By Greg Garno, Daily Sports Writer
Published September 8, 2012
The No. 23 Michigan volleyball team rebounded from its first loss of the season with wins over Eastern Illinois and No. 25 Northern Iowa to finish 3-1 at the Golden Eagle Classic in Milwaukee, Wisc.
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The Wolverines (10-1) defeated Eastern Illinois in straight sets 25-13, 25-16, 25-20 to begin the day before beating Northern Iowa 25-16, 23-25, 25-17, 27-25.
Following a flat performance against Marquette on Friday, Michigan’s enthusiasm returned with four different players tallying double-digit kills.
Junior middle blocker Jennifer Cross had another standout performance, posting a 11 kills and four blocks against Eastern Illinois along with 10 kills and six blocks against the Panthers.
Saturday’s first game began with the Wolverines jumping out to a 14-6 lead before stretching the lead even further to 19-9. Michigan would hold a double-digit lead the rest of the set.
The next set featured more back-and-forth play, but Michigan used a 4-0 run to end any chance of a comeback for Eastern Illinois.
The third set looked to be a continuation of the second set’s style of play, with 11 ties until the score read 12-12. Michigan took a small lead, though, until it put together a 7-2 run. The Wolverines never looked back, quickly closing out the game, highlighted by their .347 kill percentage.
A much tougher Northern Iowa opponent didn’t do much to slow the Michigan attack in the evening finale. Led by junior outside hitter Lexi Erwin, the Wolverines posted 64 kills, 19 of which came from Erwin. Erwin had a total of 26 on the day.
Down 0-2 in the first set, the Wolverines went on a 5-0 run to take a lead they wouldn’t give up. Michigan put together several smaller runs for a 15-8 lead and ultimately until the last point in the set, ending with its largest winning margin in the set.
The second set was a different story, though, as the Panthers raced out to a 14-4 lead. Slowly, the Wolverines worked their way back to tie the game and take a 21-20 lead. It didn’t last long, as Northern Iowa tied the set immediately and then took the last two points to win.
Tied at two in the third set, Michigan went on a 5-1 run to take ta lead they failed to give up. Using several smaller runs again, the Wolverines built an eight point lead to make the score 19-11. Freshman libero Tiffany Morales finished out the set with a service ace after both teams traded points.
After taking the first point of the fourth set, Michigan would trail until they took a 12-11 lead. The Wolverines built a 23-18 lead, but Northern Iowa hung on until Michigan used a 3-0 run to end the game, capped by a block assist for junior outside hitter Molly Toon.
Toon totaled 16 kills and seven blocks in both games after moving to the right-side hitter position in redshirt senior Claire McElheny’s absence.
Sophomore setter Lexi Dannemiller continued her strong play with 79 assists while Morales led the team in digs on the day, with 29.