Wolverines finish regular season on a five-game win streak
Riding a three-game win streak, the Michigan volleyball team (11-9 Big Ten, 21-11 overall) had a successful Thanksgiving break in the Crossroads State, gobbling up No. 15 Purdue and Indiana in convincing fashion.
Giving up only one set combined on the road, Michigan was led by strong starts, besting the Boilermakers on Wednesday and the Hoosiers on Friday in both kills and attack percentage in each of the first sets.
Purdue (12-8, 22-9) returned to form shortly afterward, as the Wolverines surrendered the second set, 25-22. The Boilermakers showed themselves to be the more aggressive team, as they had four more kills and nearly tripled Michigan’s second set attack percentage.
Though Purdue continued to look better statistically, the Wolverines narrowly squeaked out the third set, 30-28, thanks to the performance of their outside hitters. Junior Carly Skjodt had six kills in the set, while sophomore Sydney Wetterstrom added five. Michigan repeatedly dug itself out of multiple four-point deficits before fending off a set point and closing one of its own.
The team used this momentum to maintain a lead throughout the fourth set, winning 25-20 to complete a season sweep of the Boilermakers.
After a 100-mile road trip to Bloomington, the Wolverines had fewer problems on the other side of the holiday, routing Indiana (1-18, 12-19) in straight sets, 25-20, 25-15, 25-15. Aside from losing the opening point in the first and third sets, Michigan didn’t trail all match.
After trading the first 20 points of the first set, a kill by senior middle blocker Claire Kieffer-Wright lit a spark, as the Wolverines began to gradually separate itself from the Hoosiers.
Michigan coach Mark Rosen had to be pleased with the way the next two sets played out, as Michigan pulled away early in the second and third sets, going on five-point runs in each set to gain comfortable leads. Skjodt continued her strong performance against Indiana, leading the team with nine kills while Katherine Mahlke chipped in with seven.
With a five-game winning streak – including three straight wins over top-25 opponents Michigan State and Purdue (twice) – Michigan is heating up at the perfect time as the NCAA Tournament begins Thursday against Colorado State.