Gophers finish tourney play with a sweep

Sophomore Sarah Wilhite led the team in kills in all three matches.

Rachel Timmerman

The Gophers rounded out the nonconference portion of their schedule this weekend, going undefeated in the Rocket Invitational for another tournament victory.

Sophomore outside hitter Sarah Wilhite led the team in kills over the weekend and took home the title of tournament MVP as the Gophers swept each of the three teams they faced at the invite in Toledo, Ohio.

Head coach Hugh McCutcheon said Wilhite showed a lot of consistency this weekend.

“It was a great weekend for her,” he said.

Wilhite said she has the opportunity to take on a leadership role for the team, and she showed that on the court this weekend.

Wilhite had her weekend-high of 16 kills in Minnesota’s victory over IPFW on Saturday afternoon.

The night before, the Gophers swept Toledo. Freshmen Alyssa Goehner and Dalianliz Rosado led the team with 11 digs each against the Rockets.

“We worked really hard as a team,” sophomore middle blocker Paige Tapp said. “We were really able to be consistent [this weekend].”

The sweep allowed Minnesota to vary its lineup a bit. Sophomore Laura Caluori was able to get a few rotations in, playing on the right side in the third set against Toledo.

“We’ve been learning and improving,” McCutcheon said. “Hopefully they’re gaining confidence.”

Minnesota began the tournament with a victory on Friday morning, defeating Duquesne in three sets.

Tapp had seven kills in eight attempts with no hitting errors Friday morning against the Dukes, and she said she has been working on improving her blocking.

McCutcheon said the connection in the middle was better this weekend, but the Gophers can still improve it.

Despite that, Wilhite said she thought the weekend was great for the team.

“We competed with composure,” Wilhite said. “I think that will carry on into Wednesday.”

The Gophers will compete in their first conference match on Wednesday against Ohio State.

“I feel like we’re ready to battle against anyone,” McCutcheon said.