The No. 6-ranked Gophers volleyball team defeated No. 17 Illinois 25-18, 29-27, 12-25, 25-23 on Wednesday night in Champaign, Ill. It was the 10th consecutive victory for Minnesota (11-2, 5-0 Big Ten).
The Gophers’ top three hitters all reached double figures in kills. Alexis Hart had 14 kills, Adanna Rollins 12 and Stephanie Samedy 10. Samedy also had 14 digs and Rollins 11. Two other players — setter Bayley McMenimen and libero CC McGraw — tied for the team lead in digs with 15.
The Gophers hit .212 and the Illini .189. Minnesota also outblocked Illinois 16-7. But Illinois (8-6, 3-2), which has lost 10 of its past 12 matches against the Gophers, had a 61-50 lead in kills.
After losing a one-sided third set, Rollins, in a postmatch interview on the Big Ten Network, said the Gophers quickly looked ahead: “We are going to start over, and it’s a new set.”
The Illini (8-6, 3-2) had a 27-26 lead in the second set, but then made three bad plays in a row — a service error and two attack errors — enabling the Gophers to take a 2-0 lead.
But the third set was all Illinois, which outhit the Gophers .519 to .179 to win easily. The Illini had 16 kills and four aces. Minnesota had five errors, three on attack.
Illinois tied the fourth set at 23-all, but Minnesota got the final two points on a Rollins kill and, with Rollins serving, a block by Hart and Regan Pittman.
“When I realized it was really close, I was like, ‘I have to go all out,’ ” Rollins said. “I was aggressive on the last kill and the last serve.”
• Seimone Augustus and Napheesa Collier of the Lynx were added to the USA women’s national team roster that will play four strong NCAA teams next month: at Stanford, Nov. 2; at Oregon State, Nov. 4; at Texas A&M, Nov. 7, and at Oregon, Nov. 9.
• Junior Alec Basten of the Gophers was named the Big Ten cross-country runner of the week after finishing third at Lehigh’s Paul Short Run in 23 minutes, 26.7 seconds — a school record for an 8K race.
• The Gophers women’s swimming and diving team was ranked 18th in the country by the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America.
• Senior forwards Marc Michaelis and Nick Rivera were named captains for the Minnesota State Mankato men’s hockey team and senior defenseman Edwin Hookenson was named the alternate captain.