Gopher volleyball beats Florida in 5 sets, will face Louisville in Elite 8

CC McGraw and the Gophers volleyball team heads to Austin, Texas to face Florida in the NCAA Sweet 16 on Friday. ((credit: University of Minnesota))

It took five sets for the second consecutive match to do it, but the University of Minnesota volleyball team is headed to the Elite 8 after knocking off No. 10-seeded Florida Friday night in Texas.

The No. 7-seeded Gophers won the match 23-25, 25-14, 16-25, 25-15 and 15-11. The Gophers (26-5) will face Louisville, which upset No. 2-seeded and host Texas, in five sets in the earlier match Saturday. It’s the eighth time Minnesota has advanced to the regional final.

Minnesota beat Florida 3-0 earlier this season, but Friday night's match was hard-fought between both teams.

Minnesota hit .331 for the match and had four players finish with double digits in kills. The Gophers were led by Alexis Hart’s 16 kills. Adanna Rollins had 15, Regan Pittman added 14 and Taylor Morgan added 10.

Samedy and CC McGraw combined for 33 digs, and Samedy’s kill in the fifth set was the clinching point in the Gophers’ victory. Minnesota got out to a 6-3 lead in the decisive set, and led the rest of the way.

Morgan led the Gophers’ defensive effort with seven blocks. Kylie Miller had 49 set assists in the win, and finished with just one set error.

The Gophers have had to overcome adversity most of the season, and almost didn’t get the opportunity to face Florida Friday night. They faced two match points in the fourth set last weekend against Creighton before coming back to win that match in five sets.

The Gophers face Louisville Saturday night, with the winner advancing to the Final 4 in Pittsburgh.