Looking to rebound from the loss to Penn State, Minnesota (13-2, 5-1) dispatched Northwestern (7-11, 0-6) in three sets. Minnesota’s talent and depth were too much for the Wildcats. Northwestern’s best player struggled as Minnesota defended well.
Minnesota never trailed in the first set as Samantha Seliger-Swenson started the match off with back-to-back aces. Northwestern tied the score at three and four and then the Gophers got rolling. A Hannah Tapp kill started a five point run which featured a block from Alexis Hart and Molly Lohman and a Lohman kill. With a comfortable five point lead, 15-10, the Gophers again went on a run, 6-2, to push the lead to nine. Over the stretch Hannah Tapp, Lohman, and Sarah Wilhite dominated at the net. Minnesota went on to win 25-17.
The teams traded the lead in early going of the second set giving Northwestern the advantage. The Wildcats made nice plays to extend points, a 3-0 run capped off by two aggressive kills from setter Taylor Tashima put the Cats up 9-6. Then Hannah Tapp took over. Hannah had four kills, one solo block, and three block assists as the Gophers retook the lead, 14-10. Hannah Tapp eventually rotated out and Northwestern answered with a 7-2 run to take a narrow, 17-16 lead. The teams traded points til the Gophers broke it open with a 5-0 run to go up 23-18. Northwestern cut the margin to three before Minnesota closed it out 25-21.
After Minnesota got the initial lead, Northwestern tied the Gophers at four. Minnesota went on a quick 3-0 run, the first of many, mini runs, to go up 7-4. Later Sarah Wilhite put down a kill and served an ace as part of a 3-0 run to give Minnesota a five point advantage, 13-8. After Northwestern cut the lead to two Minnesota strung together four points to stretch their lead to six, 17-11. The Gophers ended the set on a 5-0 run to win 25-17. Wilhite contributed a kill and ace during run and Taylor Morgan added two kills in her first action of the match.
Sarah Wilhite led Minnesota with 14 kills, .314 hitting, nine digs and three aces. Hannah Tapp put down 13 kills as a part of a .417 effort to go with 3.5 blocks. Molly Lohman contributed seven kills, hitting .462, and tallying 2.5 blocks. Samantha Seliger-Swenson posted a double-double with 36 assists and 11 digs; she also served three aces. Dalianliz Rosado added 11 digs as well. Minnesota had nine blocks and hit .322 as a team.
The Gophers kept Symone Abbott in check for Northwestern. Abbot posted nine kills, which is below her average output of 4 kills per set, while hitting .048. Rafae Strobos led the Wildcat defense with 10 digs. Northwestern had three blocks and hit .172.
Minnesota will be back in action Wednesday night in Madison. Tune in to BTN at 8:00 CT to watch the Gophers take on the Badgers in a match-up of top 5 teams.