Gopher Volleyball Sweeps NoDak in NCAA Opener

December 01, 2017 10:30 PM

The No. 7 seed University of Minnesota volleyball team defeated North Dakota in straight sets (25-20, 25-15, 25-21) to advance to the second round in the NCAA tournament. The Gophers improve to 27-5 overall.

The Gophers were led by Brittany McLean who set a career high 13 kills while hitting .355. Alexis Hart followed with 10 kills and hit .304 and Stephanie Samedy had nine. Molly Lohman tied her career high of three aces and Regan Pittman led the team with four blocks. Samantha Seliger-Swenson posted a double-double with a team-high 20 digs and 30 assists while Dalianliz Rosado had 15 digs and a career high 11 assists. As a team, the Gophers hit .260 to North Dakota's .140 and had 48 kills.

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The Gophers are back in action tomorrow night as they take on Northern Iowa at 8 pm. The match will be televised on the Big Ten Network. Tickets are still available for purchase.

Set breakdown: 

Set 1: The Gophers earned a 25-20 win in the first set, paced by five kills from Samedy. Minnesota took a 14-11 lead off a kill from McLean. North Dakota cut Minnesota's lead to 15-14 off an ace. The Gophers built a 19-16 off a North Dakota attack error as UND called its first timeout. The Fighting Hawks burned their second timeout of the set Samedy kill and a 21-17 lead. After back-to-back aces by Lohman and a Samedy kill, Minnesota was at set point. After UND added back-to-back points, Minnesota finished off the set with a kill and a 1-0 lead.

Set 2: The Gophers hit .344 in the second set and limited UND to hit just .033 to take the second set, 25-15. Minnesota jumped out to a 6-2 lead off a McLean kill. Hart later pushed the Gophers to an 11-7 lead off a kill as North Dakota called a timeout. Lohman added a kill off a quick set for a 15-10 lead, while a Samedy/Pittman added a block at 17-10 as North Dakota called its second timeout. Minnesota later took a 20-11 lead off a North Dakota attack error, while a McLean kill pushed the score to 22-13. The Gophers had back-to-back kills by Lohman to take a 2-0 lead.

Set 3: North Dakota took an early 8-4 lead as Minnesota called a timeout. The Gophers responded out of the timeout and later tied the set at 10-10 off a North Dakota ball handling error. The Fighting Hawks called a timeout after a Lauren Barnes ace and a 16-14 Gophers lead. As UND cut the Gopher lead to one, Lohman delivered a kill for a 19-17 lead. North Dakota called a timeout as the Gophers lead, 20-18. McLean held her 13th kill of the night for match point, while Pittman gave the Gophers the win after her seventh kill of the night.

Post Match Quotes

Hugh McCutcheon, Minnesota Head Coach
“Very happy to be advancing in the tournament. I thought there were some good things from us tonight. Certainly, we knew that North Dakota were good and were going to play hard. We get to see them a lot especially at this time of the year. I thought in particular we were serving at a nice level. We got some good side out rhythm but just defensively we made some good adjustments. Good to win and keep moving on.”

On Brittany McLean’s additional playing time...
“She’s earned it (playing time). Every practice we keep track of performance and our gym is a meritocracy and girls who are playing at the level to get the job get to earn it. That doesn’t mean that people have short hooks or anything. It just means that, Brittany over time, over the last six weeks is playing really good volleyball. She came in last weekend and did a really nice job. We felt very comfortable setting her tonight, no question.”

On what McLean brings to the lineup…
“As you can see tonight, just from her line she’s very steady offensively. She hits it in a lot and works the ball with extreme range and is good on first contact. She also does a nice job blocking up there. It’s really nice, for me personally, after spending a couple years with her to see her grow and evolve and take on this job and have such a nice performance tonight.”

On start of match and possible nerves…
“I think we were just working through it. Both teams at the beginning of matches are trying to get a feel for what they’re trying to do to us and what we’re trying to do to them. We were just trying to figure out what our plan should be and make adjustments accordingly. From my end, at no point did we feel like we were out of control or something was going wrong. Just a couple of two good teams going at it.”

No. 19 Alexis Hart
On a young team keeping composure…
“We were really energetic. We had a lot of connection with each other. As the game progressed we took a breath and slowed the game down.”

On straight set victory…
“It’s always nice. Every team we play is going to battle against us. It’s nice to get that win.”

No. 13 Molly Lohman
On calming nerves of a young team…
“We frame it going point to point each match. The power in the breath and talking to the younger the girls. This game is no different than any other and each point is worth the same. We frame it in that way, giving them support, and remind them to take a breath.”
 

Credits

Chris Long

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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