Minnesota falls in Border Battle rematch

The Gophers were swept in straight sets by Wisconsin on Saturday.

Rachel Timmerman

The Gophers had an opportunity for redemption Saturday night when they traveled to Wisconsin for the border battle rematch.

The two teams faced off on Wednesday, and the Badgers swept Minnesota in three sets.

The Gophers were again unable to keep up with the top-10 Badgers on Saturday, falling in three sets.

“Our young group was battling as best they could, but we weren’t able to sustain it,” head coach Hugh McCutcheon said.

After playing Wednesday’s match against Wisconsin, the Gophers were able to hold their own for a while in each set against the Badgers.

“It helped playing them on Wednesday because we knew their tendencies and we were comfortable against them,” sophomore Paige Tapp said.

The teams were toe-to-toe in the first and third sets, McCutcheon said, with the Gophers holding leads early in those two sets.

With the way the Gophers were playing in the first set, sophomore outside hitter Sarah Wilhite said the team knew it could battle against the Badgers and defeat them.

The Gophers dropped the first set 25-19, and Minnesota couldn’t maintain its energy for the duration of the match.

“The margins are thin, and a mistake here or lapse in judgment there could be very costly,” McCutcheon said. “For us, a point here and there makes all the difference.”

Wilhite said the main thing the Gophers struggled with was hitting.

“We just beat ourselves, really,” she said. “We weren’t really able to put the ball down.”

McCutcheon agreed and said the team needed to take a few better swings.

Minnesota had many unforced errors in the match, with 26 hitting errors.

Junior outside hitter Daly Santana led the team with eight errors, and Wilhite and freshman Alyssa Goehner each had four.

“We just gave them way too many points,” Wilhite said.

Tapp and Wilhite agreed the team did well with passing and serving, but Tapp said the team could have executed better at the end of the match.

“We battled well. We didn’t really let down a lot, but we just weren’t making very smart plays,” Wilhite said.

Wilhite also said the team’s chemistry is off right now.

“We need to keep working hard in practice and get our mojo back,” Wilhite said.