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Gopher Volleyball Splits Matches on the Road

The Gophers suffered a three-set loss in Lincoln but picked a up win in Iowa as they stay at .500 (2-2) in conference play.

After being upset by Michigan State, the No. 3 Gophers (13-2) were looking for their own road win against a ranked team, No. 8 Nebraska. Sadly they were on the losing end of a decisive three-set match. Minnesota was able to right the ship against the Hawkeyes, though, picking up the win.

Nebraska seemed to have it all figured out while the Gophers were reeling just trying to stay afloat Friday night. Minnesota fought hard in the first set, coming up short, but injuries and lineup changes threw off the Gophers as they fell in the second and third sets.

A 7-1, Husker run in the first half of the set doomed Minnesota as they were forced to play catch-up the rest of the set. Down, 18-12 the Gophers were able to make a run and draw within one. The Huskers answered, later stretching their lead back to three, but Minnesota made one last push. A kill from Stephanie Samedy and Molly Lohman service ace put the Gophers within one, 22-21. Nebraska, though, was able to finish off the set with two kills and a Minnesota hitting error, 25-21.

Minnesota was close early with the Huskers in the second set then Dalianliz Rosado appeared to roll her ankle, limiting her mobility for the rest of the set, disrupting Minnesota’s passing and defense. Minnesota was down 13-11 when Nebraska went on a 8-2 run. The Gophers struggled to side-out and the Huskers were able to grind and win some long rallies; Nebraska won the set 25-18.

Coming out for the third set Alyssa Goehner was wearing the libero jersey and Rosado took Goehner’s spot in the lineup. The new lineup caused issues for Minnesota as they were passing in unfamiliar spots next different teammates than usual and in different defensive positions. Nebraska on the other side of the net was rolling early, Mikaela Foecke scored their first five points then the Huskers went on a run. Up 5-4, Nebraska scored nine of the next ten points, including a couple aces, two blocks, and some Gophers errors. Minnesota was never able to recover, losing 25-13.

Alexis Hart led the Gophers with 13 kills, hitting .294. Samantha Seliger-Swenson put up 26 assists to go with a team leading 11 digs. Molly Lohman posted 4 blocks. Minnesota only hit .183 compared to Nebraska’s .301 effort; both teams had seven blocks. The Huskers got a complete effort from everyone. Four hitters had double digit kills, both middles hit .500, three players had double digit digs, and five players served an ace.

The Gophers were able to get back on track against Iowa. Jasmyn Martin who moved back into the lineup against Nebraska and provided a big spark for the Gophers against the Hawkeyes.

The lead changed hands multiple times in the first set as neither team led by more than two the whole set. Minnesota was fortunate to be the beneficiary of the last lead change. Down 17-16, the Gophers got kills from Hart and Lohman to go in front by one. Iowa would tie the score two times. The second time Hart and Samedy got kills to preserve the lead, 21-19. Iowa and Minnesota traded points til the finish, 25-23.

Mini runs were the difference for Minnesota in the second set. The freshman came up big during the first run. Down 12-10, Samedy, Martin, and Pittman all put away a kill and Pittman combined with Seliger-Swenson on a block to swing the two point lead Minnesota’s way. Iowa stayed close til late. Up one, 20-19, the Gophers got a kill from Martin to prevent the tie then a Pittman kill provided a little insurance for Minnesota. An Iowa hitting error put the Gophers up four, 23-19; Minnesota went on to win 25-22. The Gophers hit .410 during the set.

Iowa struggled to keep pace with Minnesota in the final set as the Gophers won 25-19. Iowa held the lead for most of the first half of the set. Down 13-11, Minnesota went on a run, 7-2. The Gophers benefited from a couple Hawkeye hitting errors and Martin put away two kills to help the Gophers. Iowa could only get as close as two the rest of the way as a late 5-1 run pushed Minnesota to match point, 24-18.

Stephanie Samedy led the Gophers with a double-double 13 kills and 11 digs to go with three blocks while hitting .345. Jasmyn Martin also tallied 13 kills. Alexis Hart also had double figure kills, 12, hitting .304. Middles, Lohman and Pittman bot hit over .400, .583 and .438 respectively, Lohman had nine kills and three blocks. Seliger-Swenson dished out 48 assists. Rosado had 10 digs on the night. Minnesota hit .333 as a team besting Iowa’s .248 effort. The Hawkeyes did however out-block the Gophers nine to five.