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.

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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

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Buffalo 17 3rd Qtr
New England 6
Cleveland 3 3rd Qtr
Baltimore 3
Dallas 27 2nd Qtr 0:51
Washington 10
Indianapolis 17 2nd Qtr 1:55
Tennessee 7
Jacksonville 10 2nd Qtr 1:23
Houston 14
San Diego 7 2nd Qtr 0:33
Kansas City 16
NY Jets 14 2nd Qtr 0:38
Miami 17
Chicago 3 3rd Qtr
Minnesota 3
Philadelphia 14 2nd Qtr 2:06
NY Giants 13
New Orleans 7 2nd Qtr 0:06
Tampa Bay 20
Carolina 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/4/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/4/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Detroit 3:30 PM
Cleveland
Houston 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Oklahoma City 6:30 PM
Dallas
New York 8:00 PM
Portland
Toronto 8:00 PM
Denver
Phoenix 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
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Florida
Vancouver 7:00 PM
Anaheim
Tulane 57 FINAL
St Johns 82
Central Conn St 25 2nd Half 15:41
Connecticut 54
Iona 56 2nd Half 11:38
Drexel 45
Concordia (MI) 28 2nd Half 11:10
Eastern Mich 67
Harvard 14 1st Half 9:10
Arizona State 14
Longwood 8 1st Half 11:45
Ball State 11
Sacred Heart 12 1st Half 11:32
Brown 19
Colgate 14 1st Half 12:49
Columbia 11
MD-Eastern Shore 24 1st Half 10:43
Duquesne 22
UNC Greensboro 13 1st Half 10:41
East Carolina 20
Marist 7 1st Half 11:23
Elon 8
NJIT 5 1st Half 13:54
Lafayette 11
Cincinnati Christian 12 1st Half 11:18
Liberty 17
Morgan State 7 1st Half 14:23
Marquette 12
Campbell 11 1st Half 12:50
Samford 11
Bucknell 14 1st Half 12:01
Siena 15
Long Beach State 14 1st Half 13:24
Syracuse 6
Coppin State 13 1st Half 11:15
Evansville 19
UMKC 5 1st Half 13:18
Indiana State 8
Hofstra 1:30 PM
Long Island
Coast Guard 2:00 PM
Army
Thomas (GA) 2:00 PM
High Point
Texas Southern 2:00 PM
Kansas State
Rutgers 2:00 PM
Monmouth
NC Wesleyan 2:00 PM
NC A&T
South Dakota St 2:00 PM
Northern Iowa
Central Penn College 2:00 PM
Radford
Bowling Green 2:00 PM
South Florida
Harris-Stowe 2:00 PM
SE Missouri St
Robert Morris-IL 2:00 PM
SIU Edwardsville
Northland College 2:00 PM
North Dakota St
Milwaukee 2:00 PM
South Dakota
Northwestern St 2:30 PM
Arkansas
Saint Peters 3:00 PM
Cornell
St Katherine 3:00 PM
Fresno State
Haskell 3:00 PM
Oral Roberts
Wake Forest 3:00 PM
Richmond
Fla Gulf Coast 3:00 PM
Xavier
SD Christian 3:05 PM
Northern Ariz
Judson 3:30 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
Ill-Chicago 4:00 PM
Bradley
Loyola-Maryland 4:00 PM
Fairfield
Miss Valley St 4:00 PM
Houston
Lehigh 4:00 PM
UMBC
Delaware State 4:00 PM
Temple
Belmont 5:00 PM
Butler
Howard 5:00 PM
Fordham
NW Christian 5:00 PM
Nevada
UC Davis 5:00 PM
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Grand Canyon
UCLA 5:30 PM
Alabama
Stony Brook 7:00 PM
Washington
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Wisconsin
CS-Bakersfield 9:00 PM
California
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
Toledo 1/4/15 8:00 PM
Arkansas State
Drexel 71 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 54
Holy Cross 63 FINAL
Norfolk State 62
East Carolina 62 FINAL
South Florida 69
(10) Oregon State 50 2nd Half 11:41
(8) Tennessee 52
Providence 45 2nd Half 13:22
Boston College 52
Florida A&M 30 2nd Half 15:01
Miami-Florida 63
Oakland 53 2nd Half 9:28
Central Michigan 56
Chattanooga 44 2nd Half 11:35
SIU-Edwardsville 38
Fairfield 49 2nd Half 5:47
La Salle 56
St Francis-PA 15 1st Half 11:42
Pittsburgh 17
Milwaukee 11 1st Half 11:45
IUPU-Ft Wayne 15
Gardner-Webb 9 1st Half 12:25
Longwood 20
New Hampshire 11 1st Half 11:21
Manhattan 13
Bucknell 17 1st Half 11:54
Binghamton 5
Northeastern 16 1st Half 7:49
Albany 18
George Mason 10 1st Half 12:45
Towson 16
Richmond 5 1st Half 12:12
William & Mary 16
Tulane 10 1st Half 12:05
Cincinnati 6
North Florida 11 1st Half 13:03
Florida 18
(14) Georgia 7 1st Half 11:59
Seton Hall 12
Tennessee St 18 1st Half 11:42
(12) Kentucky 16
American Univ 15 1st Half 8:44
Wake Forest 22
Massachusetts 8 1st Half 14:41
Boston U 11
Quinnipiac 13 1st Half 13:07
Saint Josephs 10
Lafayette 12 1st Half 8:02
Saint Peters 12
Northwestern 14 1st Half 9:56
(20) Michigan State 9
Duquesne 13 1st Half 12:05
Lehigh 15
George Washington 18 1st Half 11:08
Loyola-Maryland 7
(17) Rutgers 8 1st Half 12:37
Indiana 10
(24) Green Bay 23 1st Half 8:54
Dayton 16
Western Mich 1:30 PM
Stony Brook
Davidson 1:30 PM
Virginia
UNC Greensboro 2:00 PM
LSU
Denver 2:00 PM
North Texas
VA Commonwealth 2:00 PM
Coppin State
Huston-Tillotson 2:00 PM
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Alabama
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Eastern Illinois
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Tenn Tech
Penn State 2:00 PM
(23) Iowa
Purdue 2:00 PM
Illinois
DePaul 2:05 PM
Illinois State
Sam Houston St 2:05 PM
Wichita State
South Dakota 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(4) Notre Dame 3:00 PM
UCLA
Coll of Charleston 3:00 PM
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Alcorn State 3:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
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Colgate 3:00 PM
Siena
Michigan 3:00 PM
Wisconsin
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CS-Northridge
Yale 3:30 PM
(25) Arizona State
UC Santa Barbara 4:00 PM
(16) Stanford
Long Island 4:00 PM
Long Beach St
Jackson State 4:00 PM
Louisiana
Eureka 4:30 PM
Western Ill
Cornell 5:00 PM
(22) Syracuse
Temple 7:30 PM
Memphis
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Gophers Football 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
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Jan 1 - vs. Missouri noon

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