Minnesota’s road woes continue

With the loss, the Gophers have now lost five of their last six games.

Rachel Timmerman

The Gophers entered their match at Purdue on Saturday night winless in Big Ten road games.

That didn’t change this weekend, as the Gophers (14-9, 4-8 Big Ten) lost to the Boilermakers in straight sets to drop to 10th in the conference standings.

Head coach Hugh McCutcheon said the team committed too many unforced errors in the loss.

“We shot ourselves in the foot a little,” he said.

Minnesota started slow Saturday night, falling behind 14-7 in the first set.

But after a timeout, the Gophers went on an 8-1 run to tie the set 15-15.

However, Minnesota couldn’t maintain that success and dropped the set.

“In the very beginning, we were a little frantic,” sophomore middle blocker Paige Tapp said.

The second set was more of an even match between the two teams and remained tight until the end.

“When it gets into the red zone, we just really need to make the other team play,” sophomore outside hitter Sarah Wilhite said. “The first and second set especially, we got a little frantic in the last couple points. If we just clean that up, then we’ll be able to … end up winning those sets instead of losing them.”

In the third set, Minnesota came out with more confidence.

But halfway through, the Gophers reverted back to playing with less energy and dropped the set and match.

Tapp said the team had a difficult time cutting back on errors and managing its side of the net.

She also said the team needed to start off playing strong.

“We got behind and had to work really hard to get back in it,” Tapp said. “If we establish ourselves early, that will help us out a lot.”

Wilhite and Tapp both said the team performed well defensively, but Minnesota’s blocking could have been better Saturday.

The Gophers entered the weekend leading the league in blocks and blocks per set, but they had only six team blocks Saturday night to Purdue’s 10.

Next weekend, Minnesota will continue its road trip at Michigan State and Michigan.