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Gophers volleyball’s season ends in Sweet 16 loss to Ohio

The Hugh McCutcheon era is officially over as Minnesota fell in three of the four sets to Ohio State Thursday.
Image by Ethan Fine
McKenna Wucherer goes up to spike the ball during the Gophers’ game against Wisconsin, Sept. 25, 2022.

Dec. 8 vs. Ohio State

After defeating Northern Iowa at home, the Gophers traveled to Austin, Texas, for their Sweet Sixteen matchup against Ohio State.

No team led by more than one point at the start of the first set until the Gophers finally went up 11-9. Ohio State cut the lead back to one point, but the Gophers were able to go up 17-13 after an Ohio State attack error and a Jenna Wenaas kill. The Buckeyes tied it at 22 before a 3-0 run from the Gophers as they clinched set one 25-22.

Minnesota started with a 6-2 run in set two, but the Buckeyes did not let the Gophers off easily and brought the set to 9-7. The set was tied at 13 before a kill and a block from Carter Booth put Minnesota up by two. Ohio State responded, going up 23-19, before ultimately winning set two 25-21.

Tied one set a-piece, the third set started with both teams splitting the first five points before a Buckeye run put them up by three. It tied back up at 14, but Ohio State took a 22-17 lead and forced a Minnesota timeout. Minnesota cut their deficit to 23-21, but the Buckeyes managed to close out set three 25-21.

Kills from Taylor Landfair and Wenaas, followed by an ace from Wenaas gave the Gophers the early lead in the fourth set. It was tied at five, just before Ohio State went off, gaining a six-point lead over the Gophers.

Minnesota shortened its deficit to 16-12, but it would get no closer the rest of the way, and Ohio State closed out set four 25-19 to win the match and advance to the Elite 8.

Thursday’s loss to Ohio State was Hugh McCutcheon’s final game as head coach for the Gophers Volleyball team. He will be moving into a new role as assistant athletics director/sport development coach. He finished his career leading the Gophers with a final record of 277-74.

Minnesota will have plenty of production to replace in the offseason as Naya Gros, Ellie Husemann, Rachel Kilkelly, CC Mcgraw and Miranda Wucherer will all be graduating from the program.

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