What the audience might not have seen coming, however, was freshman Paige Jones’ 18-kill performance at a .349 clip while almost single-handedly winning the first set for the No. 12 Michigan volleyball team.
No. 7 Wisconsin’s 6-foot-8 sophomore middle blocker challenged No. 12 Michigan (18-4 overall, 7-4 Big Ten) all night, and the injury-hampered Wolverines were unable to answer in a 25-18, 16-25, 22-25, 25-21, 11-15 loss at Crisler Center on Friday night.
With a trio of starters sidelined due to injury, the No. 12 Michigan volleyball team (18-5 overall, 7-5 Big Ten) struggled to find consistency in a 25-27, 10-25, 20-25 loss to No. 3 Minnesota (18-2, 12-0) on Saturday night.
Facing a top-10 team with injuries to two key members of the starting lineup, junior outside hitter Sydney Wetterstrom and redshirt junior middle blocker Cori Crocker, there was a feeling this one could get away from Michigan early. Then, senior outside hitter Carly Skjodt happened.
Despite an early three-point deficit, the Wolverines clawed their way out thanks to a service ace from junior setter MacKenzi Welsh and kills from freshman outside hitter Paige Jones, junior outside hitter Sydney Wetterstrom and senior outside hitter Carly Skjodt.
How do you bounce back from the toughest loss of the season in one of the most highly-anticipated matches of this year? The No. 16 Michigan volleyball team (3-2 Big Ten, 14-2 overall) answered that question in resounding fashion on Friday night, grabbing a dominant, straight-set home victory over No. 14 Purdue (2-3, 13-3), 25-15, 25-16 and 25-14.