With a dominating 3-0 win over Purdue on Friday night, the Michigan volleyball team extended its win streak to four matches. More importantly, the team earned its first road win of the season.
This was the Wolverines” first victory in West Lafeyette since 1997. Despite finishing higher in the Big Ten standings than Purdue for the last two seasons, Michigan had been unable to beat Purdue outside of Ann Arbor.
“We couldn”t seem to win at their place,” Michigan coach Mark Rosen said.
The Wolverines (4-2 Big Ten, 7-5 overall) got off to a good start as they quickly grabbed an 11-3 lead over the Boilermakers (1-4,1-10) in the first game. Indiana native Jennifer Gandolph returned to her home state for the first time as a Wolverine. Gandolph”s homecoming was not a pleasant one for Purdue as she tied with Purdue”s Maegan Peterson for a match-high 12 kills. Gandolph also led all scorers with 13 digs, good for her fifth consecutive double-double.
Gandolph”s impressive play in the first game led to a 30-24 rout of the Boilermakers. Purdue plays a different style of game than Michigan usually sees. The Boilermakers prefer to use off-speed and slower attacks to fool the defense. When Michigan was set to receive a hard attack from Purdue, the Boilermakers used softer attacks to score.
In the second game, the Wolverines again jumped out to an early lead. Katrina Lehman closed out the game with consecutive kills. Lehman finished the night with 10 kills and nine block assists. One of Michigan”s all time leading blockers, Lehman”s nine assists were a career high for the junior middle blocker.
“That”s a big part of what she contributes for us,” Rosen said about Lehman”s impressive performance at the net. Michigan tallied 10 blocks for the night and Lehman was in on all but one of them.
Joining Lehman on eight of her nine blocks was sophomore Nicole Poquette, who also recorded nine kills on the night. Following a move to the right side position, Poquette has tallied 23 kills in her last two games.
“We”ve gotten her the ball more, and she has more opportunities now,” Rosen said.
In the third game it was Purdue who took the early lead. But once again, the Wolverines proved to be too powerful for the Boilermakers as they rallied back to win the third game 30-22. The Wolverines dominated the end of the match by scoring 11 of the 14 final points.
Michigan will be back in action Tuesday night as it hosts Oakland at Cliff Keen Arena at 7 p.m. The Wolverines will try to extend their win streak to five matches and remain unbeaten at home this year.