After losing their No. 1 national ranking to Wisconsin this week, the Gophers volleyball team made a strong argument Wednesday night to reclaim it.
Minnesota swept the Badgers 25-20, 25-18, 25-14 in a Big Ten match in Madison, Wis.
Wisconsin (14-2, 6-1 conference) had won nine matches in a row, but the No. 3 Gophers (14-2, 6-1) dominated every statistical category. They outhit the Badgers .323 to .050, had more kills (45-32), more digs (37-33) and more blocks (14-3).
“You move up to No. 1 for the first time and then you get your butt kicked by anybody and you can sit there and think it’s the easy thing to say ‘Hey we were full of ourselves’ or whatever,” Badgers coach Kelly Sheffield said.
“But that had nothing to do with this particular match. … That would be unfair to Minnesota to say that that was the reason, but also because I know my team and we just got outplayed tonight, period.”
Sarah Wilhite had 12 kills to lead the Gophers, Hannah Tapp had 11 and Paige Tapp nine. Hannah Tapp hit .429 and had the kill on match point and her sister hit .438.
Junior middle blocker Molly Lohman had a season-high nine blocks, one solo and eight assisted. Dalianliz Rosado paced Minnesota in digs with 11
Kelli Bates led the Badgers with 10 kills but she also had six errors. None of her teammates had more than six kills.
“It really came down to serve and pass,” Gophers setter Samantha Seliger-Swenson said in a postmatch interview on Big Ten Network, which televised the match. “I think we had great first contact, which leads to a good set and a good hit. And I think our defense. We worked on having good discipline all week.”
Seliger-Swenson had 41 assists for Minnesota, which a week ago lost at Penn State 3-2 before beating Northwestern 3-0 at home.
“I have all great hitters,” Seliger-Swenson said. “They make my job easy. They put it away all the time. So I have great options everywhere on the court.”