The serve-and-pass battle has been a point of emphasis for coach Mark Rosen all season.

It needed to be the foundation of his Michigan volleyball team’s play in its Stanford Regional Final match against Hawaii on Saturday.

The previous night against fourth-seeded Stanford, the Wolverines recorded eight service aces and handled the ball with ease en route to a shocking four-set upset victory.

“When we started to do the game plan and the scouting report for Stanford, I think our team — one through 15 and all of the coaches — felt like we were going to win the match,” Rosen said. “But we didn’t play out of our head. … I was proud of our kids for going into that environment, coming out and then being successful.”

But the Wolverines couldn’t replicate that performance the following night, as the team dropped a three-set match in the Elite Eight to end the season. It was Michigan’s longest playoff run in history.

“We definitely didn’t bring our ‘A’ game tonight,” junior setter Lexi Zimmerman said. Zimmerman was named to the Stanford Regional All-Tournament team along with sophomore left side hitter Alex Hunt.

Zimmerman added that the team’s effort was a non-issue against the 12th-seeded Rainbow Wahine, and that every Wolverine knew the stakes of the match. But the execution just wasn’t there, and it cost the team dearly in Palo Alto, Calif.

The 13th-seeded Wolverines (27-10) never really gained momentum throughout the match, a testament to Hawaii’s fast-paced offense, which prevented Michigan from setting up a consistent block.

Hawaii (32-2) registered five service aces to the Wolverines’ zero. Michigan tallied six service errors, as well.

“Even at the highest level, the serving and passing is where the game is often going to be won or lost,” Rosen said. “(Hawaii) won the serve-and-pass battle tonight.”

Hawaii’s aggressive serving style gave Michigan trouble handing the ball on service receive and passing.

Despite the Wolverines’ season coming to a close, the team has plenty to be proud of from this season. They had a record-setting year in which they made it to their fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament and earned a spot in the program’s first Elite Eight.

“Anytime that a program can get to the Elite Eight, I think you have to respect the team and know that they have a lot of fight,” Hunt said. “This year, making it to the Elite Eight, we’ve definitely proven ourselves.”

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