Minnesota wins in four

by Brian Deutsch

After a slow start leading to a first-set loss to Wisconsin, Minnesota returned to top form to out-last the Badgers in four sets, 23-25, 25-10, 26-24, 25-20. The Gophers out-blocked Wisconsin 16-9, and held the Badgers to a .112 hit percentage as five Gophers collected 10 or more digs. Christine Tan’s gutsy performance led Minnesota’s back row, collecting 21 digs and 2 aces. Offensively, Lauren Gibbemeyer led most categories, with 16 kills on a .364 clip, and 10 blocks. Kelly Schmidt had one of her best performances of the year tonight, collecting 7 kills and four blocks. Krista has the final analysis. Daily: How important was Minnesota’s defense tonight? Chin: Considering Minnesota only hit .207 as a team, Minnesota’s defense proved crucial. Tonight, they showed they are the best blocking team in the Big Ten right now. The Gophers finished with a total of 16 team blocks, with Lauren Gibbemeyer and Brook Dieter combining for four solo blocks and 14 block assists. According to Mike Hebert, “defense is our signature.” The Gophers had five players with ten or more digs, and Christine Tan finished the evening with 21. Tan got her hands on a number of attacks, and she was a key player during the longer rallies, throwing her body at the ball in order to save it. She is the leader of the backcourt, and her enthusiasm and passion for the game shows throughout. Daily: Player of the Match Chin: Tonight’s player of the match is Rachel Hartmann. Hartmann’s setting was top notch, as she led three players to double figure kills. Her set location was flawless, and she was able to get her hitters one on one a number of times. Despite her heavily taped wrists, Hartmann is managing to show her athleticism and talent and prove that she is one of the top setters in the Big Ten. Words cannot describe how much Hartmann has improved over the last year. Her defense was solid tonight, as she was getting her platform under balls that looked as though they were bound to hit the floor. In the past, Hartmann would have let those balls go right past her, but this year, she is helping the Gophers be the top defensive team in the Big Ten.