After unsteady play in the first three games, the Michigan
volleyball team regained its consistency to knock off rival
Michigan State, 3-1, in front of 1,721 last night at Cliff Keen
Arena.

Michigan Volleyball
Michigan fifth-year senior Lisa Gamalski taps the ball against Michigan State last night. (MIKE HULSEBUS/Daily)

Freshman Katie Bruzdzinski led the Wolverines with 12 kills and
17 digs, recording her fourth double-double of the season and
leading Michigan in kills for the third straight match.

But it was sophomore Danielle Pflum’s inspired play off
the bench in games three and four that focused the Wolverines (4-1
Big Ten, 14-2 overall) and propelled them to a commanding 30-12 win
in the fourth game.

“It came down to two factors: momentum and Danielle
Pflum,” Michigan coach Mark Rosen said. “(Pflum) came
in and just lit it on fire. She really changed the match around.
She came in with a reckless abandon mentality to throw caution to
the wind and just go after it. The next thing you know, the whole
team is feeding off of that.”

After seeing limited action in Michigan’s matches against
Purdue and Indiana last weekend, Pflum replaced struggling senior
Jennifer Gandolph at the end of game three. Pflum made her presence
felt immediately, recording two kills to even the game at 28 and
put the Wolverines ahead 30-29. Junior Alicia Boswell’s
aggressive serve forced Michigan State (1-4, 6-7) into an attack
error, and Michigan won the game 31-29. Pflum added four kills in
the fourth game to finish with six kills and no errors for the
match.

Michigan also picked up its defense to control game four.
Leading 8-3, freshman Lyndsay Miller and senior Lisa Gamalski both
missed key hits on a rally. But freshman Stesha Selsky was there to
save both points. The Wolverines held the Spartans to a -.053
hitting percentage in the fourth game.

“We really took care of the basics — ball control
and passing — in game four,” Michigan sophomore Erin
Cobler said. “I think we picked up our serving to keep them
off balance. We could run our offense a lot better and it was a lot
harder for them to keep up their defense. I think we did a good job
of taking care of our game.”

Michigan was focused at the start of game one, but tough
Michigan State defense kept the game close. The sharp
decision-making of Gamalski — who had three kills and five
assists in the first game — led the Wolverines to a 30-19
win.

The pressure and emotion of the intense rivalry threw off
Michigan in game two. The Spartans came out sharp after dropping
the first game. Michigan State tied the game at 19-19 and then took
a 21-19 lead on a service ace from freshman Miken Trogdon and a
Wolverine attack error. Michigan State went on the win the second
game 30-24.

The Wolverines’ uneasy play also kept them off balance
throughout a close game three, which they would go on to win.

But by the middle of game four, the Wolverines were hitting on
all cylinders. Michigan State coach Chuck Erbe was sitting
dejectedly on his team’s bench, seeming to have almost
stopped coaching his team.

The 1,721 fans in attendance represented the fifth-largest crowd
in Cliff Keen Arena history.

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