers another shot. The Gophers closed the game on points off a Draeger hitting error and a Cassie Busse kill.
A hard fought fourth game concluded with Ohio State pulling out a 30-27 victory. The score was tied at 25-25, when Ohio State outscored Minnesota, 5-3, to win the deciding game. The Buckeyes (24-3, 16-3) scored the wining point on an assisted block off an attempt by Bratford.
Busse led the Gophers with 16 kills. Bratford added a career-high 15 kills. Setter Lindsey Berg posted 41 assists, four service aces and 10 digs. Stephanie Hagen led the way with nine blocks.
Minnesota outblocked Ohio State by a 19-10 margin but was on the short end of a .209 to .158 difference in attack percentage.
The Gophers (18-11, 10-9 Big Ten) close their regular season on Saturday, when they play host to No. 16 Penn State at 7 p.m. in the Sports Pavilion.