Texas hands the Gophers their second straight loss

The Gophers kept it close against Texas, losing the three sets by a combined seven points.

Stephanie Samedy and Regan Pittman block the ball at Maturi Pavilion on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018.

Ellen Schmidt

Stephanie Samedy and Regan Pittman block the ball at Maturi Pavilion on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018.

by Nolan O'Hara

It was a tough night on Wednesday for No. 8 ranked Minnesota Gophers as the No. 3 Texas Longhorns handed them their second straight loss.

Texas beat the Gophers in straight sets: 25-22, 29-27 and 35-33. For Minnesota, opposite hitter Stephanie Samedy was able to get things going early. She recorded six kills in the first set, but it was five service errors in the set that held them back and allowed Texas to escape the set with a win and go up 1-0.

“We’ll learn from tonight, but overall I thought the team battled, and we’ll learn from tonight like we did from Saturday and like we did from Friday,” head coach Hugh McCutcheon said. “It’s a work in progress here.”

The Gophers looked to recover in the second set. It was a continued battle back and forth, but Minnesota managed to take a 24-20 lead after a kill by outside hitter Adanna Rollins, who had five kills in the set, needing just one point to close out the set. Yet, Texas recovered. They went on a 3-0 run, cutting the Gophers’ lead to one. The Gophers then appeared to capture the set and knot it up at 1-1 after an error by the Longhorns, but Texas challenged the call and it was ruled a Minnesota touch, tying the game at 24. The Gophers had one more chance at set point, but couldn’t connect, allowing Texas to claim the set and go up 2-0. Minnesota went 0-14 on set points for the match. 

“Just try and get better,” McCutcheon said about converting on set points. “All we can do is give ourselves chances.” 

A long second set was followed by an even longer third. Texas and Minnesota went back and forth throughout, neither able capitalize on the other’s mistakes.

“No matter what we’re just going to stay in it, stay in it until someone breaks,” Rollins said. 

It was the Gophers who finally broke. Texas’ Micaya White got back to back kills to secure Texas’ 34th and 35th points of the set, which closed out the match and gave her team the 3-0 win. 

The Gophers will have another tough test when they play again Saturday against No. 7 Florida at Maturi Pavillion. 

“Yeah, we’ve scheduled this way with the intent of really getting after it. We want to learn, we want to be battle tested by the time we get to our conference season and we’re certainly going to be that,” McCutcheon said. “Florida is another good team and we’re excited to play at home.”