Coming off two difficult games at home last weekend, the Michigan volleyball team will have more obstacles to face on the road today and tomorrow.
Michigan matches up against Purdue followed by Illinois.
Last month the Wolverines crushed the Boilermakers in three straight games. But this match may not be so painless. Despite Michigan’s sweep, the Boilermakers still pose a challenge this weekend.
Although the Boilermakers have won just one conference contest, most of their 15 losses have been by narrow margins.
Michigan doesn’t expect an easy victory against Illinois either. The Wolverines beat the Illini, who are ninth in the Big Ten, a month ago at Cliff Keen Arena. But tomorrow, Illinois’ Huff Hall will be filled with many screaming Illini fans, which could make it tough to lock in a win. Michigan has won just two matches on the road this season.
“It’s always hard being on the road,” Michigan sophomore Alicia Boswell said. “It’s a huge mental challenge to play when you’re in someone else’s gym and hear fans yelling for the other team. But we are getting better at dealing with it.”
Middle blocker Katrina Lehman will be looking forward to breaking her fourth Michigan volleyball record in this weekend’s games. One more block will give the senior the single-season blocking record with 133. Lehman is excited about the record since blocking is her favorite aspect of the game.
Lehman and company have just four remaining matches and must win at least two to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament, which starts Dec. 5.
“This weekend and next weekend’s games are critical,” Michigan coach Mark Rosen said. “We need to win two of them, and three wins would put us in an even more secure position.”