On Saturday night, the Michigan volleyball team was able to stop the bleeding with a three-game sweep of the Iowa Hawkeyes at Cliff Keen Arena. The win was the Wolverines’ first in four games after getting swept by Minnesota on Friday.
“This game depends a whole lot on momentum,” Michigan coach Mark Rosen said. “We were able to regain that tonight.”
The Wolverines (9-7 Big Ten, 15-11 overall) won 30-23, 30-23, 30-25 to take all three games, regaining their composure and finding their usual balanced attack, which seemed to be lacking against Minnesota.
Iowa opened up the first game with a service error, which Lisa Gamalski immediately followed with an ace, putting Michigan ahead 2-0. After that, the game belonged to Jennifer Gandolph, who hit .545 with seven kills and one error in 11 attempts. This quieted any concerns that her shoulder wasn’t 100 percent after she hurt it while training during intermission the night before.
In the second game, all the offensive components fell into place for the Wolverines as Gamalski spread the ball around well, displaying the balanced offense that has characterized the Michigan team all season.
Katrina Lehman, Chantel Reedus and Nicole Poquette each had three kills, while Gandolph and Erin Moore contributed four. Poquette ended the second game with a monster kill that gave the Wolverines a 30-23 win, sending them to the locker room with the momentum in their favor.
“Iowa always has its own tempo,” Moore said. “We thought that we’d be okay if we just played our game.”
But game three did not have the same consistency as the second, and was plagued with numerous errors by both teams. The Wolverines hit a dismal .111, but that was enough to surpass the Hawkeyes, who hit just .050 with 12 errors in 40 attack attempts.
With so many errors it seemed as though each team was scoring for the other, and it was only fitting that the game ended on an attack error by Iowa, concluding the Wolverine’s three-game sweep in front of a home crowd of 1,005.
As the regular season winds down, the Wolverines hope the win will help them regain their mid-October confidence with four games left. The upper-classmen have been holding the team together as they attempt to emerge from their recent struggles.
“Gamalski ran the offense,” Rosen said. “Poquette and Moore really stepped up and carried as much of a load as possible this weekend.”
Moore hit a team leading .500 against Iowa, with 12 kills and eight digs. Jennifer Gandolph turned in an impressive performance as well with a team high 14 kills. She also tied Carrie Ritchie to lead the team with 10 digs.
“We turned around from (Friday) night,” Moore said. “We came right back. Last night we were all scattered, but tonight we came together.”
The Wolverines will try to continue to play with the same balance and coherence when they visit Purdue for yet another important conference match on their final road trip of the season this weekend.