Gopher VB drops five-set thriller to #1 USC

The fifth-ranked Minnesota volleyball team (1-1) lost to #1 USC (2-0) in a five-game thriller in the NACWAA Classic championship by scores of 25-30, 32-30, 26-30, 30-28, 15-12 at Moby Arena in Fort Collins, Colo. USC, the defending national champions, won its second straight NACWAA Classic title.

Gopher volleyballers Paula Gentil and Erin Martin were named to the NACWAA Classic All-Tournament team. Gentil had a career-high and NACWAA record 37 digs, while Martin tied a career high with 28 kills. Kelly Bowman had the Golden Gophers' first triple-double since Nov. 10, 2000 with 17 kills, 18 digs and 40 assists.

USC has now won 49 straight matches dating back to 2002. Minnesota drops to 0-8 against No. 1 teams in its school history, and has lost both NACWAA Classic finals it has appeared in to the No. 1 team in nation. Minnesota became only the second team to force USC to five games during their 49-match winning streak, joining California, who did so in 2003.

Minnesota will be in action next on Friday, Sept. 3 when it plays a pair of matches in the Wyoming Tournament against Texas-San Antonio at 1 p.m. (CT) and Idaho State at 8 p.m. (CT). The Golden Gophers will finish the tournament on Saturday, Sept. 4 against the host Wyoming at 8 p.m. (CT). They open their home schedule versus Kansas State in the Diet Coke Classic at the Sports Pavilion December 10th.

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