Freshman Lyndsay Miller has been a consistent source of
enthusiasm for the Michigan volleyball team all season. And last
night’s 3-1 win over Michigan State was no different.

Michigan Volleyball
Lisa Gamalski goes up for a kill. (MIKE HULSEBUS/Daily)

Miller energized her teammates by shouting and pumping her fists
after each of her nine blocks — a new career high. Her
passion helped shift the momentum of the match in Michigan’s
favor.

But such emotional leadership is nothing new for Miller.

In game three of Saturday night’s match against Indiana,
Michigan needed some enthusiasm. Indiana had won game one, 30-25,
and was leading game three, 19-15. The Wolverines lacked the
spirited intensity they needed for them to regain control of the
match.

Then a burst of energy came in the form of Miller, like it so
often does.

After every big Michigan point, it’s not just The Zone
— Michigan’s student cheering section — that gets
excited. Miller cheers right along with them, jumping up and down
and firing up her teammates. As dynamic and effervescent as she is
in games, Miller says she is equally enthusiastic in everyday
life.

“I’m kind of all over the place,” Miller said.
“I’m definitely the same off the court. I’m
always hyper, always going, always jumping up and down.”

Miller has energized the Wolverines, propelling them to a
program-best 14-2 start. While her emotion continues to motivate
her team, in recent weeks she has found yet another way to lead
— dominant play.

Miller is third in the Big Ten in blocks, averaging 1.37 per
game, and has led the Wolverines in blocks in 10 out of 16 matches
this season. Miller is also second on the team with 196.5 points
and has notched double-digit kills in five matches.

“I had no idea I would even have around that (many), so it
was kind of shocking,” Miller said. “There’s so
many good middle blockers (in the Big Ten), and there’s so
many good players, that it’s cool to be up there. But
it’s like, ‘all right, now I have to come back to earth
and get some more blocks. I need more, that’s not good
enough.’ ”

Although she has been productive all season, Miller’s
breakout game came against then-No. 1 Minnesota two weeks ago.
Miller had a match-high 10 kills, while adding five blocks. Her
play was impressive enough to make other teams take notice.

“(Notre Dame) came out really committed on her early in
game one and two,” Michigan coach Mark Rosen said.
“They committed all over her, and we really couldn’t
get her the ball because she had such a good game against
Minnesota. They had that videotape and they looked at the stats,
and went, ‘Oh, this kid. We’ve got to make sure we stop
her.’ It’s quite a compliment for a first-year player
in the middle of the season to already be the person they’re
focusing on.”

Miller genuinely appreciates the praise and is proud of her
accomplishments. But what excites her most is how her play —
and the attention that comes with it — has benefited her
teammates.

“If they focus on me, that means someone else is going to
be open,” Miller said. “It gives someone else an
opportunity to have some great looks at kills. I want my teammates
to be able to count on me for blocks and kills and know that
I’m going to get them no matter what. It’s pretty cool
that they can rely on me.”

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