During its first game of the season, the Michigan volleyball
team traveled to Indiana to face Valparaiso. As the crowd roared
and the band played loudly, freshman Lyndsay Miller just soaked it
all in.

Michigan Volleyball
Freshman Katie Bruzdzinski hits
the ball over the net against Oakland.

“It was pretty cool to be on the floor and have everyone
watching you play,” Miller said. “To see all the people
loving the game of volleyball — it was just
awesome.”

Miller, along with fellow freshmen Katie Bruzdzinski, Stesha
Selsky, Sarah Draves and Mara Martin, isn’t just satisfied
with being at the game — these girls are ready to play.

The class of 2004 is the strongest recruiting class Michigan
volleyball has had in its history, ranking sixth in the nation
according to one prep magazine. The class consists of two state
Players of the Year — Selsky (California) and Bruzdzinski
(Illinois) — and four of the five recruits ranked as top-100
preps in the nation. Though the season is young, four of the girls
— Martin has been red-shirted — have already
contributed to the team, and the future looks bright for Michigan
volleyball.

But the girls aren’t feeling pressure.

“I don’t know if there’s necessarily
pressure,” said Bruzdzinski. “It’s just more
testing yourself to see if you can step up to the challenge of
college volleyball.”

Martin agreed.

“You’re here for a reason,” the Monroe native
said. “You’re not here to show off your high school
skills.”

This kind of attitude makes these girls a force to be reckoned
with. They understand what it takes to be a Michigan volleyball
player.

“I feel you have to work extremely hard to represent the
‘M’ that you wear,” Selsky said. “You work
hard and you will strive to make sure that Michigan gets recognized
as a great academic and athletic school.”

Said Draves, “I think it’s something that I’ll
be able to hold my head high for the rest of my life knowing I
played for such a good school.”

The new fab five isn’t all business. Each girl has her own
personal favorite moment of the young season.

“(Michigan senior) Sarah Allen slipped really hard on the
floor and we had just changed shirts so it shouldn’t have
been wet and the whole gym just started laughing so hard,”
Draves said.

Miller also had her own personal favorite moment.

“I love it when we’ll be playing in practice,
scrimmaging hard and everyone’s sweating like crazy and Sarah
Allen makes a great diving dig and tries to get up and her legs
just fly out from under her,” Miller said. “She gets
back up and she’s ready to go again and it’s just
awesome.”

Aside from being role models and providing comic relief, the
seniors have been a major help to the young guns.

“I think the seniors have been great,” Bruzdzinski
said. “Honestly … they always make sure that we know
what we’re doing. They’ve just been really good at
taking us in and showing us what Michigan is about.”

During that first match at Valparaiso, with each Crusader kill
the crowd and band got louder and louder.

“That crowd just makes me want to dig every single ball
and do the best I absolutely can to let no balls hit the
floor,” Selsky said.

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