Gophers Fall to Longhorns in NCAA Semis
Omaha, NE (Gophersports.com) - The University of Minnesota volleyball team fell to Texas in four sets, 24-26, 25-27, 25-23, 21-25, in the NCAA National Semifinal on Thursday night. The loss ends a six-game winning streak, with the Gophers ending the season at 30-5. This was Minnesota's 20th NCAA Tournament appearance, and its fourth Final Four. The last time the Gophers faced Texas was in the National Semifinal in 2009, with Minnesota falling in three sets.
Minnesota out blocked the Longhorns 11-8, but Texas out hit the Gophers .296 to .271. Daly Santana led the team with 21 kills and 10 digs. Hannah Tapp followed with 18 kills and eight blocks, and Paige Tapp established 13 kills and three blocks. Sarah Wilhite had seven kills and five digs, and Molly Lohman had six kills and a match-high nine blocks. Katie Schau contributed 13 digs, and Alyssa Goehner established four. Samantha Seliger-Swenson contributed 61 assists and nine digs, and Dalianliz Rosado established 20 digs.
Set 1: The Texas Longhorns out hit Minnesota .250 to .222 to take the first set 26-24, and go up 1-0 on the match. There were 11 tied scores in the first set. Minnesota earned the first point of the match off a Texas error, and H Tapp had the first kill for the Gophers. It was an even matchup in the beginning, but Minnesota pulled ahead for an early 6-3 lead from a 3-0 run on Wilhite's serve rotation. Texas would cut the lead short, tying it up at 8-8. The Longhorns took over the lead at 11-10 on an ace. A Wilhite kill evened up the score again at 12, and an H Tapp solo block would tie it again at 15. A three-point Longhorn lead forced the first Minnesota timeout of the set at 19-16. Another three-point deficit led to a second Gopher timeout at 22-19. After the timeout, Minnesota responded with back-to-back kills from Wilhite and Santana, forcing a Texas timeout at 22-21. Santana would tie it up at 22, 23, and again at 24, but a Longhorn ace would end the set.
Set 2: Texas out hit Minnesota .375 to .304 to take the second set 27-25 and take a 2-0 lead on the match. There were 17 tied scores and four lead changes in set two. The second set would start with early ties, with Minnesota taking the biggest lead of the set at 8-6. Texas tied the set up at 10, and a 2-0 Longhorn run forced the first Minnesota timeout of the set at 12-11. Points would go back and forth between teams until a 2-0 run by Minnesota tied up the set at 16. The Gophers would pull ahead for the lead off a P Tapp kill, forcing the Longhorn's first timeout of the set at 19-18. Texas tied it up at 20, and took back the lead forcing a second Minnesota timeout at 21-20. A P Tapp kill tied the set once again at 21, with a Santana kill to tie it at 23. H Tapp would tie it up late in the set at 24 and again at 25, but Texas went on a 2-0 run to end the set.
Set 3: Minnesota out hit the Longhorns .297 to .222 to take its first set 25-23. The Gophers had six team blocks in third set to Texas' one, with Lohman contributing six and H Tapp contributing five. Texas opened the third set on a 2-0 run, and Minnesota responded with its own 2-0 run. A Lohman kill tied it up early at 4-4. A P Tapp kill tied it up again at 6-6, with Minnesota taking its first lead of the set at 8-7 on another P Tapp kill. A 3-0 Gopher run would force the first Longhorn timeout at 9-7. Texas tied it up at 9-9, and went on a 3-0 run to force the first Minnesota timeout at 11-9. Texas took the largest lead of the set at 13-10 and held the lead until Minnesota tied it up at 20, forcing a second Longhorn timeout. Following the timeout, Minnesota went on a 3-0 run on Seliger-Swenson's serve rotation for its biggest lead of the match at 23-20. Texas would cut the lead to one, forcing a second Minnesota timeout at 23-22. An H Tapp kill would end the third set.
Set 4: Texas out hit the Gophers .333 to .263 to take the fourth set 25-21, and match. There were nine tied scores in the final set. Texas went on an early 3-0 run to force a Gopher timeout at 4-1. Minnesota responded with an H Tapp kill after the timeout. The Longhorns took an early four-point lead at 6-2, but Minnesota went on a 4-0 run on Wilhite's serve rotation to force the first Texas timeout at 7-7. A Lohman and H Tapp tied the set up at 10, and a back row kill from Santana evened the set at 12. Minnesota took its first lead at 15-14, but Texas took back the lead off a block. A 4-0 Longhorn run forced the second Gopher timeout at 18-15. Following the timeout, Minnesota went on a 2-0 run to cut short the Texas lead to one. The Longhorns would then go on a 5-0 run. Minnesota followed with a 2-0 run, but a Texas kill would end the set.