Minnesota 3, Winthrop 0

Dec. 2, 2005

The 17th-ranked Minnesota volleyball team (25-7) defeated Winthrop (28-6) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in three games by scores of 30-13, 30-13, 30-24 on Friday, Dec. 2 at the Stokely Athletics Center in Knoxville, Tenn. The victory moves Minnesota to 11-0 all-time in first-round NCAA Tournament matches.

Coming into tonight we knew Winthrop played a unique style offense, said Minnesota Head Coach Mike Hebert. We knew we had to identify their patterns on offense to put up a successful block and we knew we had to serve tough to make it hard for them to get in system. I thought we did both well. On our side of the net, I thought we did a very good passing tonight. I thought our passing was very crisp, and that along with our service game helped us put forward a very smooth performance in tonights match.

Minnesota will face host Tennessee in the second round on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 4:30 p.m. (CT).

Junior Meghan Cumpston (Red Bluff, Calif.) led Minnesota with 12 kills, as she hit .556 (12-2-18). Meredith Nelson (St. Croix Falls, Wis.) also hit .600 (8-2-10) with eight kills. Sarah Florian (Holland, Ohio) had seven kills and two solo blocks, while Kyla Roehrig (Papillion, Neb.) and Jessy Jones (Naperville, Ill.) each had six kills and five blocks for the Golden Gophers.

I think we did a good job of executing what we practiced coming into tonights match, said Minnesota junior outside hitter Meghan Cumpston. Winthrop played a somewhat unorthodox offense and we did a lot to prepare for it. I think as a team we executed everything we needed to very well tonight.

Senior Paula Gentil (Forteleaza Ceara, Brazil) set a school record for service aces in an NCAA Tournament match with five, and had six digs on the night. Gentil needs just three digs to tie the NCAA all- time digs record. Freshman Rachel Hartmann (St. Charles, Ill.) had a team-high eight digs, along with two service aces and five assists. Junior Kelly Bowman (Maple Grove, Minn.) also had 29 assists, six digs, three kills and two service aces, while Malama Peniata (Plymouth, Minn.) had two service aces and five digs.

Minnesota had its highest percentage in school history in an NCAA Tournament match at .457 (41-9-70). It was also the Golden Gophers highest hitting percentage of the year as well. Minnesota also had a school-record for service aces in an NCAA Tournament record with 11 on the match.

Tonight was a good start for us in the tournament, said Minnesota junior middle blocker Meredith Nelson. Its always nice to get a good start out of the blocks and try to build confidence to begin the tournament. I think this was a good performance to start off with in the tournament, and we will continue to work hard to build off it.

Minnesota jumped out to a 3-1 lead in game one, but Winthrop scored four of the next six points to tie it at five. The Golden Gophers scored three of the next four points to move ahead 8-6, but the Eagles answered with consecutive points to tie the game at eight. After the two teams exchanged points to make it 9-9, Minnesota jumped ahead with three straight points to make it 12-9.

After Winthrop scored to make it 12-10, Minnesota rattled off three straight points to push the lead out to 15-10. The Eagles cut it to 15-11, before the Golden Gophers ran off eight straight points to move ahead 23-11. Minnesota continued with six of the next seven points to close out a 14-1 run to push it to game point at 29-12. Winthrop fought off the first game point to make it 29-13, but committed a service error to give the Golden Gophers game one 30-13.

Minnesota outhit Winthrop .500 to .036 in game one with 12 kills to eight for the Eagles. Florian and Nelson each had four kills in the game. Nelson had her four kills in just four swings.

In game two Minnesota jumped out to a 4-0 lead, before Winthrop cut the lead to 6-3. The Golden Gophers answered with five of the next six points to go up 11-4. Minnesota extended the run to 10-2 with five of the next six points to go up 16-5. The Golden Gophers pushed the lead out to 22-7, putting the cap on a 16-4 run for Minnesota.

The Golden Gophers pushed the lead out to 24-8, but the Eagles scored the next three points to make it 24-11. After the two teams exchanged the next two points to make it 25-12, Minnesota scored three straight points to push it to 28-12. Winthrop cut it to 28-13, before Katie Vatterrodt (Bloomington, Ind.) and Jones delivered back-to-back kills to give Minnesota the second game 30-23.

Minnesota outhit Winthrop .444 to -.111 in game two, and had 15 kills to six for the Eagles. The Golden Gophers also had five blocks to one for Winthrop. Cumpston led the way with five kills for Minnesota.

The two teams were tied at six in game three, before the Golden Gophers went on a 5-0 run to go up 11-6. Winthrop cut the lead to 11- 8, but Minnesota ran off four straight points to go ahead 15-8. The Eagles answered with back-to-back points to cut the lead to 15-10, but Minnesota answered with four of the next five points to move ahead 19-11. The two teams exchanged point to make it 20-12, before the Eagles scored four straight to cut the Golden Gophers lead to 20- 16. Minnesota responded with four of the next six points to move ahead 24-18.

Winthrop cut the lead to 24-19, but the Golden Gophers scored three of the next four points to push it to 27-20. The teams exchanged the next four points to put it match point at 29-22. Winthrop fought off the first match point to make it 29-23, but Cumpston delivered a kill to give the Golden Gophers the match at 30-23.

Minnesota limited Winthrop to a .068 hitting percentage on the night. The Golden Gophers also had 43 kills to 27 for the Eagles, as well as outblocking Winthrop 9.0-to-3.0 on the night. Minnesota outdug Winthrop 31 to 19 on the match as well.

Winthrop was led by Mary Hock who had 10 kills, six digs and two service aces. Chandra Ginest also had 22 assists, three kills and three digs for the Eagles.



-- Courtesy Minnesota