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Gophers Chop Down #1 Stanford

Minnesota bested the reigning National Champs in four sets.

NCAA Division 1 Women’s Volleyball Semifinals (NCAA Photos Archive) Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The Gophers played their best match of the young season as they took down No. 1 Stanford. Minnesota served tough without making a lot of errors and the Gopher block was relentless. Minnesota got the win 27-25, 27-25, 23-25, 25-20.

After finding themselves down 17-14, in set one, Minnesota turned it on. Eight Gopher kills and hitting error by Kathryn Plummer over 11 points put Minnesota in front 23-19. Three points later Minnesota got to set point, 24-21. Stanford scored three consecutive points to extend the set and later saved another set point at 25-24. The Gophers finally closed it out though with back-to-back kills from Stephanie Samedy and Regan Pittman.

Failure to close out sets has haunted Minnesota this season and it nearly happened in set one. In set two though, the Gophers fought and stole the set from the Cardinal. Stanford broke a 22-all tie with two kills from Plummer to get to set point. A Stanford service error gave Minnesota new life. Samedy followed it up with a kill and a block with Pittman to go up 25-24. Plummer then put one away for the Cardinal to deny one Gopher set point. Minnesota went back to what works as Samedy crushed one cross-court. Claire Sheehan who was subbed in for Adanna Rollins came up big finishing off the set with a kill, 27-25.

Set three was ugly as both teams hit below .050. The Gophers fought back from down 17-12 to tie set at 17. The teams alternated sideouts til the Gophers followed up a Cardinal hitting error with a kill from Samedy which put Minnesota in front 22-21. Minnesota’s lead was short-lived as the Gophers gave up a hitting error and an ace to give Stanford the lead. A Taylor Morgan kill re-tied the set at 23-all but Stanford got a kill of their own from Plummer and hitting error by Samedy gave the Cardinal the set, 25-23.

Minnesota scored first in set four and never surrendered the lead as they hit with authority, 19 kills on 40 attempts with only four errors, .375 hitting percentage. A quick 6-1 Minnesota lead forced Stanford to burn a timeout. Stanford later closed the margin to one, 14-13, after a handful of Gopher errors fueled some mini-Cardinal runs. Pittman led the Gopher response with two kills and a solo block as Minnesota went back in front by five, 18-13 which was the final margin, 25-20.

Stephanie Samedy racked up a double-double as she led all scorers with 21 kills and 11 digs to go with six blocks. Alexis Hart tallied 15 kills and eight digs. Pittman who had been off to a rough start this season put away 12 kills, hit .417 and had a match-high seven blocks. Kylie Miller finished with 50 assists and 17 digs for a double-double. CC McGraw finished with 20 digs. Adanna Rollins struggled offensively but was solid defensively pulling up 15 digs.

Reigning National Player of the Year, Kathryn Plummer had 20 kills on .200 hitting.

Minnesota outhit Stanford .247-.185 and outdid them in blocks by one, 13-12.

Minnesota is back home this weekend for the Diet Coke Classic. Thursday at 7:00 CT they face Clemson, and Saturday they’ll play Oral Roberts at 7:00 CT.