After upsetting No. 25 Michigan State and No. 11 Penn State last week, the Michigan volleyball team climbed up the Big Ten standings into a tie for second place. With this weekend’s matchups against Ohio State and Indiana, the Wolverines hope that this momentum will not subside.

“Ohio State is always a big match for us,” Michigan coach Mark Rosen said. “This is a big challenge and we are excited.”

The Wolverines swept the Buckeyes 3-0 on Oct. 5 at home, where Michigan owns a perfect 9-0 record this season. But at 2-7 away from home, the road has not been as kind, and the pressure increases considering the Wolverines have never won in Columbus.

“Michigan has never won there, but this year I think we match up really well,” Rosen said. “They have great players. Stacie Gordon, who was the National Freshman of the Year, last year, is probably the best player in the conference.

“They also have three good and very experienced seniors. Suzie Stiling, Shelly Draeger and Katie Virtue have all been starting since they were freshman.”

Despite this intimidating lineup, Rosen believes Michigan’s balanced attack gives it a good chance to overtake the Buckeyes in their own gym.

“They have weaknesses we can exploit,” Rosen said. “We have to play well, stick to our game and not adjust to theirs. This year our team has had a good balance and we haven’t had to rely on an individual player.”

Yet, the Wolverines are sure to derive emotional leadership from senior Katrina Lehman, Michigan’s record holder in career blocks and block assists.

“It’s Katrina’s last chance to play there,” Rosen said. “I’m sure that she’ll be hungry to come away with a win.”

And just in case the Wolverines were in search of more leadership, it would be hard to ignore the presence of middle blocker Erin Moore, who was last week’s Big Ten Player of the Week, as well as outside hitter Jennifer Gandolph, who currently holds that title.

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