Minnesota gets Big Ten win No. 7

Volleyball

Tony Morimoto

Volleyball

Chalk up another win for the Minnesota volleyball team. The Gophers continued to shine against any Big Ten competition that isnâÄôt Penn State Friday, topping Michigan State in four sets at the Sports Pavilion, 25-23, 24-26, 25-13, 25-19. âÄúIt was a good win for us,âÄù sophomore outside hitter Brook Dieter said. âÄúThe match went to four sets and we were able to pull it out. It really showed that we were mentally focused.âÄù Minnesota started the match without senior outside hitter Kyla Roehrig for the second straight match, and played well enough without her to take the first set, before running into trouble in the second. Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Gibbemeyer and Dieter controlled the first set for the Gophers, as the Spartans couldnâÄôt contain either player. Gibbemeyer collected eight kills in nine attempts, while Dieter picked apart the defense from the front and back row, picking up seven kills and a 0.462 hit percentage. But the rest of the Gophers team was struggling to score points offensively. Minnesota collected just three kills from players other than Dieter and Gibbemeyer in the first set, and added just four in the second. Michigan State did a better job of covering Dieter and Gibbemeyer in the second set, forcing long points which ended up going in the SpartansâÄô favor. The Spartans collected 20 kills in the set while holding Minnesota to just 13 and a 0.205 hit percentage. The GophersâÄô lack of offensive options caused coach Mike Hebert to send in Roehrig late in the second set. âÄúThe turning point for us, psychologically, was when Kyla entered the match,âÄù Hebert said. The landscape of the match changed quickly, after Roehrig had a chance to warm up in between the second and third set. Minnesota had six players collect two or more kills in the most-balanced offensive attack of the match, and rattled off a 10-0 run midway through the match to secure the third set. Michigan State was held to a -0.031 hit percentage while the Gophers thrived, hitting at a 0.345 clip. âÄúI think the high point of the match was that third set,âÄù Gibbemeyer said. âÄúWe struggled early, but Kyla really brought a lot of energy with her big block, and shut down the right side.âÄù The Gophers continued their hot play into the final set, as senior middle blocker Kelly Schmidt led the way with five of the teamâÄôs 18 kills, helping Minnesota hit 0.366 with just three errors, leading to the win. Schmidt finished the match with nine kills and a 0.444 hit percentage, and added five blocks for the Gophers. Dieter led the team offensively with 19 kills and chipped in 19 digs, while Gibbemeyer finished with 17 kills and 6 blocks. Minnesota out-blocked Michigan State 15-8.5, and out-hit the Spartans 0.316-0.175. âÄúMichigan StateâÄôs a really young team, and we were impressed with how well they played,âÄù Dieter said. âÄúThey gave us a lot of competition, and it was great to see that we could get through that.âÄù