The Michigan volleyball team has undoubtedly had a rollercoaster season. Since winning its first 13 matches, things took a turn for the worse after a Sept. 24 loss to Purdue. The Wolverines tailspun into their dismal October, winning just two of the last eight matches.

Despite this unexpected disappointment, the team is optimistic about this weekend. Friday brings the beginning of the second round of conference play with the Wolverines’ rematch against No. 11 Purdue, followed by a Saturday match against Indiana.

“Our first round of Big Ten play wasn’t exactly what we wanted it to be,” said senior defensive specialist Sloane Donhoff. “So we have taken this second round as kind of a new season.”

Michigan coach Mark Rosen has been focused on instilling the right mindset in the locker room.

“We can’t carry the first half of the Big Ten into the second half,” Rosen said. “There’s no reason the two have to be related, but I think sometimes you carry baggage of frustration or anxiety or whatever else, and we gotta let that baggage go.”

While Michigan went on a losing streak after the teams’ last meeting, the Boilermakers won five of their last eight games and moved up two spots in the rankings.

“(Purdue has been) playing very clean,” Rosen said. “They were good when we played them last time, they are a solid team, who is very balanced. They have a lot of weapons. I think they are playing even a little better than when we saw them the first time as far as being able to utilize all of those players.”

Regardless of the opponent, the Wolverines (3-7 Big Ten, 15-7 overall) have spent this week thinking more about what is happening on their side of the net. Unforced errors have been weighing down Michigan in this slump. The Wolverines are 15-0 when they have a higher attack percentage than the opponent.

Rosen has taken his team through drills of mental toughness, and rightfully so, as Michigan can blame many of its recent losses on their inability to finish a match. The Wolverines spend more time on their own errors along with utilizing their familiarity of the Big Ten.

“Being the second round, you have played most of the teams, so you know tendencies and can prepare a little better,” Donhoff said.

While Purdue (6-3, 18-3) is the tougher of this weekend’s opponents, Saturday’s match against Indiana is not being ignored. The Hoosiers (0-10, 8-15) have not won a match since Sept. 16, but Rosen does not want his team to overlook them.

“Indiana is a different team since the first time we have played them,” Rosen said. “They have changed their lineup a lot. They are playing a little better than they were last time.”

Both Rosen and Donhoff stressed the importance of not taking any Big Ten opponent too lightly.

“Any team in the Big Ten you have got to prepare for the same way,” Donhoff said. “You have got to come into practice, play hard, expect that each game in the weekend is going to be a tough game.”

The second round of the Big Ten is the opportunity the Wolverines have been waiting for to return as the unstoppable team they were a month ago.

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