secondThe Minnesota volleyball team advanced in the NCAA Tournament on Friday, defeating Sacramento State, 15-9, 15-10, 15-10, in Los Angeles.
The Gophers (26-8) advance to play USC (21-8) in the second round of the tournament Saturday at 8 p.m. Twin Cities time. The match will be broadcast live on WDGY AM 630 beginning at 7:40 p.m.
Nicole Branagh led Minnesota with 23 kills, setting a Gopher school record for most kills in an NCAA tournament match. Stephanie Hagen had 14 kills at a .636 hitting percentage, also a Minnesota NCAA Tournament record. Charnett Fair added 11 kills, while Yvonne Wichert notched a double-double with 10 kills and 12 digs. Lindsey Berg directed the offense to a .338 hitting percentage, the first time that Minnesota has ever hit .300 in an NCAA Tournament match.
"Every win is a good win in the NCAA Tournament," said Minnesota coach Mike Hebert. "Sacramento State gave us the exact match that we thought we would get. They were scrappy, and made life difficult for us. We were extremely patient, which won the match for us."
Hagen had five of her kills in the first game, leading Minnesota to a 15-9 win in the opening game. Branagh was the team's top hitter in the second game, pounding 11 kills in the Gophers' 15-10 triumph. Sacramento State made its best run of the match in the third game, scoring the first three points of the game, before Minnesota took control. The Gophers hit over .300 in each of the three games and held Sacramento State to a .194 hitting percentage.
Branagh increased her season kill total to 633 and her career total to 1,690. She needs 14 kills to pass Chris Schaefer and move into second place on Minnesota's single-season list. Charnette Fair had two blocks to raise her season total to 165, just four shy of Lori Miller's school record of 169 set in 1985.