New Brunswick, N.J. - The No. 8 Gophers routed Rutgers 25-14, 25-15, 25-22 on Friday night in Big Ten volleyball in their next-to-last regular-season match. The win gives Minnesota an 8-0 record against the Scarlet Knights since they joined the conference.
Airi Miyabe led the Gophers (22-5, 16-3) with 13 kills, and Adanna Rollins had eight. Regan Pittman, a 6-5 middle blocker, had a strong overall match with six kills, six aces and three blocks. Pittman hit a team-high .667, Miyabe .524. Kylie Miller had 33 assists and CC McGraw 12 digs.
Tali Marmen and Merle Weidt each had eight assists for Rutgers (8-22, 2-17).
Minnesota hit .382 as a team, Rutgers .238 in losing its seventh match in a row. Both teams had 36 kills, but the Gophers had more digs (30-24), blocks (5-3) and aces (15-5). The 15 aces were a season high.
With the third set tied at 21-all, the Gophers ended the match on three consecutive kills and a Rutgers service error.
The Gophers will play at No. 7 Penn State at 7 p.m. Saturday (BTN). The Nittany Lions hold a 48-11 lead over Minnesota in their all-time series, and the Gophers have not won in Happy Valley since 2004.
Gophers coach Hugh McCutcheon, before embarking on this road trip, said he would use it to “try to figure out how the team is going to play getting into the postseason. It’s nice to have everybody back and to be at full strength and to try to build into something here down the back stretch.”
Several of his players had been out with injuries.
Elsewhere on Friday night, the Nittany Lions moved into a tie for the Big Ten lead with Wisconsin at 17-2 by rallying to beat the visiting Badgers 19-25, 15-25, 25-12, 25-22, 15-11. Serena Gray and Tori Gorrell had 13 kills each for Penn State. Wisconsin could have clinched a tie for the conference title with a victory.
The NCAA championship bracket will be announced at 7:30 p.m. Sunday on ESPNU.