Women's volleyball: Minnesota tops Illinois in five-set thriller
The No. 5 University of Minnesota volleyball team earned a 3-2 win over Illinois, tonight at Maturi Pavilion. Minnesota fell in the first set, 22-25, won the next two, 25-18, 25-18, fell in the fourth, 20-25, and won the fifth, 15-11. With the win, the Golden Gophers improved to 20-2 overall and 9-2 in Big Ten play.
Minnesota hit .233 to Illinois’ .220. The Illini outblocked the Gophers 17-6, but Minnesota held an 87-75 dig advantage and led in kills, 71-61. The Gophers also tied a season-best eight aces, while Illinois had four aces and five service errors. It marked the third fifth-setter for the Gophers as they now hold a 3-0 record in five-set decisions.
Alexis Hart had a career-high 28 kills as she hit .303, added an assist, seven digs and three block assists. Regan Pittman had 13 kills, while Stephanie Samedy posted 12 kills and 17 digs for her 12th double-double of the year. Samantha Seliger-Swenson had 58 assists and 14 digs for her 10th double-double. Dalianliz Rosado tied a match-high 24 digs.
The Golden Gophers travel to Rutgers, Saturday, for a match at 6 p.m. CT.
First Set: Despite a 10-4 run effort at the end of the set, Illinois took the first set, 25-22. Minnesota took two timeouts, trailing at 10-14 and 11-17. As the Gophers were behind 12-21, Minnesota attempted the comeback. A Sydney Kleinman kill put the score at 15-21, which forced Illinois to call a timeout. A Taylor Morgan kill cut the Illini lead to 17-22, while Kleinman added another kill at 19-23. After a block by Hart and Pittman at 20-24, the Gophers added a Hart kill and a block by Seliger-Swenson and Lohman to bring the set to 22-24. However, Illinois finished off the set with a kill and a 1-0 lead.
Second Set: Minnesota evened the match with a 25-18 second set win. Minnesota opened the set with a 7-3 lead and maintained the lead throughout the set. Illinois called a timeout as the Gophers led, 10-4 off a Lohman ace. A Samedy kill later pushed the Gopher lead to 13-6. A kill by Alexis Hart later gave the Gophers a 17-13 lead. As the Illini came within two at 17-15, Minnesota called a timeout. However, the Gophers responded and went on a 5-1 run and a 22-16 lead, which caused Illinois to call a timeout. The Gophers finished off the set with a Barnes ace for set point and an Illinois attack error to even the match, 1-1.
Third Set: The Gophers utilized a .462 hitting clip and four aces to take the third set, 25-18. Samedy provided back-to-back aces and a 6-3 lead. Another ace by Rosado at 10-5 forced Illinois to call a timeout. Seliger-Swenson followed with an ace of her own for a 13-6 lead. Jasmyn Martin added a kill for a 17-11 lead. A Hart kill pushed the score to 21-15, while another Hart kill added a 22-16 lead. A Martin kill pushed the Gophers to set point, while Samedy added a kill for a 2-1 lead.
Fourth Set: The Illini battled back and took the fourth set, 25-20. Illinois took a 10-7 lead, which forced Minnesota to call a timeout. The Illini took a 16-10 lead, which caused Minnesota to call its second timeout of the set. Martin provided a kill to come within four at 14-18, and a Samedy ace cut the Illinois lead to three at 17-20. The ace caused Illinois to call a timeout. The Illini, however, finished off the set with block to take the set and tie the set.
Fifth Set: The Gophers erased an early 4-1 deficit to come back and win, 15-11. Minnesota battled back and tied the set at 5-5 with a block from Samedy and Pittman. Minnesota took a 9-6 lead off a Illinois attack error. The Illini called their second timeout when Taylor Morgan and Lohman combined for a block at 11-7. Minnesota closed out the match with a kill from Martin at set point, while an Illinois attack error gave the Gophers the win.