- Austen Hufford/Daily
By Alexa Dettelbach, Daily Sports Writer
Published October 3, 2012
The Michigan volleyball team’s skid against ranked opponents continued Wednesday as Michigan lost its third straight match against teams in the top 25. In its third straight road match, the Wolverines struggled against No. 10 Minnesota, and Michigan fell in four sets, 13-25, 20-25, 25-23, 22-25.
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Michigan (2-3 Big Ten, 15-4 Overall) had three players in double figures in digs, led by freshman defensive specialist Tiffany Morales, but it couldn’t match the four Golden Gophers, who had double digit kills. Sophomore setter Lexi Dannemiller and junior outside hitter Lexi Erwin, who both recorded double-doubles, also helped the Wolverines.
Statistically, Michigan’s first set was its worst of the season, with a season low 13 points. The Wolverines earned 11 kills and finished with a .276 kill percentage in the set, but their defense fell against the Golden Gophers’ (4-1, 13-3) game-high .519 kill percentage and 15 kills.
In the second set, the Wolverines were more successful in stopping Minnesota, holding them to a .333 kill percentage, but this time it was their offense that held them back. Michigan hit for a .179 kill percentage and 10 kills. The Wolverines’ improved play in the second set was led by Dannemiller’s nine assists to go along with Erwin’s four kills.
Michigan finally found its groove in the third set. Running out to a 4-1 lead, Dannemiller’s 12 assists and two kills, and the defensive stand all helped the Wolverines steal the third set.
At first it looked as though Michigan was going to run away with the set after taking a 19-14 lead, but the Golden Gophers went on a run to take the lead 21-20. From there, Dannemiller had five straight assists and helped take the set. The Wolverines finished with a .318 hitting percentage and held Minnesota to a .255 hitting percentage,
In the fourth set Minnesota and Michigan exchanged points for the first half of the set until the Golden Gophers pulled away at 24-20. The Wolverines were able to hold off two match points, but couldn’t hold on, falling 25-22.
Michigan is now just 1-3 against ranked opponents this year. The Wolverines beat No. 25 Northern Illinois earlier in September, but they suffered consecutive losses to No. 17 Purdue and No. 6 Nebraska before the loss to Minnesota.