Gophers volleyball drops 5-set battle to Michigan

Minnesota was unable to finish the job Friday night and lost the last two sets of the night.

The+Gophers+huddle+to+celebrate+defeating+Oral+Roberts+three+sets+to+none+at+the+Maturi+Pavilion+on+Saturday%2C+Sept.+21%2C+2019.

Kamaan Richards

The Gophers huddle to celebrate defeating Oral Roberts three sets to none at the Maturi Pavilion on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019.

AJ Condon, Sports Reporter

It was an unusual start in the first two sets between No. 8 Minnesota and Michigan. In the opening set, Minnesota got off to a slow start, missing three consecutive points to give the Wolverines a 7-4 lead. The Wolverines took advantage of that momentum and blew past the Gophers to win the first set 25-13.

Minnesota completely flipped the script in the next set, storming ahead to an early 7-1 lead. The Gophers and Michigan swapped game styles completely, and this time it was the Maroon & Gold who came out on top.

The Wolverines didn’t have much of an answer for Minnesota’s offense, allowing a six-point run for Minnesota in the middle of the set. After pulling ahead 17-7 on that run thanks to kills from Stephanie Samedy, Jenna Wenaas and Ellie Husemann, the Gophers were able to tie it up with a 25-13 win of their own heading into the third set.

The third set was much more of a battle from both sides. It seemed as though both sides had completely woken up as they battled back and forth, with neither team gaining more than two consecutive points until Michigan put together a 3-point run to lead 10-15.

Minnesota responded with a four-point run to tie the game 17-17 before pulling ahead for the win. A kill from Wenaas secured the second straight set 26-24 to give the Gophers a 2-1 lead on the night.

With the opportunity to end the night, Minnesota relived the opening set. It was all Michigan from the get-go as the Wolverines were able to knot it up at two sets apiece. It was almost identical to their first set win, but the Gophers managed to score 14 points in the fourth set.

Heading into the fifth set for the second straight game, Minnesota needed to re-energize itself. A 1-0 lead was the most the Gophers could get before Michigan was able to answer right back. Minnesota didn’t grab a lead again until a 3-point run put them in front 11-10.

That was all the fight they had and Michigan took the fifth set, and the night, away from Minnesota. The Gophers drop to 8-5 and face Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich. Saturday night to end a four-game road trip.