Harms handles pressure in Gophers' tight volleyball finish

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT RBLOUNT@STARTRIBUNE.COM
  • Updated: December 1, 2012 - 1:20 PM

Her ace settled a tense third set and advanced the Gophers.

view larger photos

  

With all that was swirling around her, Katherine Harms knew she needed to stay calm. The Gophers were locked in a lengthy third set against Liberty in Friday's NCAA volleyball tournament opener, in the midst of a crowd of 2,181 standing and screaming in the Sports Pavilion, trying to earn a sweep against an opponent that refused to go quietly.

Harms shut all that out and ended the match with her third ace of the evening, sealing a 25-21, 25-10, 34-32 victory. After steamrolling Liberty in the second set, the 11th-ranked Gophers were bedeviled by errors -- and by the resilient Lady Flames -- in the third. Liberty (25-8) fought off five match points before Harms, a senior opposite hitter, found the corner with her final serve.

Harms led the Gophers with 12 kills but committed six errors in the tense third set, which featured 17 ties and eight lead changes.

The Gophers (25-7) will play Creighton in the second round Saturday. Creighton swept Marquette in Friday's first match, 25-22, 25-23, 28-26. The 21st-ranked Bluejays (29-3) won after fighting off three set points in the third set. Leah McNary ended the match with the last of her 14 kills.

"It was back and forth, but we all kept our heads and remained calm,'' said Harms, the Gophers' leader in kills and points this season. "Having everyone do their job made it easy for everyone to stay focused and get those points at the end. Everyone on the team gave as much energy as they could the whole time.''

Liberty kept its wits, too, rallying from a 6-1 deficit early in the third set. The Lady Flames, who entered the tournament on a 10-match win streak, took advantage of Harms' misfires to score four consecutive points and pull into a 13-13 tie. They took their first lead of the set on Ashley Wittman's attack error and went ahead 20-17 on consecutive kills by Lillie Happel and Jade Craycraft.

Harms' attack error gave Liberty the first of its four set points. A ballhandling error and a serve into the net spoiled two of those, and the others were lost to a pair of kills by the Gophers' Tori Dixon.

Despite the shifting emotions of the set, the Lady Flames -- making their fourth NCAA tournament appearance in the past six years -- came away exhilarated.

"It was tense, but at the same time, we were having a blast,'' redshirt freshman Caroline Douglas said. "That was the most fun volleyball game I've ever been in."

The fun will go on for the Gophers, who have won five in a row after a late-season stumble in which they lost consecutive matches for the only time this season. After a 3-1 loss at Michigan State and a 3-0 defeat at Michigan, they held a team meeting.

Coach Hugh McCutcheon said they discussed how to be good teammates, the kind who help each other succeed. With that in mind, the Gophers beat ninth-ranked Nebraska and swept their final three regular-season opponents.

Harms had six kills in the first set Friday, as the Gophers found their rhythm and overcame an early deficit. They dominated the second set.

Then came the test of wills in the third. On the Gophers' sixth match point, Harms said she just wanted to stick to her routine and strike the ball well, but she did much more. "I got that corner, which is always nice," she said. "That was kind of a fun way to end the match."

  • FIRST ROUND GOPHERS DEF. LIBERTY 25-21, 25-10, 34-32 • Second round: 6 p.m. today vs. Creighton

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - C. Frias 2:10 PM
Colorado - J. De La Rosa
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 2:40 PM
Arizona - A. Chafin
Boston - C. Buchholz 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - F. Liriano
Toronto - J. Happ 6:05 PM
Baltimore - B. Norris
Washington - B. Treinen 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Wood
Miami - H. Alvarez 6:10 PM
NY Mets - D. Gee
NY Yankees - B. McCarthy 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - A. Cobb
Cincinnati - D. Corcino 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks
Chicago WSox - C. Sale 7:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Cleveland - C. Carrasco 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Oberholtzer
Detroit - D. Price 7:10 PM
Minnesota - K. Gibson
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 7:15 PM
St. Louis - A. Wainwright
Seattle - J. Paxton 9:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Wilson
Texas - D. Holland 9:05 PM
Oakland - J. Samardzija
Philadelphia - C. Hamels 9:10 PM
San Diego - E. Stults
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close