Former Blaine High School and current University of Minnesota senior middle blocker Taylor Morgan, playing in her final volleyball match at Maturi Pavilion, had nine blocks and four kills, leading the number-seven Golden Gophers to a 3-2 come-from-behind NCAA tournament victory over number-15 Creighton University last Saturday evening.
Minnesota will compete against the University of Florida this weekend in the NCAA Regional Final (held December 13-14) in Austin, Texas. “We left on a good note,” Morgan said of her teammates. “I’m really proud of the team.”
“It was a real good feeling,” said senior teammate Alexis Hart.
There was plenty to feel good about and be proud of.
Facing elimination in the NCAA tournament and reaching Creighton’s match point, Hart and Morgan willed their team to victory—after being down 24-22—as Minnesota came back in dramatic fashion, scoring four consecutive points to defeat the Bluejays.
“We are not going to lose this game,” Hart said. “As seniors, we can’t let this end like this, especially since last year [with a disappointing loss in the semifinals at home in 2018]. It just motivated me more. I want it for my teammates, but I want it for our senior class especially.”
Hart and Adanna Rollins led Minnesota with 14 kills apiece. Stephanie Samedy had 19 digs and seven kills.
“There was a little bit of doubt creeping in [during the match],” Morgan admitted. “You got to lean on your team. You got to grab someone by the hand and say, ‘I got you.’”
One thing is for sure: This match will be seared in their memories for years to come. “I am really excited that we left on a good note,” Hart said.
Morgan had even more to add to her teammate’s statement. “The blood, sweat and tears that we put in this season, and for it to pay off [with the victory], I love it,” she said. “I love this team.”
Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald is a contributing columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.