By: Emily Nicole Polglaze
Minnesota’s season ended by a total margin of only six points.
The Gophers battled back after losing the first two sets of their Final Four match against Texas in Omaha, Neb. but ultimately fell 3-1.
It was the second time in six years the Longhorns defeated Minnesota in the Final Four.
The Gophers ended their season with a 30-5 record, including a 15-0 record at home. The team also won a Big Ten Championship, had four players earn All-American honors and had head coach Hugh McCutcheon win the American Volleyball Coaches Association coach of the year award.
Minnesota earned the No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA tournament despite missing out on the postseason last year and starting the season unranked.
The Gophers were the highest remaining seed in the tournament but found a roadblock in No. 3 Texas.
Each set was closely contested. The Longhorns took a 19-16 lead in the first but the Gophers rallied to tie the score at 22.
The two teams remained tied at 24-24 but Texas finished the set off with two straight points to win 26-24.
The second set also was tied at 24 but the Longhorns pulled ahead at the end again to win 27-25 and go up 2-0 at the break.
The Gophers managed to prevent a sweep by winning the third set 25-23.
Minnesota took a 15-14 lead in the fourth set off of a kill from junior middle blocker Paige Tapp but the Longhorns managed to go on a run to take the lead back.
Texas won the fourth set 25-21 to advance to the national championship match and end the Gophers season.