In the first set of Sunday's match, the Golden Gophers came out strong, going back and forth with the Nittany Lions and forcing the game to a 26th point.
Despite the early challenges, the No. 1 Penn State women's volleyball team (18-0, 6-0 Big Ten) was able to sweep Minnesota 3-0 (26-24, 25-21, 25-14). The win extends the team's NCAA record-setting win streak to 82 consecutive matches.
"Anytime you can get a win on the road, it is a fortunate win," Penn State coach Russ Rose said. "It was not the best match we've played because Minnesota is a very physical team. They showed us some things we need to work on."
Penn State had an attack percentage of .328 and had 56 total kills. The attack was led by senior outside hitter Megan Hodge, who recorded 21 kills on the afternoon.
Hodge and junior middle hitter Blair Brown said the match started off slow for the Lions, and they did not really get going until the third set.
In that set, Minnesota had an attack percentage of only .029 compared to the .210 they had overall.
Brown said it was between the second and third sets that the team talked and knew it had to come out after the break with a different mindset.
"We went into the third set with a different mentality, a different energy," Brown said. "It was just a team-wide mentality to step it up and get things going for us. We didn't allow them to run what they wanted to run and we took their offense away."
Throughout the match, the Lions saw positives on both sides of the ball. On top of its strong attack, the team recorded 64 digs and seven total blocks.
The Lions also had three service aces compared to only one from the Gophers.
"Our serving and our defense really improved in this match," Hodge said. "Instead of worrying about what the other team was doing, we focused on our side of the net and we saw the differences."
Rose said the match against Minnesota was an overall good effort from his team, and it was a positive for his team to get some momentum going in the middle of its conference road trip.
Brown agreed, saying this win is a step in the right direction for the remainder of the Lions' season.
"It was a good win for us on the road," Brown said. "The place was packed and it was loud. This will be really good for us here on out."