Erin Moore”s 38th kill of the weekend deflected off two Minnesota players and landed out of bounds to win the match and cap off a critical two days of Michigan volleyball (2-2 Big Ten, 5-5 overall). The Wolverines prevailed in both matches, beating Iowa (1-2, 2-8) in a five-game match, and then defeating No. 17 Minnesota (2-2, 8-4) in four games.
The win over the Golden Gophers marked the Wolverines first win over a ranked team this season and also raised Michigan”s record to .500 a season-long goal for the team. Last weekend”s loss to Northwestern was a set back for the Wolverines as they lost a game they thought they would win.
“We put our backs against the wall last weekend by going 0-2,” Michigan coach Mark Rosen said.
After the loss to a weaker opponent, Michigan knew it would have to win against a stronger team to get back to .500.
That win did not come easily for the Wolverines. In the third game, Minnesota proved too much for Michigan, handing the Wolverines a 26-30 loss. This win came after the Gophers had lost the first two games in the last points. In the beginning it looked like the Wolverines would cruise to victory as they quickly took an 8-4 lead. But the Gophers would not be so easily defeated. Rallying back, Minnesota tied the score at 14. The teams traded points back and forth for a few minutes until the Gophers went on a four-point run to make the score 22-18. Minnesota held onto its four-point lead all the way to 27-23. Then the Wolverines tried to mount a comeback but the Gophers proved too strong.
The game stopped a five-game losing skid for the Gophers, who had lost to the Spartans on Friday night in straight games. With renewed confidence, Minnesota took to the court in the fourth game to prove it was a top 25 team. The Wolverines again jumped out to an early lead, this time 9-4. Again, Minnesota was able to come back and tie the game at 16.
But the Wolverines would not let the Gophers come all the way back this time. Refocusing, Michigan rallied around two big kills in a row from Chantel Reedus to move ahead 20-16. From there the Wolverines cruised to a victory (30-26, 30-27, 26-30, 30-27).
The weekend was packed with big kills as offensive stars stepped up for Michigan. Katrina Lehman, Jennifer Gandolph, Reedus and Moore each had double-digit kills against Iowa.
Moore”s phenomenal match was highlighted by a career-high 25 kills and a .500 attack percentage. Moore credited much of her success to the play of senior Shannon Melka.
“We got the ball on the money a lot. Our setters were great,” Moore said.
Melka started this weekend in place of freshman setter Lisa Gamalski, who had been starting earlier this season.
Rosen started Melka to infuse the lineup with more experience and also to help stabilize a very young lineup.
Reedus, who also credited Melka with her success, was not far behind Moore. Against Iowa, she posted a career-high 22 kills. Coming off of an injury that sidelined her last week, Reedus led the team with 39 kills over the weekend.
The Wolverines remain undefeated at home this year and with Friday”s win over Iowa, the team improved its “Rock the House” win streak to seven consecutive years.