Michigan too much to handle for the Gophers

The Minnesota volleyball team struggled in Ann Arbor last season, and the Wolverines continued to play well at home, handing the Gophers their second conference loss of the season. Minnesota (18-4 overall, 8-2 Big Ten) split the weekend, sweeping the Buckeyes at Ohio State on Friday 25-18, 26-24, 25-21 before getting swept by Michigan on Saturday, 21-25, 21-25, 21-25. âÄúObviously we wanted to come out with a pair of wins, and we didnâÄôt do that,âÄù junior libero Christine Tan said. âÄúBut I think this weekend serves as a good reminder for the rest of the season that we canâÄôt be complacent.âÄù The Gophers werenâÄôt complacent against Ohio State (10-11, 1-8) Friday, as Minnesota appeared well-prepared in topping the Buckeyes and their new offense. Minnesota out-blocked Ohio State 12.5-3, despite trying, as senior setter Rachel Hartmann said, to isolate blockers to create better matchups. Sophomore outside hitter Brook Dieter collected four blocks, including three solo blocks, and led the team with 16 kills offensively. Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Gibbemeyer added nine kills and five blocks, and hit .350. The Gophers shut down Ohio StateâÄôs offense meanwhile, only allowing sophomore outside hitter Katie Dull to make an impact. Dull collected 20 kills, 45 percent of her teamâÄôs totals. The Buckeyes hit just .150 as a team, and committed 26 attack errors, making things a little easier on the Minnesota defense. âÄúThey havenâÄôt really established an identity, but they do like to make changes on the fly,âÄù Hartmann said of Ohio State. âÄúTheyâÄôd lose one set and come back and try something new, and I thought we did a good job of recognizing those changes.âÄù The match against No. 20 Michigan presented different challenges for the Gophers, as coach Mike Hebert said the Wolverines came into the match extremely well-prepared. Michigan (18-4, 6-4) served aggressively, forcing Minnesota out of its offensive rhythm early. The Gophers struggled to pass efficiently, leading to a .155 team hitting percentage. Dieter seemed to be the only offensive threat for Minnesota, as the Wolverines managed to shut down Gibbemeyer and senior Kelly Schmidt in the middle, and held junior right-side hitter Pamela Luiz to just two kills on five attempts. Dieter collected 19 kills while hitting .320, but it wasnâÄôt enough, as Hebert said MichiganâÄôs serving and passing was superior Saturday. âÄúThey jumped on us early in the match and never let us up,âÄù he said. âÄúTheir serving and passing was better, and then we had to change some personnel due to some injury situations. We were underprepared for what they brought.âÄù Senior outside hitter Katie Vatterrodt once again received playing time, as she has been replacing senior outside hitter Kyla Roehrig at times over the last two weeks. Michigan out-hit the Gophers and collected seven service-aces, surprising Minnesota for the second-straight year in Ann Arbor. âÄúI think weâÄôre disappointed and frustrated,âÄù Hebert said. âÄúI think we all feel like we were lacking in some areas of effort and discipline. After this loss, I see a resolve to fix that.âÄù