The Michigan volleyball team (3-3), like so many other aspects of American life, has been uprooted and turned around due to the tragic events of this week. While head coach Mark Rosen held practice this weekend, he was empathetic to the situation of those affected by the tragedy. “In the big picture volleyball is really a minor thing,” Rosen said.
He tried to use this week”s practices as a therapeutic relief for the team.
“The gym can be a haven, a place where you feel comfortable just with the team,” Rosen said, “On a bad day in school or in personal life you can go into the gym and hide for a few hours, just get away for a while and have fun. Usually it is on a smaller scale but you can use it in this way.”
Due to this week”s disaster, many sporting events around the nation, including volleyball, have been canceled. Originally, the Wolverines were scheduled to play at Notre Dame two days ago and then host the Nike Invitational Tournament this weekend. They would have played today against Central Michigan.
Michigan was slated to play against Montana and Virginia Tech, as well as the Chippewas this weekend. But as is the case with many people and organizations this week, travel plans have been canceled or altered.
The Hokies are following the judgment passed by the Big East which said that all sporting events through Sunday will either be canceled or postponed.
Central Michigan has chosen to honor the National Day of Mourning by partaking in no sporting events on Friday.
For these reasons, all three teams have pulled out of this weekend”s tournament. Rosen said that he would have done the same thing if he was presented with a similar situation.
In an effort to retain some level of normalcy but still respect the somber mood of the nation and its people, the Michigan will play one match this weekend. On Saturday night at 7:00 at Cliff Keen Arena, the Wolverines will take on Illinois State.
The Redbirds were scheduled to play against Utah this weekend, but their travel plans were also altered. After facing the Wolverines, Illinois State will take on Eastern Michigan on Sunday morning before returning home to Bloomington, Ill.
The Redbirds are 3-3 on the season and will try to improve to 2-0 against Big Ten teams this season. They have already defeated Purdue.
Holding an overall 108-81 record against Big Ten teams, the Redbirds can boast a win over every school in the Big Ten with the singular and notable exception of Michigan. The two teams have met just once before. The meeting came in the Redbirds” season opener in 1994 with Michigan winning the match 3-2.
The Wolverines will try to continue their season-long unbeaten home win streak.