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Zimmerman sets career assists record in win

Anna Schulte/Daily
Lexi Zimmerman (17) serves for Michigan against Iowa on Friday, Sept. 14, 2010. Buy this photo

BY EMILY FONTENOT
For the Daily
Published September 26, 2010

Michigan volleyball senior setter Lexi Zimmerman came into Friday's match against Iowa 25 assists away from breaking Linnea Mendoza's program record of 5,072 assists. And in the second set against the Hawkeyes, Zimmerman eclipsed that mark.

After the Wolverines' 3-0 win over Iowa, the team went back into the locker room as if it were just any ordinary game.

"Lexi really doesnt talk about it," freshman Molly Toon said after the match. "I heard it mentioned in the training room. I didnt hear it until now when someone was like, 'Lexi broke the record.' "

More often than not, though, the senior captain is the key to the Wolverines' victories. And as a setter, she dictates the pace of the game and she positions Michigan’s power outside hitters to record points.

"It's the best record out there for endurance," Rosen said after the game against Iowa. "It shows how long she's been there. It is a great testament to her as a teammate and how she makes other people better. She is an enabler."

And when her teammates home needed her the most, Zimmerman has empowered them to use their talent to its potential. When Iowa held a 24-23 lead in the second set, Zimmerman set the ball into the hands of Toon who converted. The conversion allowed the Wolverines to knot up the score, and Michigan eventually came back and won the frame.

"For us, records are awesome," Rosen said. "It shows how hard she's worked. That record is really unique."

Not only did Zimmerman break the Michigan record for assists but she also led the defense for the night with 11 digs, revealing her important versatility after her three years of consistency. Her teammates know she will be where she needs to be in the front line or the back line and will do what she can in order to win.

But Zimmerman sees no purpose in discussing such accomplishments.

“I think that people who get caught up in personal records and personal statistics, especially in a team sport, tend to be people I don’t like playing with,” Zimmerman said.

For all her individual accomplishments, Zimmerman only seems to care about how the team does — she didn't even know after the game that she had broken the record.

After just two conference games, a long season persists ahead. There remains the possibility that Zimmerman could break the Big Ten assist mark as the year continues, which sits at 6,087. Regardless, she’s determined not to focus on statistics and records become her area of focus when she steps onto the court.