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Volleyball ends losing streak with a straight-set win at Indiana

BY SEAN BONE
For the Daily
Published October 28, 2012

After losing on the road to No. 21 Purdue in three sets last Friday, the Michigan volleyball team continued its Hoosier-state road trip with three-set sweep over Indiana on Saturday, which ended a three-game losing skid.

Led by a strong offense that featured a .355 attacking percentage, the Wolverines (5-7 Big Ten, 17-9 overall), won the match 25-15, 32-30, 25-17 — their 11th win in the last 12 meetings with the Hoosiers.

After jumping out to a quick 10-7 lead over Indiana (2-10, 10-14), Michigan went on a 4-0 run to widen its lead. Indiana fought back to pull within four, but another run from Michigan — this time a 5-0 streak — put the set out of reach.

Indiana came out strong in the second frame, taking a quick 10-5 lead. But the Wolverines tied the set with another 5-0 run, led by sophomore setter Lexi Dannemiller, junior outside hitter Molly Toon and fifth year senior Claire McElheny.

From that point on, neither team led by more than two points in a set that included 14 ties and six set points. Junior outside hitter Lexi Erwin had a block and combined with Toon for the final four Michigan kills of the set to push the Wolverines past Indiana, 32-30.

“I was really proud of how the girls fought through that set and how they responded after coming out of last night’s lost,” Michigan coach Mark Rosen said. “The Big Ten is a very hard conference, so you have to come out focused and ready to play every game”.

Michigan’s momentum continued into the third set, and the Wolverines made multiple 3-0 and 4-0 runs against the Hoosiers, resulting in a comfortable lead for the latter half of the set. An assist from Dannemiller to junior middleback Jennifer Cross for the kill, ended the set 25-17 to win the match.

Michigan’s offense fired on all cylinders in the final set as it took advantage of weaknesses in the Indiana lineup, Erwin said.

“I think Lexi and the coaching staff did a really good job of finding the weakest blocker on their team,” Erwin said. “We had a game plan to just kind of exploit her. Our offense was really balanced.”

Still, the defense played a large part in the victory. Michigan finished with 44 digs and 8 blocks, which limited Indiana to a .153 attacking percentage for the match. The defense was much improved from its loss to the Boilermakers when it allowed a .346 attacking percentage.

After ending their losing streak in such a dominant manner, the Wolverines now look ahead to the rest of the season rejuvenated, Erwin said.

“Tonight, to come out and roll, just kinda felt really good and helped our confidence for this coming weekend.”