Gophers win tight match against Terps

Daly Santana had a career-high 23 kills in the match for Minnesota.

by Rachel Timmerman

A few unforced errors and miscommunications kicked off a rough match for the Gophers against lowly Maryland.

But Minnesota rebounded from a loss in the first set to defeat the Terrapins in five sets on Wednesday night.

“I don’t think we played great,” head coach Hugh McCutcheon said.

Still, he said the win was essential for the young team to remain in the conversation for postseason play.

Minnesota started the match slowly, leading to a first-set loss.

McCutcheon said Maryland performed well at the service line.

“They served the ball very tough,” he said. “That made it hard for us to get stuff going in the middle.”

The second set started similar to the first. But midway through it, McCutcheon decided to utilize both of his sophomore setters, Erica Handley and Katie Schau, and run a 6-2 formation — the first time he’s done so all season.

“We just felt that when the setter was in the front row, we weren’t siding out at the right level,” McCutcheon said. “We are also fortunate to have enough depth to be able to mix and match a little bit, [and] I think it turned out to be the right decision for us.”

Sophomore Laura Caluori also came in during the second set to play outside hitter, and she contributed to the 25-20 victory.

The Gophers continued with the successful lineup, winning the third set by a decisive 25-14 score.

Junior outside hitter Daly Santana  led the team with a career-high 23 kills.

The Gophers were unable to take the fourth set, opening up a window of opportunity for Maryland.

But Minnesota won the race to 15 points in the fifth set and didn’t look back.

“I thought that it was a really good pull-through in the end by us,” freshman middle blocker Molly Lohman said.

Lohman, who had 10 block assists, replaced the team’s starting middle blocker, Hannah Tapp.

“She got some key plays for us tonight,” Santana said of Lohman.

Santana said though the team is happy with the result, it wishes it would have gotten the victory sooner.

“Obviously, we would have liked to maybe [get] a three-set win, but a win’s a win,” Santana said.