The Michigan volleyball team (7-2) cruised to an easy victory against Boston College (10-4) on Friday evening, winning 3-0 in its final match Friday. The Wolverines jumped to an early lead as they took the first set 25-13 behind senior outside hitter Paige Jones’s five kills and junior middle back May Pertofsky’s three aces.
“In the gym, we talked a lot about first contact, which is serving and passing, and that’s something that we really focus ourselves on,” Jones said. “First contact wins games, so if we can get them out of system and serve aggressive, it makes our lives easier on the defensive end … it’s like our staple of what we’re trying to do.”
Jones played exceptionally well, slamming a series of kills at a speed too fast for the Eagles to handle. This aggression worked in the team’s favor, as she and Petorfsky finished with ten kills each throughout the match.
“Since my freshman year, I’ve been learning how to serve more consistently with the hybrid since it’s not something that I did before college, and we’ve put so much time into it over the years and really worked on a lot this year,” Pertofsy said. “We’ve been really working on location and tempo … I think that the communication is really open when I’m with my team and with my setters, so it’s really nice just to tell them what I need, or if it’s my fault.”
The second set was no different as the Wolverines carried the momentum from the first set to win 25-17. Part of Michigan’s overall success resulted from an emphasis on countering the Eagles’ style of play.
“Early on, we knew that they run a really fast offense,” Pertofsky said. “We saw that when they played Dayton and so we scouted that, and early in the game, just made sure that we were set up out wide. Working from the outside in (allowed us) to make sure that we were on the pins.”
Michigan did have some hiccups along the way. Early in the third set, the Wolverines found themselves trailing, 18-14, and called a timeout. Boston College turned four pancakes into kills, and the momentum was in its favor. The Wolverines, though, appeared to have regrouped after the timeout as they went on a 7-1 run to take a 21-19 lead.
“Their system is so fast, that when it’s clicking, it’s hard to stop,” Michigan coach Mark Rosen said. “But I don’t think you can sustain it very consistently. I really wanted to just talk about being patient but urgent. We needed to keep serving tough. They were passing pretty well during that time, but if you keep serving tough, sooner or later, you’ll get them. Even though they’re scoring right now, sooner or later, the errors will come and they kind of did.”
After a loss to UNC last Sunday, Michigan has been on a hot streak, sweeping the Michigan Invitational over the weekend. With Big Ten play this week, the team looking to carry the momentum forward after a strong stretch.