Sixteenth-ranked Louisville may have topped the Michigan
volleyball team yesterday at Cliff Keen Arena, 3-1 (30-24, 27-30,
30-27, 30-22), but it couldn’t keep junior setter Lisa Gamalski
from smiling. Maybe it’s because the Wolverines managed to come
away from the Michigan/Pepsi Challenge as champions after two
convincing wins on the weekend. Or maybe it’s because Gamalski was
one of three Wolverines voted to the All-Tournament Team.

Mira Levitan
Chantel Reedus spikes the ball past Louisville yesterday. (RYAN WEINER/Daily)

Or maybe Gamalski is just learning how to put on a happy
face.

“To be a setter, you have to be a leader and consistent,”
Gamalski said. “I don’t think I’m there yet, so that’s the thing
I’m working out. I try and smile and put some confidence in the
other kids.”

It had been all smiles after a pair of sweeps over Murray State
on Friday and Texas A&M on Saturday. The sweeps elevated
Michigan to tournament champion, based on games winning percentage.
Louisville, Michigan and Texas A&M all went 2-1 in the
three-day event, but Michigan’s 7-3 games record bested the rest.
The Wolverines clinched the tournament championship by winning game
two against the Cardinals yesterday.

Gamalski kept on smiling until the last point in yesterday’s
match, but the rest of the team may not have caught on. After
answering back to win the second game 30-27 and tie up the match,
the Cardinals jumped on the Wolverines in game three, pulling out
to a 19-12 lead. The Wolverines cut the deficit to one point, but
fell short.

It was much of the same story in game four, where Louisville
carved out its largest lead at 16-7.

“In the middle of game three, we just got away from our style of
game,” Michigan coach Mark Rosen said. “By game four, we just
played flat, like we were already beat. When I called the second
timeout in game four, that’s what we talked about, and I really
liked the way the team came out after that.”

Some of that emotional juice finally kicked in again, and the
Wolverines closed the deficit to 17-14. Michigan’s uninspired play
came back to haunt it, though, and a pair of Louisville serves that
could have been returned landed for aces instead. The Michigan
rally puttered out, and Louisville won the match.

“When you’re playing behind all the time it’s hard to get that
momentum going,” Rosen said. “I said we were out of sync, but we
weren’t as comfortable as we’d been all week.”

Senior Erin Moore was a big part of Michigan’s two wins, leading
the way in kills both nights with 14 and 17, respectively. Her play
landed her on the All-Tournament Team with Gamalski and junior
Jennifer Gandolph, and earned her tournament MVP honors.

Her biggest play may have come Saturday against the Aggies, when
the Wolverines were facing game point in the third game at 28-29.
Moore got the set from Gamalski and killed it right past the Aggie
blockers.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t want (Gamalski) to set anyone else, and
I’d probably be really mad if she did,” Moore said. “I’ve always
loved being in that position, and I just kind of expect it.”

Gamalski followed up later with an over the shoulder dump that
brought the score to 31-30 in one of those rare kills for a
setter.

“I love hitting. I love attacking,” Gamalski said. “I love
putting the ball down and taking it myself. I used to be a hitter,
so I miss it.”

Gandolph finished up the game and match at 32-30 with a kill
from the left side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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