In the world of sports, being aggressive can be a double-edged sword.
When unsuccessful, the aggression can be the downfall of the match for a team, but when successful, it can create momentum swings that change the course of a game.
The Michigan volleyball team experienced both the success and failure in the aftermath of its aggression this weekend.
A night after being beaten at home by No. 17 Minnesota in four games, the team came back strong against Iowa by winning the match in four games, 30-24, 19-30, 30-17, 30-24 at Cliff Keen Arena on Saturday night.
Though Michigan (5-9 Big Ten, 11-12 overall) took the match against Iowa (4-9, 14-12) in four games, the Hawkeyes momentarily looked like they were in position to take control. After dropping the first game, Iowa easily won the second game to tie the match at one game apiece. In a game that was filled with mental lapses and players out of position, Michigan struggled to get going. How the Hawkeyes won the second game worried Michigan coach Mark Rosen.
“I want games like one, three and four to continue, and games like game two to never re-appear,” Rosen said. “We played great in the first game, and then the wheels just kind of fell off in the second game. We didn’t execute, we didn’t take care of the little things in the game, and we just got outplayed. We talked about it, made some small adjustments and then played much better in games three and four.”
It was in games three and four when the Wolverines came back to life.
Michigan coasted to victory in the last two games, coming out with increased intensity to finish off Iowa. In game three, the Wolverines won a point on a rally that lasted nearly 30 seconds, helping Michigan build momentum against Iowa. After that point, the Hawkeyes looked to be no match for Michigan.
Sophomore Lyndsay Miller led the team with 16 kills in the match.
“Last night (against Minnesota), we focused on taking the game one point at a time, and I think we got better at doing that from last night,” Miller said.”
The Wolverines reached a few milestones with their win on Saturday. Sophomore Stesha Selsky set a Michigan single-season record by recording her 476th dig of the year against the Hawkeyes. Also, with 52 assists against Iowa, redshirt freshman Mara Martin became the 10th player in Michigan history to reach 1,000 assists.
Rosen said he feels the team can improve on some newly added strategies in practice.
“In the last week, we have tried to raise our level of aggressiveness in serving, which is always going to mean more errors because there is more risk involved,” Rosen said. “Now we need to continue that aggressive mentality and minimize our errors. We can’t eliminate our errors, but we can minimize them.”