Gophers volleyball dominant at service line, take down Terps

Minnesota has won every set played thus far, as the team moved to 4-0 in the second weekend of play.

Opposite+hitter+Stephanie+Samedy+spikes+the+ball+to+earn+a+point+for+the+Gophers+in+Maturi+Pavilion+on+Sunday%2C+Jan.+24.+The+Gophers+won+against+Michigan+State+Spartans+with+a+score+of+3-0.

Shannon Doyle

Opposite hitter Stephanie Samedy spikes the ball to earn a point for the Gophers in Maturi Pavilion on Sunday, Jan. 24. The Gophers won against Michigan State Spartans with a score of 3-0.

Brendan O'Brien, Sports Reporter

Four matches into the season, the Minnesota volleyball team looks like an absolute force.

Not only are the Gophers 4-0, they have not lost a single set, sweeping Michigan State a week ago and Maryland this weekend.

“We’ll take any win in the Big Ten,” head coach Hugh McCutcheon said on Saturday. “It’s good if we win in three [sets] but all that matters is if we pull out the victory.”

One key to Minnesota’s success against the Terrapins was the play at the service line. As a team, the Gophers finished with 21 service aces on Friday and Saturday.

In Friday’s match, the Gophers swept their way to victory 25-16, 25-17 and 25-23. It was clear early on outside hitter Adanna Rollins was going to have her way in College Park, taking over at the service line with three-straight aces. Opposite hitter Stephanie Samedy closed out the set with three kills in the final four points.

Libero C.C. McGraw came up with significant digs to keep rallies alive for Minnesota in the second set on Friday and throughout the weekend. McGraw finished with 26 digs against Maryland.

Despite taking the first two sets, the Gophers could not easily shake the Terrapins in the third on Friday night. The Gophers came back from a four-point deficit and finished the set on a 6-0 run to win and close out the match.

“Winning close sets shows we are a really calm team,” Rolliins said. “We don’t get too frazzled and just try to take each set one point at a time.”

Minnesota picked up right where it left off on Saturday, winning 25-23, 25-18 and 25-15. The competitiveness between the Gophers and Terrapins from the final set on Friday continued into the first set of Saturday’s match. Maryland hung around throughout the set but Minnesota’s talent again prevailed to win by two in the first.

Freshman Taylor Landfair and Rollins powered the Gophers early on in the set with five and four kills respectively off of strong swings. Landfair totaled 20 kills on the weekend while Rollins added 17.

“She’s played really well. She has the capacity for learning and change while still playing with so much raw talent,” McCutcheon said of Landfair. “It’s really great to see.”

After back-to-back tight sets, Minnesota took care of business in the second set Saturday, jumping out to a 21-12 lead thanks to a 6-0 run midway through the set. McGraw finished the set with yet another ace for the Gophers. Minnesota ran away with the final set of the weekend, leading by 10 throughout the majority of the set.

Middle blocker Katie Myers also made her presence felt throughout both matches in her return to College Park. The graduate transfer finished with 11 blocks between the two matches, six of which came on Saturday.

Minnesota will look to extend its winning streak next weekend at Purdue. The Boilermakers dropped their opening matches against Wisconsin but fought back against Iowa to get to 2-2 on the season.