Gophers volleyball takes down Illinois

by Aleutian Calabay

It may have well been a season-defining victory for the No. 13 Gophers volleyball team as they knocked off No. 5 Illinois in straight sets Saturday night at the Sports Pavilion by scores of 25-23, 25-23 and 25-22.

Despite all three sets finishing with similar scores, each set got there in very different ways.  But one fact than remained true throughout the night was the Gophers’ ability to take control of sets late and ensure victory.

"[The team’s effort] is the best it’s been all year." Minnesota head coach Mike Hebert said. "The group decided they wanted to not just play well, but to win. I would call their actions and style of play decisive."

The Gophers were led by a very passionate Lauren Gibbemeyer who put the team on her back and essentially carried them to victory as she hit a match-high 18 kills on a .500 hitting percentage.  Katherine Harms and Ariana Filho each finished with eight kills and Taylor Carico set up the offense with 43 assists to go along with four kills of her own.

Minnesota now waits for the verdict of what seed they will take into the NCAA Tournament.  Tournament seeding and brackets will be announced on Sunday, beginning at 2 p.m.