MINNEAPOLIS — The No. 9 Minnesota Golden Gophers volleyball team defeated the Michigan State Spartans in three sets, 25-20, 25-14, 25-11 on Wednesday night at Maturi Pavilion.
With the win, the Gophers take home their seventh win in the past eight games.
“I think we made some nice adjustments over the course of the game,” said head coach Hugh McCutcheon. “We served very well and that allowed us to set up our defensive block and move on from there. We’re going to debrief, learn tonight’s lessons and move on to the next one.”
Taylor Landfair led Minnesota with 13 kills, while Carter Booth went for eight kills and five blocks. CC McGraw led the backcourt with 15 counts.
As a team, Minnesota (13-6, 8-3 Big Ten) batted .326 with 39 kills, 10 team blocks, 39 digs and eight aces. Michigan State (10-12, 1-10 Big Ten) hit .053 with 27 kills, five team blocks, 35 digs and two aces.
Aliyah Moore led Michigan State with eight kills.
Set Breakdown: Set 1: Michigan State took an early 3-1 lead before kills from Jenna Wenaas and Carter Booth made it 3-3. Neither team had more than a one-point advantage until MSU took an 11-9 lead by a few blocks. The Gophers would cut it to one at 13-12 and 14-13 after another kill from Wenaas and an MSU service foul, but the Spartans answered with a kill to rise 15-13 en route to the media break. Minnesota would put it at 15 after a kill from Naya Gros and a block from Mckenna Wucherer. The Gophers took their first lead in the set since 7-6 when they came out 17-16 on a kill from Carter Booth. MSU tied the score at 17, 18 and 19 before a kill from Taylor Landfair and a block from Gros and Melani Shaffmaster gave the ‘U’ a 21-19 lead, forcing a timeout for the visitors. Two more offensive errors by MSU brought Minnesota to four at 23-19, resulting in another timeout for the Spartans. Kills from Gros and Landfair gave Minnesota a 25-20 set-one victory. Landfair led the team with five kills, while Booth and Wenaas had three each. The Gophers hit .364 compared to .194 for the Spartans.
Set 2: Wenaas and Wucherer started the ‘U’ with kills in set two as the teams split the first four points. The Spartans then warmed up early in the set, scoring five of the next six to gain a match-high four-point advantage at 7-3. Minnesota would fight back quickly, scoring three in a row, getting two kills from Landfair to climb back within one at 7-6, forcing an MSU timeout. Another kill by Landfair and one by Wucherer coupled with an MSU offense foul put Minnesota at 10-8, forcing the Spartans to take No. 2 timeout of the set. The ‘U’ didn’t slow down after the break and got an ace from Landfair and a block from Gross and Shaffmaster to make a 10-1 run and take a commanding five point lead. The advantage would grow to nine at 18-9 after another Gophers block party and consecutive aces from CC McGraw. The Spartans wouldn’t get closer than eight the rest of the way, as Minnesota scored seven of the last 11 points to win, 25-14. After trailing early 7-3, the Gophers went on a 22-7 run to end the set. Minnesota hit .292 in set two compared to .000 for MSU. Landfair had five kills, while Wenaas and Wucherer had two each. McGraw had two aces while Shaffmaster added two blocks.
Set 3: The Gophers scored four of the first five to take an early 4-1 lead, getting an ace from Shaffmaster and kills from Arica Davis, Landfair and Wenaas. However, MSU would answer back by scoring four goals in a row to take a 5-4 lead. A Landfair kill and an ace from Elise McGhie set the ‘U’ right again, 6-5. After MSU answered to tie it at 7-7, kills from Booth and Wucherer and an ace from Landfair gave the ‘U’ a 10-7 lead, forcing a timeout for the visitors. The Gophers continued their 7-0 run after the timeout, taking kills from Booth and Landfair coupled with two MSU offense errors that rose to 14-7, calling the Spartans their final timeout. Minnesota kept their hot game going and increased the lead to 11 at 20-9 before MSU answered with a point. Wucherer had a kill and a block and Arica Davis had a kill and a block in the sprint. The Gophers would win the set, 25-11. Julia Hanson closed the game with a kill, her first of the evening.
UP NEXT: Minnesota (13-6, 8-3 Big Ten) takes on No. 5 Wisconsin (15-3, 7-3 Big Ten) on the road Saturday night at 5:30 PM.
Noteworthy: -Minnesota is now 60-19 all-time against the state of Michigan. They have won eight in a row and nine of the last 10 in the series. The Gophers are 14-3 vs. MSU under Hugh. -CC McGraw (15) completed her 95th career 10+ digs. She is now down to 1,768 for her career, just 102 behind Dalianliz Rosado for the #3 spot in Minnesota Laurels. -Taylor Landfair (13) has hit double digits for the 19th time and 37 times in her career this season. She is one of only two players in the country to score double figures in every match. -Carter Booth returned after the last two games due to illness and posted eight kills and five blocks. -The Gophers posted 10 blocks on Wednesday night, the 12th time in 19 games they’ve had 10+. Minnesota is currently number 7 nationwide with 2.82 blocks per set. -Minnesota batted .326 for the night, the ninth time in 19 games, hitting over .300. -The Gophers placed eight aces tonight, one of their highest season of nine (August 27 on TCU).