Gophers win twice at home

The team has now won 12 matches in a row, setting a new Minnesota record.

Middle Blocker Hannah Tapp spikes the ball for a point on Friday night at the Sports Pavilion. Tapp ended the night with 8 kills as the Gophers defeated Michigan State 3-0.

Sam Harper

Middle Blocker Hannah Tapp spikes the ball for a point on Friday night at the Sports Pavilion. Tapp ended the night with 8 kills as the Gophers defeated Michigan State 3-0.

Emily Polglaze

In back-to-back Big Ten matches for only the second time this season, the Gophers had no problem continuing to roll past their competition over the weekend. 
 
No. 4 Minnesota swept Michigan State 3-0 on Friday night and defeated No. 25 Michigan 3-1 on Saturday at home. 
 
The team has now won 12 matches in a row, defeating the previous school record of 11 set in 2002.
 
“This league is so strong, and the hardest thing is you never know what you’re getting into every night,” head coach Hugh McCutcheon said. “Inevitably, there’s ups and downs, and I was just proud of the fact that we were able to manage those and come away with two wins.”
 
Friday’s match against Michigan State started off strong for Minnesota (21-3, 13-1 Big Ten). The Gophers were able to hold onto an early lead throughout the set.  
Michigan State came close and rallied to within one point at 15-14, but the Gophers stayed ahead.
 
A kill from junior middle blocker Hannah Tapp put the Gophers at set point, and a Spartans ball-handling error gave Minnesota the 25-21 first-set victory.
 
The second set was much of the same for Minnesota. The Gophers got out to a 13-5 lead early after a six-point run with junior outside hitter Sarah Wilhite on the service line. 
Michigan State managed to add eight more points but couldn’t challenge Minnesota. 
 
The Gophers claimed the second set 25-13, and the team hit a match-high .464 to the Spartans’ .032. 
 
The Gophers quickly took a lead again in the third set and never looked back. 
 
A kill from freshman setter Samantha Seliger-Swenson ended the match, and the Gophers won the set 25-21 to sweep the Spartans 3-0. 
 
Senior captain Daly Santana led the team with 16 kills in the match, and the Gophers had four service aces to the Spartans’ two.
 
“I think in the third set we had a really good rhythm,” Santana said. “In the middle it got a little shaky, so we focused on, for the most part, staying clean on our side until we got that rhythm back.”
 
Saturday’s match proved to be more difficult for Minnesota. The Gophers were able to win the first set 25-23 but seemed to lose energy in the second. 
 
Minnesota trailed early on and wasn’t able to come back, dropping the second set to Michigan 25-19.
 
The Gophers regrouped after the break, though, and an ace from junior middle blocker Paige Tapp put Minnesota up 19-18 in the third set.
 
The Wolverines tied the score at set point, but the Gophers closed out the set at 26-24.
 
Minnesota controlled the fourth set early on, and though Michigan was able to come within two toward the end, a Paige Tapp kill again finished the set and the match at 25-22.
 
Santana had 23 kills and 15 digs, while Hannah Tapp came in second on the team with 11 kills.
 
The Gophers also outblocked the Wolverines in the match, with 14 team blocks to Michigan’s 10. 
 
“Making sure we put up a solid block and knowing the plan that our defenders can work around, those are key elements in order to score points … and win,” Hannah Tapp said.