Gophers sweep unranked Iowa

by Lindsay Guentzel

With just four weeks to go until the NCAA tournament teams are selected, the 20th-ranked Gophers are trying to pick up wins wherever they can to help get them back to the Final Four. The team used its mid-week match with unranked Iowa to improve its Big Ten record to 6-5, dominating the Hawkeyes in a 3-0 sweep âÄî 25-22, 25-19 and 25-16. Senior Lauren Gibbemeyer led the Gophers with 11 kills, five digs and four blocks in her fifth match back playing since injuring her wrist Sept. 4. âÄúIâÄôve already kind of established myself so much on this team, and being able to pick up where I left off is a great thing for me,âÄù Gibbemeyer said. âÄúIâÄôm really glad the girls have welcomed me back.âÄù The GophersâÄô mid-week sweep puts them in good position to host No. 24 Northwestern during the teamsâÄô second match-up of the season on Friday. Minnesota lost a tough 3-1 match on the road against Northwestern on Oct. 10, and the team has been waiting to get the Wildcats in its home gym for a Big Ten rematch. âÄúWeâÄôll definitely have the home-court advantage, so hopefully the outcome will be different,âÄù freshman Tori Dixon said. âÄúWe are playing pretty well right now, so if we keep it up, we can take them on.âÄù With only nine matches remaining in the Big Ten season, the Gophers have to win at least four to qualify for the NCAA tournament, something the team will be thinking about when it head on the road next weekend to take on Indiana and Purdue. âÄúItâÄôs going to be really important for us to focus on [IndianaâÄôs] middle attack,âÄù Gibbemeyer said. âÄúPurdue is a really good team and theyâÄôve kind of proven themselves this season. We are just going to have to fight through the adversity on the road.âÄù The Gophers notched victories over both teams at home earlier this season, but like every other team in the conference, the road has proved to be a big challenge for competitive teams. âÄúItâÄôs just really hard to play and come into a new atmosphere and play well,âÄù Dixon said. âÄúI think if we get over that as team and weâÄôre able to carry that into the tournament, I think weâÄôll play really well.âÄù