Not many Division-I athletes can claim to be named the best all-time player in a particular sport.
But senior volleyball setter and Program in the Environment concentrator Lexi Zimmerman will graduate in a few weeks as “the best all-time player in the history of Michigan (volleyball),” according to volleyball coach Mark Rosen.
“It’s a really great honor,” Zimmerman said of being a student of the year. “I’m just really proud to have represented Michigan for four years.”
When Zimmerman came to Michigan in the fall of 2007 from Barrington High School in Barrington, Mo., she was the nation’s top setter. Over the past four seasons, Rosen has been fortunate enough to have the talent of Zimmerman, the 2006 Gatorade Player of the Year.
“The majors for athleticism — speed, agility, hand-eye coordination, balance, explosion — all those things, she’s off the charts,” Rosen added, speaking last fall about the three-time American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American. “She’s got the intangible qualities. She’s a great competitor, she plays great under pressure.”
From her very first match on Aug. 24, 2007, where she tallied 64 assists and 13 digs in a five-set victory against Hawaii in front of 7,500 fans, Rosen and the Michigan coaching staff knew they possessed a special talent in Zimmerman.
“When it’s crunch time, she just finds ways to win. That’s the recipe, that’s what you’re looking for in players.”
On Sept. 24, 2010, Zimmerman became the program’s all-time assists leader. Following the completion of this past season, she tallied 5,903 career assists. During her time in Ann Arbor, Zimmerman led the Wolverines to some of their most successful NCAA appearances as well, finishing in the Sweet 16 twice and Elite Eight once.
“There’s no question that she’s had the most impact on elevating our program of anybody in the history of the program,” Rosen said.
Zimmerman is currently in the process of compiling her portfolio and studying for the GREs. She’s considering the possibility of playing professional volleyball while attending graduate school at the College of Architecture and Urban Planning.
“Michigan was very understanding, and I was encouraged by the conversation,” Zimmerman said. “They really opened my eyes, and I could try and do the two things I really want to do at the same time.”