Alexis Hart Puts Down 28 Kills as #3 Minnesota Sneaks by (RV) Illinois

  0 Derek Johnson | October 26th, 2017 | Big Ten, College - Women's Indoor, News


  • #3 Minnesota def. (RV) Illinois 3-2 (22-25, 25-18, 25-18, 20-25, 15-11)
  • #3 Minnesota improves to 20-2 (9-2, Big Ten); (RV) Illinois drops to 16-6 (7-4, Big Ten)
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota (Big Ten Match)
  • Attendance: 4,499
  • Box Score

Minneapolis, Minnesota – #3 Minnesota held off (RV) Illinois in a back-and-forth match that saw the Fighting Illini strike a three-point lead in the fifth set. The final game comeback pushes the Golden Gophers win streak to eight though as they hit the 20-win plateau, while Illinois earns plenty of respect in a loss.

One of the biggest factors in the match was a strong Minnesota serve that was both accurate and deadly as they posted eight aces to just three serve errors. Illinois was solid with four aces to five errors, but didn’t have quite the effect and aggressiveness of Minnesota.

That serve helped defensively for Minnesota as well as they posted more digs (87-75) and held a better hitting percentage at .233 to .220. Illinois’ calling card was what they have done better than any Big Ten team this season – blocks, as they held a 17-6 advantage in team blocks.

From there, Alexis Hart took care of the offense for Minnesota and was a one-woman wrecking crew with 28 kills (more than a third of the team’s output) while hitting .303.

Minnesota did win the first three points of the match, but it was all Illinois for a stretch from there as they pulled ahead 21-12. The Golden Gophers went on their own run with 10 of 13, but by then it was too late as a Beth Prince (18 kills, .260) kill ended the opening game.

The second set was essentially a mirror of the first with Minnesota the team to garner the the early edge at 12-4. Illinois fought back to make it 22-18, but the Golden Gophers sprinted to the games conclusion with three consecutive points.

The third set was pretty straight forward as Minnesota took an early lead and held on without too much of an Illinois run as the result was the same as the second with the Golden Gophers coming out on top 25-18. That trend of early leads stretching to a set victory continued in the fourth as the Fighting Illini would force a fifth with a 25-20 win.

Illinois carried that momentum into the fifth, taking the first three points and four of five as they  looked to stun Minnesota on their home floor. However, three straight Golden Gophers’ points tied it at four before the two exchanged points to a 6-6 deadlock. A flurry of points from Minnesota gave them the lead at the switch and eventually a 9-6 edge on a 4-0 spurt. From there, things never got closer than a two-point deficit in the set as Minnesota would comeback to win the set 15-11.

Beyond Hart’s incredible 28 kill performance for Minnesota, Regan Pittman (13 kills, .281) and Samantha Seliger-Swenson (58 assists, 14 digs) had big performances. For Illinois, Prince’s big night was joined by Tyanna Omazic (10 kills, .320, nine blocks) and Ali Bastianelli (eight kills, eight blocks).

The week continues as Minnesota switches to the road but it comes after conference bottom-dweller Rutgers. The next match doesn’t get any easier for Illinois, as they do head home but it’s to face #1 Penn State on Saturday night.


Courtesy of Minnesota:

The No. 5 University of Minnesota earned a 3-2 win over Illinois, tonight at Maturi Pavilion. Minnesota fell in the first set, 22-25, won the next two, 25-18, 25-18, fell in the fourth, 20-25, and won the fifth, 15-11. With the win, the Golden Gophers improved to 20-2 overall and 9-2 in Big Ten play.

Minnesota hit .233 to Illinois’ .220. The Illini outblocked the Gophers 17-6, but Minnesota held an 87-75 dig advantage and led in kills, 71-61. It marked the third fifth-setter for the Gophers as they now hold a 3-0 record in five-set decisions.

Alexis Hart had a career-high 28 kills as she hit .303, added an assist, seven digs and three block assists. Regan Pittman had 13 kills, while Stephanie Samedy added 12 kills and 17 digs for her 12th double-double of the year. Samantha Seliger-Swenson had 58 assists and 14 digs for her 10th double-double of the year. Dalianliz Rosado tied a match-high 24 digs.

The Golden Gophers travel to Rutgers, Saturday, for a match at 6 p.m. CT.

Set Breakdown:
First Set: Despite a 10-4 run effort at the end of the set, Illinois took the first set, 25-22. Minnesota took two timeouts, trailing at 10-14 and 11-17. As the Gophers were behind 12-21, Minnesota attempted the comeback. A Sydney Kleinman kill put the score at 15-21, which forced Illinois to call a timeout. A Taylor Morgan kill cut the Illini lead to 17-22, while Kleinman added another kill at 19-23. After a block by Hart and Pittman at 20-24, the Gophers added a Hart kill and a block by Seliger-Swenson and Lohman to bring the set to 22-24. However, Illinois finished off the set with a kill and a 1-0 lead.

Second Set: Minnesota evened the match with a 25-18 second set win. Minnesota opened the set with a 7-3 lead and maintained the lead throughout the set. Illinois called a timeout as the Gophers led, 10-4 off a Lohman ace. A Samedy kill later pushed the Gopher lead to 13-6. A kill by Alexis Hart later gave the Gophers a 17-13 lead. As the Illini came within two at 17-15, Minnesota called a timeout. However, the Gophers responded and went on a 5-1 run and a 22-16 lead, which caused Illinois to call a timeout. The Gophers finished off the set with a Barnes ace for set point and an Illinois attack error to even the match, 1-1.

Third Set: The Gophers utilized a .462 hitting clip and four aces to take the third set, 25-18. Samedy provided back-to-back aces and a 6-3 lead. Another ace by Rosado at 10-5 forced Illinois to call a timeout. Seliger-Swenson followed with an ace of her own for a 13-6 lead. Jasmyn Martin added a kill for a 17-11 lead. A Hart kill pushed the score to 21-15, while another Hart kill added a 22-16 lead. A Martin kill pushed the Gophers to set point, while Samedy added a kill for a 2-1 lead.

Fourth Set: The Illini battled back and took the fourth set, 25-20. Illinois took a 10-7 lead, which forced Minnesota to call a timeout. The Illini took a 16-10 lead, which caused Minnesota to call its second timeout of the set. Martin provided a kill to come within four at 14-18, and a Samedy ace cut the Illinois lead to three at 17-20. The ace caused Illinois to call a timeout. The Illini, however, finished off the set with block to take the set and tie the set.

Fifth Set: The Gophers erased an early 4-1 deficit to come back and win, 15-11. Minnesota battled back and tied the set at 5-5 with a block from Samedy and Pittman. Minnesota took a 9-6 lead off a Illinois attack error. The Illini called their second timeout when Taylor Morgan and Lohman combined for a block at 11-7. Minnesota closed out the match with a kill from Martin at set point, while an Illinois attack error gave the Gophers the win.

Courtesy of Illinois:

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The Illinois volleyball team gave No. 5 Minnesota all it could handle, before falling in a five-set (25-22, 25-18, 25-18, 25-20, 11-15) heartbreaker on Wednesday (October 25) night in Maturi Pavilion.

The Illini (16-6, 7-4) were paced by redshirt-freshman Beth Prince with a team-high 18 kills, with sophomore Jacqueline Quade posting her second double-double of the season with 13 kills and 12 digs. Freshman Tyanna Omazic had a career night with a career-high 10 kills and equaled a career-high with nine blocks.

Junior Jordyn Poulter notched her seventh double-double of the season and 17th of her carer with 49 assists and 12 digs, while freshman Morgan O’Brien registered a career-high 245 digs. Sophomore Annika Gereau joined the duo in double figure digs with 10 on the night.

As a team, the Illini outblocked the Gophers (20-2, 9-2), 17 to six, with junior Ali Bastianelli and freshman Megan Cooney each posting six in the match.

The Gophers jumped out to an early 3-1 advantage, but the Illini used a 6-1 run to build a 7-4 edge following back-to-back Minnesota errors. A service ace from Gereau made it 14-10, before four-straight points pushed the Illini lead to 21-12, capped by an ace from sophomore Caroline Welsh. The Gophers answered back to close within 24-22 with a 10-3 run, including fighting off three set points, but Prince ended the UM rally with a kill off the block to convert the fourth Illini set point for the 25-22 set one win.

The Gophers came out firing in the second set en route to a 12-4 lead, but the Illini rallied with an 8-2 run to close within 14-11 on an Omazic block. The Illini continued to stay close and cut the lead to two at 17-15 following back-to-back Quade points, but again the Gophers responded with an 8-3 run to finish off the 25-18 set win and knot things at 1-1.

After an Omazic kill tied the score at 3-3 to start the third, the Gophers grabbed control of the set with a 10-3 run to take a 13-6 edge. Trailing at 20-12, the Illini continued to fight and put together three-straight points to close within 20-15 on a block from Poulter and Bastianelli. Back-to-back Prince kills made it 23-18, before the Gophers took a 2-1 lead in the match with a pair of kills for the 25-18 set victory.

The Illini held a two-point edge throughout the first several points before building an 11-7 advantage following back-to-back Omazic blocks. Four-straight points capped by a kill from Cooney pushed the Illini lead to 16-10, before a Quade and Bastianelli block put the visitors up 18-13. The Gophers responded to close within 20-17 on three-straight points, but Illini came back to take the next two points to stall the UM rally, before taking the fourth, 25-20 on back-to-back Gopher hitting errors and forcing a decisive fifth set.

The Illini raced out of the gates in the fifth by scoring the first three points – including a Gereau ace – and held an early 4-1 lead. The Gophers then rallied with an 8-2 run to grab a 9-6 advantage. A Prince kill closed the gap to 12-9, but the Gophers answered by taking the next two of three points to set up match point at 14-10. The Illini would fight off one match point, before a hitting error gave Minnesota the set and the match.

The Illini return to Huff Hall this weekend following a three-match road swing to host No. 1 Penn State on Saturday (October 28) at 7 p.m. CT.

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