As sophomore outside hitter Paige Jones spiked a kill into the middle of the court, Michigan (18-7 overall, 11-4 Big Ten), won the third set, 25-18, to secure a sweep over the Hawkeyes (9-17, 3-12) and extend its win streak to five.
Senior setter Mackenzi Welsh got a dig on the ball, sending it back to junior libero Natalie Smith. Smith set the ball high outside to Welsh, who delivered a blistering attack between two Hawkeye blockers that found the hardwood on the opposite side of the court.
Crocker rifled a spike down the right line and it careened out of bounds following a last-ditch effort by the Fighting Illini to set up a scoring chance. The kill, one of Crocker’s 12 on the night, proved to be the deciding blow in securing Michigan (17-10 overall, 10-4 Big Ten) a massive victory over Illinois (12-11, 7-7).
The Michigan volleyball team (17-7 overall, 10-4 Big Ten) took on Illinois (12-11, 7-7) for the second time in eight days on Saturday in Cliff Keene Arena and emerged with a similar outcome to last Friday’s bout in Champaign — a victory in four sets.
On Wednesday, the Michigan volleyball team (16-7 overall, 9-4 Big Ten) had its annual Maize Out at Crisler Center, where more than 3,100 fans gathered to see the Wolverines defeat Michigan State, 3-1 (25-19, 25-22, 22-25, 25-16).
From small town champion to U-M asset, sophomore volleyball player Paige Jones has asserted herself as a driving force this season. Initially underestimated because of her size, Jones’ talent, hard work and leading team numbers prompt spectators to “just watch.”
In a match flooded with countless lead changes and tied scores, late-game heroics were just the tip of the iceberg as Michigan (13-7 overall, 8-4 Big Ten) earned its first win over a top-25 opponent this season, defeating Illinois (10-9, 5-5), 25-22, 25-23, 21-25, 25-18.
Michigan battled the Wildcats (10-14,1-11), losing the second set by only two points, but was ultimately undone by a series of errors early on. A setback such as this might halt the momentum of many teams, but the Wolverines came roaring back with a five set win, 25-21, 23-25, 25-20, 23-25, 15-8.
Suffocate the opposition with stout blocks at the net. Execute sharp, communicative passing plays. Extend digs into rallies, and rallies into kills. Keep errors to a minimum. Don’t beat yourself. And finally, possess the athletes capable of pulling it all off.