The Gophers volleyball team opened their Big Ten season on Friday with a dominant performance against Indiana, ending the Hoosiers' win streak at seven, beating them in straight sets 25-11, 25-10 and 25-11.
The Gophers had it going early. Outside hitter Adanna Rollins got a kill early in the first that jump started a Gophers 4-0 run. Later on in the set, a kill by outside hitter Alexis Hart gave Minnesota a 14-7 lead and forced an Indiana timeout. Indiana was unable to turn the match around out of the timeout. The Gophers held them to a .000 hit percentage in the first set.
"I think it was a great start and really a very strong performance by our team tonight. Some of the best volleyball we've played all year, so timely," head coach Hugh McCutcheon said.
The Gophers continued to outplay Indiana in the second. Rollins had back-to-back kills early in the set that gave Minnesota a 5-2 lead. Then it was opposite hitter Stephanie Samedy's turn. Samedy got back-to-back kills of her own that extended the Gophers lead, 7-2. The back-to-backs didn't end there. Later in the set, middle blocker Regan Pittman kept the tradition going with consecutive aces, extending Minnesota's lead to 15-5. Hart followed the Pittman's aces with a kill. She finished the match with 10 kills, second on the team to Rollins' 11.
"I think Kylie's [Miller] doing a really good job at getting 1 on 1's which makes it really easy," Hart said.
The third set was reminiscent of the first two. Hart opened the set with a kill, and it wasn't long before Minnesota sprung out to a 4-0 lead. They controlled the third the entire way, until Pittman closed out the set and the match with a kill. Everything was working for Minnesota on both sides of the floor, they held Indiana to a .011 hit percentage in the match. The Gophers hit percentage, .444.
"It felt like we were trying to control as many of the things we could that we could. I thought the athletes did a nice job. I thought defensively we were making good reads and good adjustments," McCutcheon said.
Coming into the match against the Gophers, Indiana was 11-2 and on a seven game win streak.
"Make no mistake about it, Indiana's a handy team. Perhaps they weren't their best tonight, but it was way more, at least from our perspective, about the things we were doing, the layers that we were adding, than whatever was or wasn't happening on their side of the net," McCutcheon said.
The Gophers will be back in action on Saturday. They take on No. 15 Purdue, who will be looking to recover from their loss Friday to No. 13 Wisconsin.