EVANSTON, ILL. – With freshman setter Melani Shaffmaster back in the starting lineup, the No. 4-ranked Gophers volleyball team routed Northwestern 25-14, 25-21, 25-14 on Friday afternoon at Welsh-Ryan Arena. It was Minnesota's 10th straight victory over the Wildcats (3-4)
The match was delayed about a half hour by a campus power outage but, once it began, the Gophers (12-2) dominated. Stephanie Samedy had 12 kills — just below her average of 4.16 kills per set — and hit .409; Shea Rubright had nine blocks, and Shaffmaster, who missed the Gophers' 3-1 home loss to No. 1 Wisconsin for undisclosed reasons, had 26 assists, six digs and five blocks.
The Gophers outhit the Wildcats .354 to .113, had more kills (36-31), more digs (32-26), more blocks (14-4) and more aces (7-4).
Regan Pittman, a 6-5 senior middle blocker, and Taylor Landfair, a 6-4 outside hitter, also had strong games. Pittman had eight kills, five blocks, four digs and hit .700. Landfair, who came in as the No. 1 recruit in the nation, had seven kills and three aces.
Rachel Kilkelly led in digs for Minnesota with 10.
Sophomore outside hitter Temi Thomas-Ailara, who came into this match averaging a Big Ten-high 4.30 kills per set for the Wildcats, had nine kills.
Northwestern, which has played the fewest matches of any Big Ten team because of COVID-19 issues, had not competed since Feb. 27.