Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Spartans volleyball cruises past no. 17 Golden Gophers

September 29, 2001

The Spartan volleyball team took the first step Friday towards rectifying two losses last weekend at Jenison Field House as they rolled over the No. 17 Minnesota Golden Gophers 3-0.

Game one was dominated by the Spartans (8-2, 1-2), who jumped out to a 9-1 lead behind seven points on junior outside hitter Kyla Smith’sserve.

The lead was more than enough cushion for the Spartans, who rolled to a 30-17 game one victory, without ever being led by the visiting Golden Gophers.

Crisp passing, flawless serve returns and seven blocks to Minnesota’s zero gave the Spartans the game one win.

The Spartans’ intensity did not wave in game two, despite a stronger performance from Minnesota (8-3, 2-1).

After a kill from freshman outside hitter Kim Schram (match-high 12 kills) knotted the game at 4, junior defensive specialist Emily Engel ran six straight points off the Gophers.

The run forced Minnesota into its first time out of the match trailing 10-4.

A brief Minnesota run tightened the score at 13-10, but was halted by Minnesota outside hitter Kathy Tilson’s service error.

The Gophers trailed only by two points late into the match at 25-23 and 27-25 before the Spartans slammed the door on the Gopher comeback.

Game two was sealed by a kill from Smith (match-high three aces) putting the Spartans up two games to none after the 30-25 win.

Game three began with another flurry of points, like the previous two, however it was the Gophers who jumped to the good start.

Leading by as many as six points, the Gophers attack seemed too much for the Spartans to handle.

But the Spartans chipped away at the Gopher lead, picking up two or three points with every service opportunity. A block from senior outside hitter Erin Hartley(11 kills) and junior middle blocker Angela Morley(nine total blocks) put the Spartans within two at 15-17.

The Gophers regrouped and stretched their lead to as many as five points after a service error by junior middle blocker Jenny Rood left the Spartans down 19-24.

The Spartans came back once again, trailing only by one after a Morley solo block forced Minnesota into a time-out.

Fresh out of the time-out, the Spartans tied the game after a spectacular dig from sophomore setter Nikki Colson(match-high 37 assists) on Minnesota middle blocker Stephanie Hagen’s attack attempt opened the gates for a Smith kill.

A Minnesota attack fell wide giving the Spartans took their first lead at 26-25 .

The Spartans held on to win game three 30-27, sweeping the match.

The Spartans host the Iowa Hawkeyes at 7 p.m. Saturday at Jenison Field House, while Minnesota travels to Ann Arbor to face the Michigan Wolverines.


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