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Minnesota Volleyball: Gophers Beat #13 Florida 3-1

Minnesota is now 3-1 on the season and 2-1 against ranked opponents

Bjorn Franke

The Minnesota Gophers volleyball team started the season off with a pair of wins in Texas, and then dropped a four set match at the #1 team in the nation the Texas Longhorns last Wednesday. They Gophers came back to open up the home portion of their season at The Pav on Sunday afternoon against another ranked opponent, the #13 ranked Florida Gators. Minnesota dropped a four set match to the gators a year ago in Gainesville, but would flip the script on Sunday.

The first set was a back and forth affair. Minnesota took an early 7-2 lead before Florida came back to tie it at 7. Minnesota took a 14-12 lead before three straight points game the Gators their first lead of the set. Minnesota finally took control with a pair of CC McGraw aces, and closed out the set on an Ellie Husemann kill to take a 25-23 victory in set #1.

Florida came storming back in Set #2. They would go on a 12-1 run to take a 15-5 lead at one point. Minnesota came back and would cut the Florida lead to just four points at one point on the shoulders of Nya Gros’s first two kills as a Gopher uniform, but it wouldn’t b enough as Florida easily took the second set 25-17.

The third set was similar to the first. Neither team really had full control and it was tied 15-all at one point. Finally Minnesota seized their opportunity and ran off a 5-1 run on the backs of kills from Landfair and Wenaas and aces from Landfair and McGraw to take a 20-16 lead. Florida would climb back to within two, but a Landfair kill ended the set with the Gophers on top 25-22.

Set four saw Florida jump out to an early lead and try to do to the Gophers what they did in the second set, but Minnesota would not let them have it this time. A 5-1 Florida lead was quickly erased and the match evened up at 10-10. Minnesota controlled the play next as they could finish off the match on a 15-5 run to get the 25-15 win and the 3-1 match win.

Landfair led the Gophers with 14 kills. Jenna Wenaas added 11 of her own, and the middle blocker tandem of Husemann and Gros added 5 each. Gris the Michigan State transfer played her first match for the Gophers coming off of the bench in the 2nd set after freshman Carter Booth struggled. She added four blocks to her 5 kills along with four more from Husemann. McGraw led the Gophers with 13 digs, a season high.

Minnesota now moves to 6-2 all-time against Florida. They also got a bump in the newest AVCA Coaches poll and will be ranked #3 headed into the weekend where they will host the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge and another pair of ranked opponents. The Gophers will open up Friday night against #18 Oregon and will face #11 Stanford on Saturday. Fellow Big Ten foe #20 Penn State will play opposite Minnesota against the Pac-12 schools on Friday and Saturday. All four matches will be played at The Pav with Friday night’s match against Oregon broadcast live on BTN, and Saturday’s math streamed on BTN+.