Gophers remain perfect in Big Ten

Road wins against Purdue and Indiana help Minnesota begin 4-0 in conference.

Gophers remain perfect in Big Ten

Aleutian Calabay

Two weeks into the Big Ten season the Gophers volleyball team owns one distinction no other conference team has: they are the only team that has yet to lose a single set. No. 8 Minnesota first traveled to Purdue on Friday night, beating the Boilermakers by scores of 25-18, 25-22 and 26-24. The Gophers then went to Indiana on Sunday, winning 25-20, 25-19 and 26-24. The victories mark the third year in a row that the Gophers have started 4-0 in Big Ten play. Minnesota played well using an all-around team effort, beginning with the play of sophomore Ariana Filho . She had 10 kills against Purdue with a 0.909 hitting percentage, tying her with Jesse JonesâÄô 2005 performance for the second best hitting percentage in a single match in Gophers history. Filho was far from alone in putting up impressive numbers. Combined between both games, junior Brook Dieter had a team-high 26 kills to go along with 19 digs. Junior Lauren Gibbemeyer tallied 21 kills and seven blocks. Freshman Tabitha Love continues to provide front court fire power with 16 total kills. The Minnesota offense was set up by senior Taylor Carico who had a combined 70 assists along with five kills. Senior Christine Tan led the defensive effort with 30 digs. âÄúItâÄôs difficult to play on the road in any sport,âÄù Gophers head coach Mike Hebert said. âÄúComing back with two wins has to help our players believe that they can play well on the road. You donâÄôt know until you do it, and they performed very well.âÄù The first set against Purdue began with the teams splitting points. The Gophers grabbed a lead and began pulling away when they went on a 4-0 run to take a 17-11 lead. They went on to win the set 25-18. It was more of the same in the second set, as Minnesota took an early 11-7 lead and never looked back, winning 25-22. The Gophers grabbed a 15-10 lead in the third set, but the Boilermakers âÄî fighting not to be shut out at home âÄî made a comeback, eventually taking a 20-19 lead. Purdue had a pair of set points at 24-22, but Minnesota won the next four consecutive points to steal the victory, 26-24. The win for the Gophers marked their eighth consecutive win over the Boilermakers, dating back to 2005. Minnesota knew its challenge would only get tougher moving on to face an Indiana team that had already beaten Michigan State and Purdue. The Gophers grabbed an early 13-7 lead over the Hoosiers in the first set. Despite a couple of runs by Indiana, Minnesota continually stayed a step ahead. Gibbemeyer had seven kills in the set as the Gophers won 25-20. Minnesota took a 21-12 lead in the second set and appeared to be running away with the set, but Indiana struck back by scoring six of the next eight points to make it 23-18. Dieter then took over and finished the set with a pair of kills to give the Gophers a 25-19 win. Indiana picked up the intensity in the third set, matching each run the Gophers made with one of their own. Minnesota took a slight lead at 23-22 and a Dieter kill gave the Gophers match-point at 24-22. Indiana won the next two points to tie it at 24, but consecutive kills by Love and Dieter sealed the match for Minnesota as they won 26-24. Climbing the rankings No. 1 Penn State lost their first set of the season so far to Iowa on Friday and No. 6 Michigan lost their match to Illinois on Saturday , thus giving Minnesota the lone distinction of being the only team in the Big Ten to not lose a single set in conference play. The news only gets better for the Gophers as No. 5 Florida and No. 7 Oregon also lost this weekend, potentially paving the way for Minnesota to get a boost in the rankings. The current Gophers hot streak has helped build chemistry on a team that had seven new players this season. âÄúThis weekend was a huge step up for us as far as us coming together as a team,âÄù Carico, a transfer from USC, said. âÄúWeâÄôre definitely more consistent than we have been. ThereâÄôs less ups and downs through the match, and weâÄôre constantly maintaining higher levels.âÄù