Gophers volleyball avenge midweek loss with sweep

Minnesota tallied its eighth sweep of the season Sunday over Northwestern.

Gophers sophomore Samantha Seliger-Swenson sets the ball on Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 in a match against Maryland in the Sports Pavillon. 

Gophers sophomore Samantha Seliger-Swenson sets the ball on Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 in a match against Maryland in the Sports Pavillon. 

by Tommy Sletten

No. 1 Minnesota found redemption after Friday’s away loss to Penn State, sweeping Northwestern in straight sets.

“Obviously the Penn State loss was tough, but we know we need to get better,” senior middle blocker Hannah Tapp said. “Hopefully we can take that loss and learn from it. We were looking forward to coming out here and playing well, which I think we did.”

Minnesota saw strong performances from senior outside hitter Sarah Wilhite who had 14 kills and 9 digs, and junior libero Dalianliz Rosado who had 11 digs. Sophomore setter Samantha Seliger-Swenson compiled 36 assists, 11 digs and three service aces.

The Gophers proved to be too much for the Wildcats in the first set, winning 25-17.

Seliger-Swenson started off the set with two consecutive aces, with Minnesota going on a 3-0 run. However, Northwestern came up with a 3-0 run of their own to tie up the match early. Minnesota broke away in the set with an 8-2 run, taking the set shortly thereafter.

Wilhite had six kills followed by junior middle blocker Molly Lohman with four and Hannah Tapp with three.

Minnesota took the second set 25-21, which was a set of runs by both teams.

“I thought we did a good job at stopping their runs before they really got started,” Wilhite said. “Not letting them get more than a few points before we did.”

The two squads traded points from the outset of the set, culminating in a 10-7 Northwestern lead. Three consecutive kills and two blocks from senior middle blocker Hannah Tapp led to the resurgence of the Minnesota offense, leading them on a 7-0 run. Northwestern then tied the set up at 15-15, fresh off of a 5-1 run.

Minnesota had the last laugh and the last run, capping off an 8-3 run with an ace from Seliger-Swenson.

Hannah Tapp had seven kills on the set, leading all players. Wilhite and freshman outside hitter Alexis Hart each had three kills while Wilhite and Seliger-Swenson each picked up six digs.

Minnesota completed the sweep in the third set, winning 25-17.

The beginning of the set was back and forth, reaching a score of 13-11.Hannah Tapp again sparked the Minnesota offense with two straight kills, leading her team on a 7-2 run. The Gophers closed out the set with a Wilhite kill and a Northwestern hitting error.

Hannah Tapp was the catalyst for the Gophers against Northwestern, seemingly having an answer for every single Wildcat run. She was second in the match with 13 kills, but also had a match-high five blocks.

She was there at every point when Minnesota needed her, breaking up key Wildcat runs in the second and third set.

“It’s always nice to play at home regardless of what has come before,” said head coach Hugh McCutcheon. “We try to get a little bit better every match and play Gopher Volleyball, and I thought we did that today.”