The 10th-ranked University of Minesota Golden Gopher volleyball team (31-5) advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championships with a 3-1 win by scores of 30-18, 28-30, 30-17 and 30-21 over New Hampshire (23-11) at the Sports Pavilion on Thursday evening. Minnesota will play No. 17 Georgia Tech, who defeated Florida A&M in the earlier game by scores of 30-21, 30-27 and 30-17 to advance to play the Golden Gophers in the second round on Friday, Dec 6 at 6:30 p.m.
In game one, Minnesota jumped out to a 9-3 lead enroute to a 30-18 win. The Golden Gophers dominated the entire game, tallying 18 kills to the Wildcats' 12, while hitting an impressive .500. Cassie Busse (Prior Lake, Minn.) paced the Gophers with five kills. Lisa Axel (Buffalo, Minn.) chipped in six digs.
New Hampshire battled back in game two to tie the match 1-1, winning 30-28. With the score tied at 19, the Wildcats went on a 9-3 run to hold a 28-22 advantage. The Gophers fought back scoring six of the next seven points, but could not hold off their opponent. Alyson Coler led New Hampshire with four kills for the game. By capturing the game the Wildcats took the first game by an America East team since the NCAA went to a 64-team format.
In game three, Minnesota prevailed with a convincing 30-17 win. The Gophers jumped out to a 6-0 lead and never looked back. Busse collected four kills, while Erin Martin (Ames, Iowa) and Trisha Bratford (Reseda, Calif.) each added three kills. Minnesota held New Hampshire to a .146 hitting percentage, and outblocked the Wildcats 3.0 to 0.
Minnesota took the match 3-1 by winning game four 30-21. The Gophers ended the game with an 11-4 scoring run to eliminate the Wildcats from the NCAA Tournament.
Minnesota boasted four players with double-figure kills. Busse hit .462 with 18 kills and no errors on 39 swings. She also had 14 digs to register her ninth double-double of the season. Jessica Byrnes (Minnetonka, Minn.) hit .500 with 13 kills on the night. Martin had 16 kills and Bratford finished with 12. Lindsey Vander Well (Prinsburg, Minn.) had 50 assists and 15 digs for the match.
The Gophers outhit New Hampshire .358 to .149 on the night. With the win Minnesota recorded its 31st of the season to break the school record for victories in the NCAA era. Head Coach Mike Hebert also moved to 6-0 in first round NCAA matches at Minnesota.
"Survive and advance," Head Coach Mike Hebert said. "Give credit to New Hampshire. They had a great attack and were very crafty. We had eight serving errors in game two, but that's due in part to our aggressive mentality. It was a solid win in the NCAA Tournament, and we look forward to Georgia Tech tomorrow."
The Wildcats were led by Coler with 15 kills and 11 digs. Anne Davis added 48 assists, along with eight digs for the match.
In the first match of the night Georgia Tech outhit Florida A&M to .304 to .108 to win the match in three games.
The Yellow Jackets were led by Lynette Moster who had 12 kills and six service aces. Alexandra Preiss and Jayme Gergen also had 11 and 10 kills respectively.
Florida A&M was led by Adriana Kostadinova who had 16 kills. Andreina Ruiz also had 10 kills for the Rattlerettes.