After a challenging regular season and two consecutive five-set matches in the NCAA tournament, the resilient Golden Gopher volleyball team swept Louisville (25-21, 25-14, 25-16) Saturday evening in Texas to advance to the Final Four in Pittsburgh.
It will be Minnesota’s sixth trip overall to the national semifinals, and the third in the last five years under head coach Hugh McCutcheon. The No. 7 seed Gophers will face No. 3 seed and defending national champion Stanford in one semifinal, with No. 4 Wisconsin facing No. 1 Baylor in the other.
In their second-round match against Creighton at the Pavilion just a week earlier, the Gophers’ season was on the brink of ending. They trailed two sets to one and 24-22 in the fourth set before overcoming two match points, winning the fifth set, and advancing to the regional semifinals. They survived another five-set match against Florida before the sweep against unseeded Louisville.
The Gophers (27-5) were led against the Cardinals by sophomore Adanna Rollins, who had 12 kills and 9 digs, hit.379, and was named the regional’s Most Outstanding Player. She was aided by a balanced Gopher attack, six blocks apiece from Regan Pittman and Taylor Morgan, and a strong and aggressive serving performance.
A season after being seeded No. 2 and losing to Oregon at home in the regional semis, the Gophers gained a large measure of redemption, and then some, on the road in Austin. "I’m very proud of our team and excited," said McCutcheon after the game.
These are historic times for the Gopher football team, which beat top-five Penn State Saturday 31-26 for the program’s biggest win in decades.