Gophers swept on the road

After a weekend like this, the Minnesota volleyball team is probably sick of road matches. The No. 13 Gophers (18-6 overall, 8-4 Big Ten) lost both matches this weekend, starting their first losing streak of the year and extending it to three. No. 1 Penn State swept Minnesota Friday, 25-19, 25-17, 25-17, and the Gophers lost a five-set match to Indiana Saturday, 25-22, 22-25, 25-19, 22-25, 9-15. âÄúIt hasnâÄôt really settled in yet,âÄù senior outside hitter Kyla Roehrig said of the teamâÄôs reaction to the weekend. âÄúBut we know we canâÄôt play like this every weekend.âÄù MinnesotaâÄôs play was improved against Penn State, compared to the first match featuring the two teams earlier this season. The Gophers made adjustments from the first match, holding the Nittany Lions to a hitting percentage of .348, shutting down sophomore middle blocker Arielle Wilson, who played well the first match. Minnesota was tied at 17 in the first set, keeping it close until the Nittany Lions finally pulled away. Penn State (24-0, 12-0) still held Minnesota in check, not allowing any of the GophersâÄô hitters to record 10 kills. Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Gibbemeyer led Minnesota with eight kills and a .214 hitting percentage, while sophomore outside hitter Brook Dieter added six kills, and led the team with nine digs. Penn State had three players with 10 or more kills. âÄúWe both made some adjustments,âÄù senior setter Rachel Hartmann said. âÄúThey kind of spread the ball around a little more, and that was something we couldnâÄôt stop. We couldnâÄôt commit to any one hitter.âÄù Indiana (14-10, 6-6), unlike the first matchup at Minnesota, also spread the ball around. The Hoosiers passed better this time around, giving them option to set more than one player. Indiana used this to its advantage, as four different players collected double-digit kills, including senior outside hitter Erica Short, who led the team with 23 kills. Despite this, the Gophers played well enough to win, holding the Hoosiers to a .206 hit percentage, and having big nights from Dieter, Gibbemeyer and Roehrig. Dieter and Gibbemeyer both collected 16 kills, and Roehrig added 15, putting Minnesota in a position to win the match in the fourth. âÄúWeâÄôre not quite getting it done,âÄù coach Mike Hebert said. âÄúWe had a 4-5 point lead late in the fourth set, and we kind of frittered that away. That took the wind out of our sails, and we never regained it after that.âÄù Both teams made plenty of hitting errors, as Indiana committed 33 and Minnesota added 24. Roehrig said the errors came from solid blocking on both sides. âÄúEach time someone went to hit, there were two people up on them,âÄù she said. âÄúEach team was pretty solid, and thatâÄôs probably what caused that.âÄù Freshman defensive specialist Jessica Granquist and junior libero Christine Tan each had 15 digs, leading the Gophers.