Just a quick update on the match so far, and we’ll get back to Krista, AND our question of the day. (Remember, you can ask Krista a question of the day by sending an email to [email protected], subject line question of the day) After two games (sets, as they are now referring to them, Minnesota leads 2-0, with 25-21, and 25-20 wins. Krista will analyze the games shortly, so I’ll leave that to her, but here are some key stats at the break. In a mostly-defensive struggle, Lauren Gibbemeyer leads the Gophers’ offense with 7 kills and a .462 hit percentage, while Pam Luiz has 3 kills on 8 swings, with no errors. Luiz has also served for 2 aces, and Hailey Cowles served an ace for the first game’s win. California is hitting just .120, as the Gophers have had a hand on nearly every ball to come across the net. And with that, we’ll head back to Krista Chin. Mark Heise: What have you seen so far from the match? Krista Chin: Defense on both sides of the net has been superb. Both liberos, Cal’s Kristen Kathan and Minnesota’s Christine Tan, have been excellent. Not only are they passing solidly, but they are making some great digs at key moments during the set. They are definitely keeping their teams energized and ready to go for the next rally. MH: What has Minnesota’s strength been? KC: Minnesota’s blocking has come a long way since last season. Kelly Schmidt has improved a tremendous amount, and thus far she is leading the team with four blocks. Lauren Gibbemeyer, Brook Dieter, and Kyla Roehrig are also putting up a huge wall as they hold three blocks apiece. Also, Minnesota’s passing has been outstanding. Cal is putting up some wicked serves and Minnesota is passing them like they are free balls. MH: What has California done well? KC: Cal came in with a lot of confidence. They are the number four ranked team in the country and they are coming from arguably one of the best conferences. Throughout the first two sets, they have maintained their composure while being down 0-2 (21-25, 20-25). They have continued to serve tough at the Gophers, however, this is a higher risk to make more mistakes. MH: Predict who will come out strong for Minnesota out of the break, and why? Look for Lauren Gibbemeyer to come out fighting strong for the Gophers. Gibbemeyer is never one to let up in a match as you will be able to see by the look in her eyes as she is peering across the net at the opposing players. MH: A lot of time-outs are taken during runs. What exactly is the purpose of that? Is it mostly to try and stop the other team’s rhythm, or is it strictly a strategy session? KC: Time-outs are taken during runs in attempt to stop all momentum that is being held by the serving team. Often times, the team taking the time-out will talk over some issues they may be seeing and discuss a play they will open up with. MH: Finally, the question of the day, (which will be a feature every game that Krista joins us)… A friend of mine helped us out with this one until we have write-ins ([email protected], subject line: Question of the Day). “I’ve always been confused as to the ruling on ‘lifts.’ I’ll watch the game, and it seems like sometimes they blow the whistle for no reason. What exactly constitutes a ‘lift?’” KC: A lift typically is determined by the length the ball is being held in a player’s hands. Unfortunately, this is by the official’s discretion and sometimes is argued with by the coaching staff. A setter is generally the one to be called on for lifts as she is the one player involved in every rally. Lifts can also be called on blockers who get a touch on the block but the ball comes between them and the net. In this instance, they try getting the ball up with open hands rather than a closed fist of a passing platform.