Gophers volleyball force comeback to take down Northwestern

Minnesota found itself down two sets but were able to fight back and avoid a two-game losing streak.

Outside hitter Stephanie Samedy spikes the ball at Maturi Pavilion on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018. The Gophers swept South Carolina in all three sets.

Ellen Schmidt

Outside hitter Stephanie Samedy spikes the ball at Maturi Pavilion on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018. The Gophers swept South Carolina in all three sets.

AJ Condon, Sports Reporter

The Gopher volleyball team found themselves in a bit of crunch Saturday night after losing the opening two sets to Northwestern. Backs against the wall, Minnesota won three straight sets 25-18, 31-29 and 15-7 for a come-from-behind win. The Gophers avoided their second two-game losing streak of the season.

The first set featured a lot of back and forth in the first set while neither team could break away. Minnesota went on a 5-2 run to tie the set at 24, but the Wildcats grabbed the last two points and took home the first set.

Northwestern controlled the second set from start to finish, including a 7-0 run to extend its lead 16-8. Minnesota was able to fight back and get within two after a 8-2 run. Up 18-16, the Wildcats were able to hold off another late Gopher push and take the second set 25-19.

It wasn’t looking too good for No. 7 Minnesota which was down two sets to none. Minnesota finally found some momentum and were able to jump out to a 13-6 lead in the third set. The Gophers weren’t done there and extended their lead to 19-7.

The Wildcats were able to stop the bleeding and cut into the deficit going on a 11-5 run before Minneesota was able to close out the third set 25-18.

It was another back and forth start to the fourth set until the Gophers picked up a quick 3-0 run to give them a 9-6 lead. Two runs from each side set up a 16-15 lead for Minnesota, but again, neither team was able to run away with the set.

25 points wasn’t enough to decide the fourth set as both teams struggled to pull away. Minnesota was finally able to break the narrative and forced a fifth set with a 31-29 win.

The fifth set was all Minnesota. The Gophers grabbed an early 4-1 lead that turned into 7-2 before the Wildcats could really get anything going. A 4-1 run on the other side cut into Minnesota’s lead and that was enough for the Gophers.

Minnesota went on a 7-1 run to close out the fifth set and complete the comeback over Northwestern with a 15-7 win.

The Gophers are back in action Friday and Saturday for two more away games against Michigan and Michigan State, respectively.