Gophers play one of two games in this year’s Gophers Classic

Minnesota defeated Green Bay on Thursday in three straight sets.

Gopher women's volleyball defeated Green Bay in three straight sets on Thursday, Sept. 13.

Tony Saunders

Gopher women’s volleyball defeated Green Bay in three straight sets on Thursday, Sept. 13.

David Mullen

The No. 7 Gophers (6-2) were hosts of the annual Gopher Classic this weekend, but only played one match due to unusually hot weather conditions.  

“Due to extreme heat and unplayable conditions inside Maturi Pavilion, tonight’s volleyball match between the University of Minnesota and Kansas State has been postponed,” according to a press release from the University’s athletics department. 

In the same email, athletics director Mark Coyle said, “The safety and health of our student-athletes is always our primary concern when making these decisions.”

The game Minnesota did play was Thursday evening. It was the kick-off for the Gopher Classic at Maturi Pavilion against the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (5-6).

Although the Gophers swept the Phoenix, it was a highly contested match. The results of the competitive three sets were 25-18, 25-15 and 25-22. 

Green Bay took the first three points in the third set and eventually took a 7-2 lead over the Gophers.

“We dug ourselves into a pretty big hole at the beginning of the set,” head coach Hugh McCutcheon said. “Certainly, Green Bay made some plays that made that happen.”

After two attack errors by Green Bay, the score was 7-4 and the Gophers answered by matching each point made by the Phoenix, but the were still training 10-7. The Gophers then took seven points in a row to put them ahead 14-10. 

The final set continued to go back and forth, but the Gophers eventually took the set and swept Green Bay 25-22.

“We had a lot of energy tonight and if we made a mistake we’d move onto the next point,” junior outside hitter Alexis Hart said. “I think it was great that we had each other’s back but we were all like, ‘let’s do this.’”

Hart led the game with 14 points off of 13 kills.

Hart, who has not seen as much playing time this season as in previous years, said whenever she goes in she is ready to play due to her teammates’ hard work in practice.

“It’s just being consistent, and it helps that my teammates push me so hard in practice,” Hart said. 

In the first set against Green Bay, the Gophers showed their dominance by never trailing throughout the set — at one point they led the Phoenix by double digits with a score of 21-11.

Although Green Bay fought back after multiple timeouts, they fell 25-18 in the opening set.

After the first set, Hart led the Gophers with five kills followed by sophomore Stephanie Samedy with four kills. 

In the second set, the Gophers took a 10-6 lead after a service ace by senior Samantha Seliger-Swenson put the Gophers in control.

After Green Bay fired back to make the second set close at 12-10, the Gophers answered and scored five-straight points.

Green Bay scored only two more points in the set while the Gophers would finish the set after a service error, winning 25-15.

“[I’m] happy to win and I thought it was some good positives. Lots of elements in the game that we thought we did pretty well,” McCutcheon said.

Although the Gophers swept Green Bay, McCutcheon says there is still plenty of things to work on.

“I do think though there were some nice opportunities for improvement so hopefully we can work on that,” McCutcheon said.