BY ALEX TAYLOR
Daily Sports Writer
Published November 9, 2012
Continuing its recent hot streak, the Michigan volleyball team was propelled by a late comeback to beat visiting Wisconsin in straight sets.
After two sets of dominant Michigan play, Wisconsin looked poised to take the third set away from the Wolverines. The turning of the tide was as much Wisconsin doing well as Michigan lacking something of a killer instinct.
“We got a little hesitant, we were just looking at each other, not playing like we usually play,” said junior Lexi Erwin. “I think we were trying not to lose rather than to win.”
Michigan coach Mark Rosen backed this sentiment and commented on the fact that with the game so close, the players’ attitude seemed to be affected.
“I thought we got a little bit tight,” said Rosen. “It looked from the outside that we weren’t playing as hard. I don’t think it was the fact that we weren’t playing hard but we got a little bit nervous. Instead of just playing like we’ve been playing, I think we got a little bit out of our element.”
Michigan returned to its previous high level of play at the 11-14 mark when Erwin recorded a kill that seemed to spark the comeback. The teams then traded points until the score was tied up at 25-25. Michigan at this point seemed to regain its spark, and came out with high energy that forced two Badger errors that sealed the victory.
The comeback victory was even more impressive given the fact that the Wolverines lost their libero, freshman Tiffany Morales, during the third set — an occurrence that has never happened under Rosen’s 14 years at the helm of the program.
Recovering from an earlier three-game losing skid, the Wolverines seem to be hitting their stride during the home stretch of the season. Michigan has now reeled off four straight wins, including a win over then No. 4 Nebraska that has raised confidence levels in the program.
“When you’re winning games, you’re building confidence,” Rosen said. “There’s no question that it builds that confidence. Our team is starting to feel that now, and when we allow ourselves to play the way we know we’re capable of, we’re pretty good and can compete with pretty much about anyone.”
Michigan will have a good opportunity to prove this Saturday night as it hosts No. 10 Minnesota.
“I think tomorrow night we have to be ready to come out an outstanding match because Minnesota is very good, but we know we can compete with them,” Rosen said.