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Gophers volleyball sweeps Michigan, wins battle over Illinois

After picking up two more victories, Minnesota moved to 15-7 on the season, winning 11 of the last 9 games.
Image by Eleanor King
The Minnesota Volleyball team huddles up in between plays during their game against Michigan, Friday, Nov. 4. The Gophers won, 3-0.

Nov. 4 vs. Michigan

The No. 9 ranked Golden Gophers played host to the Michigan Wolverines this past Friday. It was the second matchup between the teams this season; Michigan got swept on their home court earlier in the season.

Set one started with both teams going back and forth until the Wolverines took a lead at 12-9. The Gophers, however, responded with a 6-1 point run. Minnesota was able to maintain its momentum after a kill from Taylor Landfair and two more from Carter Booth, grabbing a 19-14 lead. Landfair sealed the set for Minnesota after a kill resulted in a 25-21 victory.

Much like set one, Minnesota and Michigan split the first eight points. Minnesota answered with a 5-1 run to give it a more predominant lead at 9-5. Michigan answered with an 8-1 run of its own, cutting the Gophers’ lead to 17-16.

Two Michigan errors and a Landfair kill had put the Gophers up 20-17. Carter Booth’s kills finished the set for Minnesota 25-20.

Unlike the first two sets, Michigan came out on fire in set three. The Gophers managed to score six of the next seven points to take the lead. The Wolverines scored the next three points to retake the lead at 9-7 after kills from Jess Mruzik, Jacque Boney and a combined team block.

Four straight kills from Minnesota’s Taylor Landfair helped grab a 15-14 lead. Both teams continued to go back and forth until the score reached 20-20, when a Michigan error and a Landfair kill gave the Gophers a two point lead at 22-20. The Gophers were able to run away with the lead after a Booth kill, winning the set and match with a final set score of 25-22.

Minnesota is now 61-16 all time against Michigan, winning 12 of the last 14 in the series. Redshirt sophomore Landfair, who attained double digit kills for the 21st time this season, led the Gophers. This is her fourth match this season with 20+ kills and the sixth of her career.

Nov. 6 vs. Illinois

Sunday, the Gophers hit the road for a matchup against the Fighting Illini in Urbana-Champaign.

After Illinois scored the first point, Minnesota answered, scoring eight of the next nine to take an early 8-2 lead. After Illinois cut the lead to 14-9, an Arica Davis kill and Illinois attack error put Minnesota up 21-13, and Minnesota won the set 25-15.

Illinois started out with a steady lead going into set two, scoring nine of the first 14 points. Minnesota cut the lead to one by scoring five of the next seven, but Illinois fought back to put the score at 16-11 and closed the set strong with a 25-16 lead.

Much like set two, Illinois came out on fire scoring five of the first seven points in the third set. The Gophers took their first lead of the set at 12-11 after a kill from Booth. Minnesota’s momentum continued, going on a 9-2 run.

A kill from Jenna Wenaas and an ace from Landfair led Minnesota to close the set at 25-19.

Minnesota had the early lead this time to start set four, scoring eight of the first eleven points. Illinois responded immediately with a five-point run to tie the game at eight. A Landfair kill helped to bring Minnesota up 20-16, but Illinois did not go away, and after a pivotal Minnesota error, the Fighting Illini won set four 25-23 and forced a fifth and final set.

Set five saw both teams exchange the first six points. A Gophers’ service error put the Fighting Illini up 5-3. After exchanging runs, Illinois came within one at 14-13, but Minnesota’s Wenaas closed out the set at15-13 after a game-winning kill.

Minnesota is now 44-40-1 all-time against Illinois. Graduate student CC McGraw threw down 13 digs, making it her 98th career 10+ dig outing. She now has 1,809 career digs and is the fourth Gopher to make over 1,800 career digs.

The Gophers will play host to Maryland on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

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