Gophers continue Big Ten dominance in fourth straight sweep

The Gophers won their fourth straight Big Ten matchup Saturday against the Indiana Hoosiers in Bloomington, Indiana.

Outside hitter Alexis Hart jumps to set the ball at the Maturi Pavilion on Wednesday, Sept. 19. The Gophers defeated Penn State for their Big Ten opener in straight sets.

Jack Rodgers

Outside hitter Alexis Hart jumps to set the ball at the Maturi Pavilion on Wednesday, Sept. 19. The Gophers defeated Penn State for their Big Ten opener in straight sets.

David Mullen

No. 6 Minnesota (10-2, 4-0 Big Ten) continued its Big Ten sweep streak as the Gophers downed Indiana (11-4, 2-2 Big Ten) Saturday in Bloomington, Indiana in three straight sets.

“In this conference, road wins are a big deal, so I was just really happy with the way they battled on the road,” Gophers coach Hugh McCutcheon said. 

The Gophers’ win was a total team performance as redshirt junior Taylor Morgan, freshman Adanna Rollins, sophomore Stephanie Samedy and junior Alexis Hart all had double-digit kills.

“Having a lot of people getting it done at the net is important,” McCutcheon said. 

Senior setter Samantha Seliger-Swenson set up the offense with 36 sets and 13 digs.

“Her sets are so good,” Rollins said. “She’s so good at spreading the offense around.”

In the first set, the Gophers looked ready to blow the Hoosiers away. Minnesota was ahead 12-6 in the first set after two powerful kills by Morgan. The Gophers extended their lead to 17-10 after three commanding kills by outside hitter Hart.

The Gophers looked as if they were going to close out the set when they were ahead 23-13, but the Hoosiers wouldn’t back down and scored eight straight points.

Minnesota closed out and took the final two points. They went ahead 1-0 in the match.

“We might have gotten rattled a little bit by the crowd, but I think we focused on our side and that helped us get our momentum back,” Rollins said. 

Samedy was a dominating force in the first set with five kills and hitting .500.

In the second set, Minnesota and Indiana went back and forth in a very competitive battle. Minnesota took an early 5-2 lead after some errors by Indiana and two kills by Morgan.

Indiana fought back, tying the set at eight; both teams went back-and-forth from there, leading to a 12-12 score. Minnesota then took charge, scoring five straight points, which put them ahead 17-12. 

“I think we all came together, and we were all working together,” Morgan said.

The Hoosiers fought back, but it wasn’t enough to top the Gophers as they went on to win the set 25-19. Rollins led the set with five kills. 

“[Winning the set] was a combo of everybody feeling great energy and great effort,” Morgan said.

Everything went Minnesota’s way in the final set, as they took a dominating 7-2 lead. 

Indiana again pushed back, but after a Samedy kill set by Seliger-Swenson, the Gophers led 13-8. Minnesota then went on an 8-2 run, putting them ahead 21-10.

A powerful spike by Morgan closed out the match for the Gophers, winning the final set 25-14. Rollins had six kills in the final set and Morgan finished the game hitting .923 with 12 kills of 13 attempts. 

“As difficult as these experiences are, at times, I think they’re really good opportunities for growth,” McCutcheon said.

The Gophers will travel to Evanston, Illinois on Wednesday to play Northwestern.