Minnesota volleyball wins in four

The Minnesota volleyball team may not have played to its potential Friday night, but the Gophers did play well enough to beat TCU, improving to 4-0 at home in a 4-set win, 25-20, 25-20, 21-25, 25-14. Minnesota was less-than sharp against a talented TCU squad, but was able to use its size to muscle out the win. The Gophers took advantage of being the stronger-hitting team in the first two sets, out-hitting the Horned Frogs .415 to .258. Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Gibbemeyer collected 9 kills on 10 swings, while senior outside hitter Kyla Roehrig added 10 kills and a .562 hit percentage. But defensively, Minnesota struggled to shut down TCU’s left-side attack, as junior outside hitter Lauren Otto led the Horned Frogs with 9 kills and a .333 hit percentage. TCU served extremely well in the third set, keeping the Gophers off-balance offensively. Minnesota hit just .050 in the third set, but adjusted in the fourth to take the match. Roehrig led the team with 19 kills, with Gibbemeyer adding 15 and a .565 hit percentage. Krista Chin has the final analysis for the match. Daily: What did both teams do well? Chin: TCU did a great job of coming into this match as the underdog, not playing scared against the No. 8 Gophers. The back court defenders were very good, as they were scrambling to keep the ball in play numerous times. The front court did a good job of keeping up with Minnesota’s lightening-fast Gibbemeyer, and setter Nirelle Hampton did a good job of getting the ball to her go-to hitter in Lauren Otto. The Horned Frogs were serving very tough, especially during the third set, resulting in five Minnesota passing errors. “Aggressive serving led to quite a few breakdowns,” coach Mike Hebert said. “I tip my hat to their serving in set three.” Minnesota also played well in the back court as they racked up a match-high 59 digs. Setter Rachel Hartmann distributed the ball well tonight, allowing many of her hitters to reach double figure kills. The Gophers also did well staying composed and disciplined after losing the third set. Daily: Player of the Match? Chin: Tonight’s player of the match is Lauren Gibbemeyer, the reigning Big Ten and National Player of the Week. Gibbemeyer was unstoppable tonight, putting the slide down for a kill the majority of the time. Her confidence has grown and her play on the court has matured, as was shown during the match tonight. Her glare through the net and her excitement after every point is intimidating. Much of Gibbemeyer’s success was due to Rachel Hartmann’s superb set distribution, allowing Gibbemeyer to be one-on-one for most of the match.