Northwestern sweeps Minnesota

The Gophers were swept for the second time this week on the road.

Rachel Timmerman

Coming off a loss to Illinois last week, the Gophers looked to bounce back against Northwestern on Sunday.

But instead, Northwestern defeated Minnesota, marking the second time the Gophers were swept this week.

Minnesota was ahead in the first set, but its lead diminished.

Head coach Hugh McCutcheon said the team had good offensive rhythm and passed well Sunday afternoon.

“It was an OK all-around performance,” McCutcheon said. “We just need to assert ourselves at the right times.”

The Gophers have had problems staying consistent throughout matches.

“We struggled a bit at finishing plays,” junior outside hitter Daly Santana said. “When the game gets to the red zone, we just [have to] make sure we stay focused.”

Coming into the second set, Northwestern took an early 12-5 lead, and it carried that lead throughout the set.

“We are a little too worried about making little mistakes,” sophomore setter Erica Handley said. “We just need to be confident that we are capable of making the plays we need to make to win the next point.”

At the end of the second set, Minnesota reduced the deficit to 23-22, but it ultimately lost the set in extra points.

McCutcheon said the team couldn’t sustain its rhythm on defense, so he made changes in the lineup.

Freshman Maddie Beal came in halfway through the second set for senior Adrianna Nora, and freshmen Alyssa Goehner and Dalianliz Rosado switched roles as well.

McCutcheon said it was nice to have other players come in and contribute in different roles.

Sophomore setter Katie Schau was injured on a play at the beginning of the third set, and Handley replaced her. McCutcheon said he thought Schau would be OK.

The Gophers are now riding a three-match losing streak and are 1-3 in the Big Ten.

After the three losses, Handley said the team needs to get its confidence back.

“We learned that sometimes things won’t go our way [and] we just need to move on to the next point, keep our head up and stay positive the whole time,” Handley said.