Gophers sweep No. 11 Michigan

But senior middle blocker Jessy Jones went down with an injury.

Mark Heise

The Minnesota volleyball team’s fourth conference win of the season might have come at a high cost.

The No. 12 Gophers (11-3 overall, 4-0 Big Ten) swept No. 11 Michigan (13-3, 1-3) at the Sports Pavilion Sunday, 31-29, 31-29, 30-26, but lost senior middle blocker Jessy Jones to injury for an undetermined amount of time.

up next

ohio state
when: 5:00 p.m. Friday
where: Columbus, Ohio

“It’s an ankle injury, but we don’t know the extent of it and we won’t know until later in the week,” coach Mike Hebert said. “Based on what we saw today, it’s unlikely that Jessy would be playing next weekend.”

With a full complement of players available to them, Minnesota appeared ready to play right out of the gate.

The Gophers broke through early, putting together a 10-0 run on three blocks, three kills and a Rachel Hartmann ace to go up 11-4.

But Minnesota followed it with a streak of sub-par passing and four hitting errors to hand the lead back to Michigan with a 12-1 run.

“We just didn’t take care of the ball really well,” Hebert said. “It’s frustrating. We had them doubting themselves and then we handed them points with unforced errors.”

Freshman outside hitter Lauren Gibbemeyer led the team back into the game with five kills in just seven attempts, including two consecutive kills to tie the game at 25. The Gophers finished the game with back-to-back blocks from Jones and junior outside hitter Kyla Roehrig, to win 31-29.

“We managed to play the crucial points better than Michigan did,” Hebert said. “I was extremely proud of our composure.”

Minnesota quickly found themselves shorthanded in game two, as Jones fell to the floor in pain with the game tied at three. Jones was helped off the court, putting no weight on her left leg. She had recorded six blocks while in the match. The Gophers finished the match with 18 blocks.

Minnesota held off the Wolverines with kills from seven different players, but it looked as if Michigan was ready to break free as it grabbed a 29-27 lead.

The Gophers fought off two game points as Roehrig collected a kill, and junior middle blocker Kelly Schmidt added a big block.

Schmidt, playing as a replacement for Jones, put Minnesota ahead with a kill on the next point, and the Gophers took a 2-0 lead in the match with another 31-29 win.

Despite an injury keeping Jones off the court, the middle blocker still found a way into the game.

“We talked and she was reminding me where I should be and giving me confidence,” Schmidt said. “We went through the blocking schemes and she let me know where the open spots were.”

With Jones out, Schmidt’s play was a key part of the team’s success, which drew praise from Hebert.

“Kelly is a very reliable middle blocker,” he said. “She reads the opponent’s offense really well, and helped us out in a big way.”

Roehrig took over the third game for Minnesota, dominating the left side of the court with eight kills and two solo blocks to lead the Gophers to a 30-26 win. Michigan was held to a .040 hitting percentage in the final game, and hit just .093 on the match.

“My mindset this week was to just go block the ball,” Roehrig who finished with eight blocks said. “I tried to focus on that, it’s my part on defense.”