No. 14 Gophers split against Michigan State, Michigan

Lindsay Guentzel

The Gophers have officially started the Big Ten season, and like they expected, it isnâÄôt going to be easy. After sweeping Michigan State on Friday, the No. 14 Gophers lost a five-set match to No. 22 Michigan, one of four Big Ten teams in the top 25, notching their third loss on the season. The Gophers took an early 2-0 lead against Michigan, led by sophomore Tabitha LoveâÄôs team-high 20 kills, 10 digs and four blocks. The celebration didnâÄôt last long, however, as the Gophers lost the third set 27-25, capped by a service error. The Gophers couldnâÄôt get it back together after the third set, losing the final two in close decisionsâÄî25-18 and 17-15. Michigan also had seven service aces. âÄúThey came out more ready to play,âÄù junior Katherine Harms said. âÄúIt was their home gym, and they definitely didnâÄôt want to lose to us. They just had that extra little push from their home crowd.âÄù ItâÄôs the second time this season the Gophers (11-3) have lost a match after taking a 2-0 lead. In her characteristically optimistic way, junior Jessica Granquist said the team will spend the week working on its endurance for the tough five-set matches. âÄúWeâÄôre getting better as a team,âÄù Granquist said. âÄúYou know we lost, but I still feel like weâÄôre getting better overall as a team. It was just unfortunate that they were playing in their home gym. They wanted to win.âÄù Added head coach Mike Hebert, âÄútheir tough serving and their all-out level of effort just really got to us.âÄù Things went better for the Gophers on Friday, as they played with control during their 3-0 sweep against Michigan State, Hebert said. Love once again led the way, tallying two service aces and a team-high 12 kills. Freshman Ashley Wittman had 10 kills, five digs and three blocks while junior Ariana Filho had seven kills and two blocks for the Gophers. The Gophers have their own Homecoming festivities scheduled for this week, hosting both Purdue and Indiana at the Sports Pavilion in their Big Ten home opener. âÄúIâÄôm just looking forward to being home again, to playing for our crowd with our fans in our gym,âÄù Granquist said. Related: – No. 14 Gophers on a roll headed into conference play (9/23)