Oct. 25, 2009

Courtesy of Minnesota Athletics

The ninth-ranked Minnesota volleyball team (17-5, 8-2) defeated No. 11 Michigan (18-5, 6-4) in four sets by scores of 20-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-10 at Williams Arena in front of a crowd of 7,547 fans on Saturday, Oct. 24. The crowd of 7,547 was the fifth-largest in school history.

"Our team did a great job tonight in a tremendous environment at Williams Arena," said Minnesota Head Coach Mike Hebert. "We make it a goal as a team to try to key on some of the opponents top hitters and take them out of the match the best we can. I thought our team did a tremendous job of that against a really good Michigan team tonight."

Minnesota was led by freshman Tabitha Love (Dauphin, Manitoba) who hit .455 (19-4-33) with 19 kills and two blocks. Senior opposite hitter Megan Wilson (Lincoln, Neb.) hit .368 (10-3-19) with 10 kills, a season-high seven blocks, 14 digs and tied a season-high three service aces. Sophomore middle blocker Ariana Filho (Monument, Colo.) hit .500 (13-2-22) with 13 kills and six blocks.

Senior setter Taylor Carico (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) finished with 47 assists, seven digs and five blocks. Junior middle blocker Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.) also had seven kills and six blocks, while Hailey Cowles (Eden Prairie, Minn.) collected six kills and eight digs. Senior libero Christine Tan (Safety Harbor, Fla.) finished with 12 digs and a service ace, while Jessica Granquist (Blaine, Minn.) had eight digs and a service ace.

Minnesota outhit Michigan .298 to .148, and had 56 kills to 48. The Golden Gophers also outblocked the Wolverines 15.0-to-5.0 on the night. It was the 18th time in 22 matches that Minnesota has outblocked its opposition. The Golden Gophers also had 55 digs to 46 for Michigan, and collected five service aces to three for the Wolverines.

In the first set, Minnesota ran out to a 9-2 lead after Filho's sixth kill in the first 11 points. Michigan responded with eight of the next nine points to cut the Golden Gopher lead to 11-10. The Wolverines wrestled the lead away, and moved ahead 16-13 after a prolonged 14-4 run against Minnesota. The Golden Gophers cut the lead to 17-15 with a kill by Love, but Michigan scored four of the next five points to make it 21-16. Michigan held Minnesota at bay, not letting the Golden Gophers get any closer than four points the rest of the set on the way to a 25-20 first-set victory.

Michigan outhit Minnesota .171 to .075 in the first set, despite the fact that the Golden Gophers had 14 kills to 12 for the wolverines. In the set the Wolverine collected all of their blocks for the match, as they outblocked Minnesota 5.0-to-3.0. Filho led the way for Minnesota with six kills.

With the score tied at five in the second set, the Golden Gophers scored six of the next eight points and went ahead 11-7 on a kill by Cowles. The score moved to 13-10, when Minnesota scored got back-to-back kills by Filho and moved ahead 16-10 on a Wolverine attack error.

Michigan cut the lead to 17-15, but Wilson followed with a kill and Carico and Gibbemeyer combined on a block to make it 19-15. The Wolverines against trimmed the lead to two points at 20-18. However, Love answered with a kill and a solo block to push it out to 22-18. Love again delivered a kill to make it set point at 24-19, and Filho and Wilson combined on a block to even the match at one set apiece.

Minnesota outhit Michigan .278 to .111 in the set, as each team collected 14 kills. The Golden Gophers had six blocks in the set to none for the Wolverines. Love finished with six kills and a solo block in the set. The third set featured 12 ties between the two teams. Love put Minnesota ahead 18-17 with a kill, but Michigan answered with three of the next four points to take a 20-19 lead. After a blocking error and a Wolverine attack error put the Golden Gophers back ahead by one point, Filho and Wilson each collected solo blocks to make it 23-20.

Michigan answered with consecutive points to make it 23-22, but Filho made it set point with a kill at 24-22. Granquist gave the Golden Gophers the 2-1 lead in the match with a service ace to give Minnesota the third set. Minnesota outhit Michigan .429 to .278 in the set, as each team collected 15 kills. The Golden Gophers also collected two blocks in the set. Love had five kills in the set, while Wilson collected four.

In the fourth set, the Golden Gophers stormed out to a 17-6 lead after Carico and Gibbemeyer combined on a block. Minnesota built it to 20-7 after a Love kill. With score at 21-8, Filho delivered back-to-back kills and Wilson made it match point at 24-8 with a kill. Michigan cut it to 24-10, before Love terminated the final point to give Minnesota a four-set victory.

Michigan was led by Veronica Rood who collected 12 kills and two blocks, while Alex Hunt had 11 kills and six digs. The Golden Gophers held Juliana Paz to a .000 hitting percentage, as she collected nine kills and eight digs. Setter Lexi Zimmerman had 37 assists, five kills and three blocks, while Sloane Donhoff finished with 13 digs.