Gophers sweep twice on the road

The volleyball team picked up victories against Rutgers and Maryland out east.

Junior Paige Tapp prepares to hit the ball against UC Irvine at the Sports Pavilion on Sept. 11, 2015.

Daily File Photo

Junior Paige Tapp prepares to hit the ball against UC Irvine at the Sports Pavilion on Sept. 11, 2015.

Emily Polglaze

No. 11 Minnesota extended its match-winning streak to four over the weekend, after two sweeps on the road.
The Gophers (13-3, 5-1 Big Ten) defeated Maryland 3-0 on Friday, and Rutgers 3-0 on Sunday.
Head coach Hugh McCutcheon said he was impressed with the versatility his team displayed on the weekend, adding that players are “starting to demonstrate a lot of depth offensively.”
In their first match of the weekend, the Gophers defeated the Maryland Terrapins (10-10, 0-6 Big Ten) in a 3-0 sweep. 
The first set was tight for Minnesota, as both teams steadily exchanged points back and forth until Maryland took a 20-18 lead. 
A Gophers timeout gave the team some energy, and junior Paige Tapp delivered two kills to put Minnesota up 21-20.
Maryland regained a 23-22 advantage, but Minnesota tallied the final three points of the match for a 25-23 victory. 
The Gophers started the second set trailing but then came back to take a 12-6 lead. 
Maryland added 10 more points in the set but didn’t have enough momentum to push past the Gophers. A final Terp attack error gave Minnesota the 25-16 win.
Maryland continued to put up a fight in the third set as the team took an early 8-4 advantage.
Minnesota quickly answered back and took an 11-10 lead, which forced Maryland to take a timeout.
The Terps stayed close in the set, but a triple block from Sarah Wilhite, Paige Tapp and sophomore Maddie Beal and two kills from Wilhite put the Gophers up 18-15. 
Junior Hannah Tapp took the team to match point with a kill, and an attack error for Maryland gave the Gophers the 25-19 set win and match sweep.
Despite the sweep, the closer set victories are important for the team to learn from, Paige Tapp said. 
“It could be 25-1 or 25-all, but we always need to focus on our game and the next point, no matter what the score is,” Tapp said.
In Sunday’s match at Rutgers (3-15, 0-6 Big Ten), the Gophers started strong in the first set, taking a 10-5 lead. 
Rutgers added four more points, but Minnesota continued to dominate the set and extended its lead to 22-9 off of a Hannah Tapp block. 
The Gophers only allowed two more Scarlet Knights points and took the first set 25-11. 
The second set saw much of the same. Back-to-back kills from Hannah Tapp got the Gophers started, and the team got off to a quick 11-4 lead.
Rutgers was able to make a small comeback to cut its deficit to 13-12, but Minnesota later forced a Scarlet Knights timeout upon taking an 18-12 lead. 
From there, a Paige Tapp kill brought Minnesota to set point, and the Gophers took a 2-0 advantage with a 25-17 victory. 
In the third and final set, Minnesota and Rutgers started with a 4-4 tie, and the Scarlet Knights stayed close, pushing the score to 14-14. 
Minnesota pulled ahead 21-17 after a Paige Tapp kill, and Rutgers burned its second timeout. 
The Gophers took the match from there, winning the final set 25-18 and sweeping the Scarlet Knights.
“I think we’ve been really strong in serving and passing, and as we go to bigger matches, that’s what we’re going to focus on,” senior Daly Santana said. “And we’ll continue to work on our defense, and hopefully everything will come together.”